Can ya’ hear it?
Is it me, or does someone’s taste in music say everything about them? To me, we are music. Music is life. Life is filled with so many types of people. Each person generally is the way they are based on how they were raised, where they were raised, when they were raised, and if they were even raised at all. This is music. Music is people. People are the many genres of music that separate sound from other sounds. I believe that we can tell a lot about people just by the music that we listen to. Rock. Pop. Hip-Hop. Jazz. Classical. Country.
I quickly associate music to a face. An image. A person. A lifestyle. Generalization? Yeah, probably, but I think we are all guilty of generalizing. Generalizations exist because they are true. Sorry people who think ‘generalizers’ are racist, they’re not. They are observant. I am Jewish, I have a big nose and I am stingy. Coincidence? No. Ask Marty Buksbaum; he has the same problem. As do most other Jews. Music is no different from us. We are the music we listen to.
Sharing [shair’ing]. Sharing is illegal in the world of music. But in the world of life, it’s everything. We learn from the early age of three (or however old I was to ably realize sharing was a ‘thing’). Mothers and teachers constantly told me share. ‘Andrew, make sure you share with Emily.’ What I would have really like to have said was, ‘Fuck you Emily, this is mine, and I’m not giving you shit.’ But thanks to the strict code of pre-school and childhood, sharing was the only way to go. No one wanted to do it, but there was no harm in doing so (except for losing whatever you gave the other person). Well, nothing has changed today. Sharing can sometimes be a pain, depending on what you’re giving, yet most of the time there is no wrong. Harmless. Useful actually. What goes around comes around.
I feel this with music. I share my music because it allows me to give a little bit of myself to someone else. Selfish? Call it what it is. My music says a lot about me. I see no harm or selfishness in it. I think one wrong with our generation is that we know too much about everyone, but not enough about each person. Who they are. Their personality. The characteristics behind the name. The ‘wall.’ Facebook has introduced us to a network where we can share thoughts about others, and ourselves, yet I still don’t know who people are individually. I don’t even know who I am half the time. We have fed into a network where we characterize people based on an html code, a ‘profile picture,’ and relationship status. Well done Mr. Zuckerberg!
People develop a general taste in music due to a network of sharing. Often, the music we listen to have been strongly impacted by Saturday afternoon drives with Dad or Sunday morning drives with Mom to the supermarket. The music that I listen to today is strongly influenced by what was electronically or physically planted into my mind at youth. However, the music we are initially introduced to is not always the music that characterizes you. I believe that it takes many genres of music to categorize one person.
Take me for example:
When I was young (like sitting in the backseat of Dad’s car, young), the only things I remembered listening to were: James Taylor, Notorious B.I.G., Tito Puente, Coolio, Gil Scott Heron, Tower of Power’s ‘You Ought to be Having Fun,’ Jazziz Magazine’s Monthly CD, and some random Brazilian Jazz band.
This unique, eclectic, deranged, call it what you want combination of music has shaped my musical mind; my harmonious characteristics. I choose to listen to a certain type of music because the music says a lot about who I am as a person and how I approach life, and it embodies a balanced combination of my childhood and present frame of mind.
I gravitate towards music with clean beats, a jazz driven background, and a smooth rhythmic harmony. Although this combination comes in many forms (i.e., genres) of music, the overall tone of the music is similar. I find this sound in folk, hip-hop, and jazz. Many of these genres overlap, yet the mood set by each individually creates an explicit characteristic specific to myself.
Here’s how my mind works (allow me to share):
Bonobo – ‘Days to Come’
Crown City Rockers – ‘Sidestep’
Ray LaMontagne – ‘Trouble’
Blue Scholars – ‘Sagaba’
Michael Franks – ‘Under the Sun’
Koop – ‘Summer Sun’
Dela – ‘Veuillez Veiller Sur Vos Reves’
Bon Iver – ‘Skinny Love’
Sharing music is everything. It allows us to narrows down exactly who we are. It characterizes. Generalizes. It makes us who we are. As much I would like to say that I live vicariously through my music, I think my music lives vicariously through me. Share.
My life’s a cartoon.
Am I ashamed? Not really. I feel lucky actually. I remember the days when I actually had a bedtime, which was quickly followed by an alarming wake up time. During the awkward years (7 – 15 years old), I dreaded having to go to bed at a certain time, and I definitely hated waking up at a time lesser than early. My alarm would sound around 6:30 am (which in those days seemed like the time when all ‘good’ was coming to a close). I would roll out of bed, hustle to the shower, go through my normal morning routine (which was long and still is), and dress myself with the clothes that I laid out the night before, leaving myself plenty of time to catch some quality early morning Nick.
my routine [roo-teen] is pretty consistent. Actually, very consistent. In fact, it’s kind of sickening. I consider myself a square person. Certainly not a bad thing, until something rounds my corners I guess. I like things neat. In order. Yet, I love to jump outside the square. My routine is nothing short of simple. I feel that we, as humans, eventually fall into a pattern or schedule, and are left with no other option other than to conform to a morning routine. I wake up. I don’t set a time anymore because (1) I am jobless (i.e., actively searching), so there is no need to get up at the crack of dawn; (2) I am no longer in school, so we can check that off the list; and, (3) I purposely set my phone on vibrate, so if I do hear it, I can either hit snooze (at least 20 times [5 minutes in between each snooze]) or dream that the sound of my Verizon vibration is a $4,000 Sharper Image Sound Soother (or however much they were charging).
