Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Rock and roll: catch up or give up?
If you ever stop by this little-frequented blog, you will know that I am quite a music fan.
And I'm not closed-minded. I have the requisite eclectic tastes: jazz, classical, la chanson française...But I'm quite sure you know what I know: ROCK AND ROLL RULES.
Now that I've gotten that out of my system, let me also tell you I used to be a fountain of rock knowledge. I could tell you the original names of a ton o' groups, knew which albums were coming out when, and was the type of person who could hold my own in A-side vs. B-side debates. Of course that was about 25 years ago, but I like to think it counts for something.
But it doesn't count for being "up on things." So, a year or so back, I decided the Internet would be my route to Catching Up With Rock and Roll Since 1990. I mean between Deezer, Allmusic, and unlimited access to cool people's playlists, how hard could it be?
Unfortunately, it's proving to be very hard indeed. Sure, I write down group names, log in dutifully to Deezer planning on checking them out, and end up listening to my splendid Jackson Browne playlist, or doing a little more research on the many cover versions of "Hallelujah," even though I know Jeff Buckley's is the best.
As for Allmusic, it's a great place; I'm always going there to refresh my memory on burning and oh-so-current questions like "Did Highway 61 Revisited come out before or after Bringing It All Back Home?"
Don't get me wrong. I'm not totally ignorant. I can wail "Smells Like Teen Spirit" with the best of them -- oops, that's not really new anymore, is it? It's, like, from the last century? Oh well.
A few groups do keep coming back on my "must listen to" lists: The White Stripes, The Hives, The Strokes. I know they're out there! But I have come to realize that I will never listen to these groups if someone doesn't just stick a CD into my hand. And that never happens to people my age, right?
Yes, it does! I was at a school Christmas party this year, and one of my students came up to me and handed me a White Stripes playlist he had put on a CD. "I made this for you, I thought you might like it."
He was right. I liked it very much. Maybe I should "get into" this group.
But then again, there is so much music from 1960-1990 that I am ignorant of. And I've started to forget some of those "fun facts to know and tell," like the differences between UK and US releases of 60s albums. One can only keep up with so much.
So what's the best choice: to try to catch up, or just to give up?