It Goes Up to Nine-Thousand … and Eleven
Idiosyncrasies in musical taste range across an enormous spectrum, with ye-olde-school classical on one end and throat-thrashing screams on the other. With a wide array of genres to choose from, you’d probably be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like music at all. Some people enjoy country, either because they really like hearing songs about women wreaking felonious vengeance on their lecherous significant others (with the collateral damage being a poor, innocent 4x4), or because they’re just in an achy-breaky mood in general. Others like music they can swing glowsticks to or hop on arrows to, which is great for their cardiovascular health (in spite of the risk of broken light fixtures or ankles).
As you might expect, I have my own musical preferences, which tend to skip merrily across the spectrum landing where they may. I don’t really listen to classical, as it makes me drowsy, but I will gladly tell you that Franz Liszt is my favorite composer. Everyone’s always “Chopin this” and “Rachmaninoff that,” but I have to tell you, they doesn’t appeal to me nearly as much.
I like certain songs that fall under video game music, although this does not extend to the entirety of the Brawl soundtrack, because the songs from Tetris get old fast. I used to listen almost entirely to music made before 1980, in no small part influenced by rummaging through my parents’ CD collection because I wanted to spend my money on Pokémon cards instead of CDs. As time went on, my preferences shifted slightly to include early Michael Jackson and some of the best 80s soundtracks of all time. No points for guessing which Kenny Loggins song I like best, although it’s probably not the first one you think of.
Then I played the first Guitar Hero. The first thing I did was listen to “Sharp-Dressed Man” and “I Love Rock and Roll” repeatedly online, and the second thing I did was to wonder why on earth nobody ever told me about the awesomeness of the guitar solo. I mean, I’d already graduated from the Oldies School of Air Guitar, but I had no inkling whatsoever that the Master’s program even existed. I fixed that problem fairly quickly with an interest in Poison and Bon Jovi on top of Orleans and The Eagles. Oh, and obviously, all of the Weird Al Yankovic parodies thereof.
In a phenomenon that I seriously doubt is limited to me, almost every major rock-based rhythm game of the past several years has influenced the collection on my mp3 player in some way or another, simply because I have a weak spot for electric guitar. Mind you, I still have some tastes in music that I consider strange but probably aren’t — ask the average person on the street, and chances are high that they’ll tell you that their taste is “eclectic,” meaning that it dabbles in just about everything.
It’s been my experience that people generally don’t like to pigeonhole themselves nearly as much as they do others, and if you’re in a college environment where horizons get the living daylights broadened out of them, you’ve probably sampled new flavors of music whether you wanted to or not. Thankfully enough, the music-blaring residents of Bexley tend to exhibit astonishingly good taste, as least the times I’ve walked past the Mass. Ave. intersection.
With so many mixed musical tastes brought into close proximity, it’s something of a “Duh” moment to deduce that there will be some mingling amongst them. Some of the music I brought with me include songs from what is in my opinion the greatest foreign sports film known to man, which doesn’t even require that deep a knowledge of cricket to understand. In my time at MIT, I also discovered an acoustic guitar duo with some of the most wicked guitar solos I’ve ever seen in my life, and certainly the only ones I’ve ever seen live. Feel free to ask me about either of the above — there’s little I like better than inflicting my opinion on others.
As far as music is concerned, I’m more than happy to listen to what I have, occasionally hunting down any interesting songs I hear at dances or on television. Putting together a music collection this way tends to make for a pretty piecemeal library, but then, I’ve always been the kind to listen to music based on the merit of the song rather than the artist. I love the guitar solo in “Free Bird,” but having been raised in Pennsylvania, I don’t think I identify strongly enough as a Southerner to buy a Lynyrd Skynyrd album.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go see if I can hunt down the soundtrack to the motion picture *Hook* — because nothing reduces stress like pretending you can fly, and watching Niko Bellic sail off a motorcycle at high speeds in Grand Theft Auto IV just isn’t the same.