Reading though some of my old posts, it's obvious I'm fascinated by how people find the music that ultimately defines them, or, at least, defines their taste, and how that "tastes" changes over time. Like a lot of people, I started out enamored of the music of my childhood. Yes, Wham is cheesy, and best appreciated from the safety of ironic distance, but this song still makes me want to dance. (And for better or worse, I cribbed most of my dance moves from George Michael):
At some point, maybe around fourteen, I realized there was more to music than what was on the radio. REM was one of the first bands I knew as "alternative," and one of the only ones at that time to break through the commercial rock barrier. Listening to them for the first time, I had that sense of "I don't what this is, but I think I'm supposed to be part of it."
REM aside, I was not one of those kids who discovered indie rock and fell down the rabbit hole. I still listened to a lot of top forty music, but every once in a while, something would catch my ear that I know under normal circumstances wouldn't have made the cut. And some songs just seemed super-cool at the time:
I'm decidedly not a fan of metal. Faith No More's The Real Thing was the first album I owned that my mom hated, and that was a large part of its appeal. Right now, it just sort of smacks of the time it was released: that weird late-80s twilight when hair metal was dying out, hip hip was exploding, and something was bubbling up to the surface. We just didn't know what it was yet.
Also completely redolent of its time, but for different reasons:
Any of these songs could have appeared on a mixtape I made between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. Some of them did, multiple times. Nothing here makes me feel "cool" or like I had an idea what good music was except what sounded good to my ears at the time.