Once I am up, I am up. I wobble to the bathroom. I turn on the sink light, the shower light, then the fan. I would like to only turn on the shower light, but the light is as dim as David Hasselhoff’s future, so they all get some action. I turn on the shower. Waiting for the shower to heat up has significantly increased in speed considering my roommates and I have turned the water heater level up the notch where it says ‘Don’t.’ We did. I hop in. Shampoo first (every couple of days), then soap (a bar of Lever 2000 Original), then face wash (it smells good). I get out, dry off (never scrub, only dab), spray my Right Guard Fresh deodorant, apply my face lotion (which I have kept in the same travel size bottle for a few years now), and then lather on my Jergens. My teeth brushing routine is a whole other story, so I will sum it up in one word and spare you the pain, ‘lon…ger.’
I am in my room. The door is shut being me and my roommates are either still sleeping or out at work. Now, I don’t set out my outfits the night before anymore, but I do have a rather limited collection of clothes, so that makes the selection process a tad bit easier. Well, actually that’s completely false. When I packed my bag for Chicago, I threw in clothes that I have not worn since I bought them. Most still have tags on them and others I have had in my closest since freshman year in college, and I still never wear them. For me it’s easy. Pack a lot of clothes so you are never limited in selection, but only wear a sixteenth of what you brought. To give you an idea, I brought about twenty pairs of boxers (all with the same ugly pattern), twenty pairs of socks, forty t-shirts, six flannels, four regular shorts, fifteen workout shorts, seven pairs of pants, and a collection of shoes that Payless wouldn’t even sell. Out of this vast collection, I seem to only wear four shirts, three flannels, two pairs of pants, one pair of shoes, and not once have I put on workout shorts (I can not reach them in my closet?). With this pallet, I mix and match. Luckily the pants are black and khaki, so everything I throw together seems to match. Well. Case closed.
The shows that came on early morning Nick were nothing more than simple observations or depictions of every day life. I got stuck watching Weinerville every single morning. The show sucked, Marc Weiner was kind of a wiener (pun intended), it wasn’t funny, and even Nickelodeon was embarrassed to air the show, so they gave them the 7:00-7:30 am slot. No other person in the world would be watching this other than children looking for a quick dose of laugh before school, or the mothers and fathers who suffered while their children sat in their room watching Marc’s Weiner as they got ready for work.
Weinerville was a puppet city. ‘Weiner’ for the clown who created the show, and ‘ville’ for town-sake. It was an imaginary city bathed with puppets, personality, and life. The life was very make-believe, but the characters were real; very real. They were mere depictions of observed city behavior. Louie was the laundromat owner, Big Pops ran the city diner, and Dottie was the useless city Mayor. Sound familiar? Sure.
Weinerville might be an imaginary city, created by imaginary people, yet it’s how we view and use these shows. I’ve learned whom each character is; what they contribute to the theatrics of the show; what they do and do not like; who they like; why they like that certain someone or something; but most importantly, I’ve learn to live with them. We are simply a fly on their wall, laughing with them and at them; it’s quite fascinating once you think about it really. We get involved with their world, when in reality, that world doesn’t exist. Take Family Guy for example. Quahog, Road Island, is a fictitious city, and Spooner Street (where the Griffin’s live) is nothing but black lines and color. Animation. They aren’t real. I mean, it’s real people doing the voiceovers, but the actual content of what we are watching is nothing but childish jargon and observed imagination.
This concept of discerned theory fascinates me. This is how I like to view my life. The area of Chicago that I presently live in is permeated with characters. These ‘characters’ (we’ll call them) are alive and well (that might be taking it too far), and create a fictitious-like environment very much like the one Marc ‘dingle berry’ Weiner envisioned. The corner (we call it [we being the people who use it]) has a wider range of characters than the Island of Misfit Toys. Crack heads. Homeless. Children. Children with children. It’s a zoo. But I love it! Each person carries his or her own unique quality. One man wears a tan onesie Dickies suit every single day. There are a group of guys that have sat in the same spot, on the same egg crates ever since the day I moved in; they actually lock their egg crates to the bike racks (no lie!). Another man (or women [still trying to figure it out]) is occasionally seen walking down the street in a policeman get up (where he or she got it I have no idea). My building is directly across the street from the Hiewa Terrace, where hundreds of retired Asians live. And, the most popular things sold at the local corner store are individual bottles of liquor and scratch off tickets (which no one ever seems to win considering the trashcan next to the register is filled to the brim with pre-scratched lottery tickets). It’s a pretty cheery story all around. I mean, I hate to see people struggle, and I never wish struggle upon anyone or anything, but these people are merely fictitious characters of my reality. I enjoy these individual characteristics that each person posses. The way each person uses the corner is pretty fascinating as well. Some sit, some stand, some sleep, some run, some talk, some walk and some don’t even know they are talking or walking, and that is beautiful!
So, do I live in a cartoon? No. Do I view my life as a cartoon? Yeah, I guess. Has Marc Wiener given me something to think about every time I walk out my front door? I hate to say this, but he sure has. Cartoons are nothing more than observed reality. And in my mind, reality is a cartoon and I happen to live in it.