Late last year, I started seriously getting back into punk. I have particularly enjoyed Social Distortion for a variety of reasons, and I'm looking for more suggestions. Really, though, I'm looking for any sort of favourite music you may have, in any genre.
Anyone who knows me knows that I really, really like music. I particularly like two kinds of music: music that is well put together, and music that tells a story. When these two things come together, I can listen quite repetitively (some say obsessively) to the same music many times over and never tire of it.
Also, on a related (but not quite obviously so) tack, there is nothing sexier than a woman playing a cello. Not because she is beautiful, and not because she's playing the cello, but because, when I watch a woman lost in the music, the melody flowing through her instrument and her soul, it is something I could watch forever and never tire of. This may date back to the first redhead I was ever interested in, but I don't think that's the case. I have a feeling that it has more to do with the warmth and beauty of stringed instruments, the vibrance of the women I have known who have drawn their fingers lovingly and longingly across the strings, and the beauty of their passion for their instruments. It really doesn't matter what the instrument is, really: cello or bass, violin or harpsichord. And, as Jimmy once sang, "There's somethin' so feminine about a mandolin."
Perhaps I have a thing for hot, naked cellists?
I know many women who play stringed instruments, and I have learned that the warmth of their music is cool reflection of the warmth they tap within themselves. And it is that warmth that truly speaks to me about them.
I suspect that perhaps two people who know me know that I have a thing for any of the following artists: Nadirah Shakoor, whose voice is simply the most beautiful thing I have ever heard; Miles Davis, whose Birth of the Cool and Kind of Blue enchanted me early on; or Glen Miller, whose music makes me want to ring my best girl and ask her to a dance. (Sometimes, music will cause me to do just that: recently, Cake's "Sad Songs and Waltzes" inspired me to call up my girlfriend and have her over just to waltz for an entire evening. I went digging for over an hour through all my music, seeking anything in 3/4 time with a good tempo and programming my CD player to cue them up one after another while we danced. Yeah, I'm the kind of guy who does that on occasion.)
Most people see my musical tastes as simple, straightforward, and ever-predictable: "It's Buffett or nothin'," I once heard someone say about me to another person. While I may listen to a lot of Jimmy (indeed, enough that my worldview is more sand and sandals than anything else), I'm possibly more wide-ranging in my tastes than anyone else you know. I owe much of this to my friends Kris and Mitty, and a bit to Dan and Kevin, my roommates in my sophomore year of college, who introduced me to Buffett music I liked and the Beastie Boys (respectively).
I even learned recently about a new kind of music: bubblegum country. No really: if you don't believe me, check out a girl called Taylor Swift and her song, "Our Song". It doesn't get any more bubble-gum than that. She's currently sitting at the top of the country charts with that one.
Hank Williams must be rolling over in his grave (presuming he's not picking up hitchhikers to Nashville). Despite that, I actually really like her voice: it's not a guilty pleasure, though, nor something I hide. I think the girl has some real talent (look for other stuff to find it). I just wish she didn't spend it on the sort of crap that Clear Channel is calling "good music" (since Clear Channel doesn't seem to know the meaning of either word). If you're ever in the mood for a laugh, flip between two country stations sometime, one where the station is owned by Clear Channel and one where it's owned locally, and listen to the difference in their "most popular songs of the day" countdown. About 90% of the time, they have not a single song in common.
Despite the range in my tastes, I am also highly critical of music that just isn't working out for me. While I like a little bit of punk in my Celtic, I can't stand Celtic in my punk: I really dislike Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphies. I love me some Pop in my Country, but generally feel that Country in my Pop can be "all right." And any time you mix electric guitars with orchestras, you're verging on musical perfection. I'm a huge fan of the '90's Alternative Rock genre (the more flannel, the better, man), but I dislike what Q101 became in the very late 90's (since recently going onto a format they call "shuffle," though, they're rockin' out again with the best of stations). Nick Drake and Enya just don't do it for me, nor does most Spanish guitar (I don't get it technically, so I can't enjoy it emotionally). And dear gods, if a band tries to be anything "artsy," they'd better make up for that shit by understanding music and producing quality compositions (the Flaming Lips are a good example, as is Beck: both do their own thing, and border on an ars gratia artis mentality, but produce some excellent and amazing compositions).
I find stories in music, and I like to tell those stories from my perspective. I remember being at a close friend's wedding, and I was discussing the musical selections at the reception with a beautiful girl I had just met. The song Fins came on, and I found myself engaged in a discussion of Jimmy's music. She had never understood it, and I said, "Well, I think you just have to understand the story behind the song." Of course, this led to me telling the story in an abridged prose fashion, and relating it in a very personal way.
I do this with nearly all music I listen to. I hear the story, or else make one up that sort of matches with the lyrics (for a great song with an awesome story that has another story I sort of impressed onto it, watch the video for Dierks Bentley's "What Was I thinkin'?" and imagine it as the story of a guy on a date with Eris). It's so much more than just listening to the lyrics: it's a creative act beyond the original intent of the artist. It is also what led to the now infamous Jimmy Buffett Ritual.</center>
Anyway, the point of this long ramble has been thus: If you have any suggestions about music, be it one song or a certain band's entire discography, please let me know. I'm in the mood to broaden my musical horizons yet again. Be forewarned: I have no access to iTunes, so it's gotta be out in hard copy somewhere, or on a free internet radio site, or available on YouTube in some form.
My suggestions to you are these:
- Jonathan Coulton - "Re: Your Brains"
- Watershed - "Can't Be Myself" (link to portion of the song)
- The White Stripes - "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)"
- Cake - "War Pigs" (cover, of course)
- Ben Kweller - Penny On the Train Track" (a must see video if you're feeling down)
- The Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience (album)
- Dierks Bentley - Long Trip Alone (album)