Friday, December 2, 2011

OPINION: First Albums and Taste Development

There's a lot of truth in it when you hear someone utter the phrase "I grew out of it". But for some reason, every single person on this planet has things from their childhood that pass the cynicism test we call adulthood. I'll bet you that you have more in common with your 10 your old self than you could possibly imagine. Ask anyone what their first album is and they'll probably be able to tell you not only what it was, but where they heard it, how old they were, and what they thought of it. It's a vivid and colorful memory, but you know what the truth is? I'm absolutely sure that 90% of people are lying when they tell you that story. The actual story is true I'm sure --- but the idea of a first album, can it even be determined?

My personal theory is that most people only remember the things that truly meant something to you. You don't remember your mother playing Hotel California on repeat when you were six because it didn't speak to you. Most likely because you were too young to even understand what was going on, but that's not the point. Eventually a parent or sibling will play something that does pique your interest, and maybe one day you adopt it yourself. It becomes your "First Album" without it even being true because it's the starting point. It's the starting point of the rabid consumption of media that we call life. Not that I mean to imply that consumption is the entirety of life, there's obviously more things in life like family, values, religion, societal beliefs, etc. I don't want to focus on that right now because I don't have the energy to explain every facet of life on a blog post.

It begs the question --- What impact does your "First" album truly have on you?

Personally, the first band I ever loved was Weezer. I can't say what it was that attracted me to them in the first place, but what if it was the "Buddy Holly" video? If I didn't watch Happy Days when I was young maybe I never would have listened to The Blue Album. I don't know... maybe my favorite band right now would be Sugar Ray if I didn't have that initial connection to Weezer. I'd like to think more of myself, but I firmly believe that Weezer was the band that set me on the path of musical consumption that I'm currently on. Weezer led to more 90s alternative rock like Nirvana and Foo Fighters. Eventually I tried Radiohead which led me to electronic music. Electronic music led to Independent and Experimental music, every band led me to another band that did something similar but added something new. Every band you listen to should indeed make you better at listening to music, as each new style and texture is implanted onto a developing musical mind you learn to adopt what you like and shun what you do not. The vast majority of music fans have a cycle similar to that... I seriously doubt anyone's first album was Merriweather Post Pavilion. I'd be interested to see what the result of something like that was, but my guess is that it'd take a lot of the fun out of the journey... and the journey is so much fun.

I still feel like I'm developing my tastes as I go along, I don't feel like I could ever stop seeking out new and interesting sounds to listen to. Music is life and I refuse to let life get stale. If I don't listen to Fucking Hundreds of both new and older albums each and every year I don't feel like I'm doing it right. The worst part is knowing that there's always a band out there that is perfect for you that you don't even know exists yet. It might have existed 40 years ago, if you don't always stop looking for them... you'll probably never find them.

You can follow Kyle on twitter @_Shoey

1 comment:

  1. You couldn't have summed up how I feel about this any better. I still remember the first time that I listened to Siamese Dream. Hearing those songs for the first time was magical. Smashing Pumpkins definitely caused me to seek out more music and at this point in my life I'd me completely empty without the ability to seek out new and awesome music.