sound + vision: The Songs That Opened My Eyes to Music
I've always loved music. As a kid, my dad would turn on the oldies radio station whenever we were in the car and quiz me. My parents took me to see Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney while I was still in elementary school. My sister and I made up dances on the trampoline to George Michael and the Wilson Phillips.
In high school I listened to some stuff I still think is pretty good: Weezer, Radiohead, the Cranberries, Nirvana, and my beloved oldies. But I also listened to stuff I now think is crap: Hootie and the Blowfish, Savage Garden, Sister Hazel, Alanis Morisette, etc... The things is, I had only mainstream radio to guide me, so that's what I got. No cool older siblings, no in-the-know friends, no local college radio station, and no internet.
That all changed during college in 1999, when I became roommates with Amanda. She had been really into punk in high school and had become a big indie music aficionado in college. She introduced me to Belle & Sebastian, Elliott Smith, Built to Spill, Neutral Milk Hotel, and many more. I had no idea that there were so many great bands out there that weren't on the radio. I felt like my eyes had been opened to a whole new world. It was incredibly exciting.
Amanda and I soon found our way to the local indie scene. The internet was still so slow and limited that most of our knowledge of new bands came by word of mouth or a trip to the now-defunct Salt City Records. We were so passionate about music that we listened to it constantly, went to see shows bi-weekly, learned how to play guitar, and along with a few more friends, started a band of our own.
Although I still love music, I don't think I'll ever come close to the passion I felt for it in college. There are some great newer bands like Taken by Trees, the Shout Out Louds, the Arcade Fire, and Bon Iver, but their songs will never compare to Aeroplane over the Sea, When They Really Get to Know You They Will Run, or Between the Bars. I guess because it's about more than just the song...it's about the context. And for me, 1999 was the year I really fell in love with music. Nothing will ever top the songs I listened to over and over again during that year.
I hope you enjoy listening to some of these.
Are any of you nostalgic for music from a certain period of your life? I'd love to hear!