Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Today's fortune: August 23, 2011

Today's fortune: Your love of music will be an important part of your life.

The Golden Bowl Fortune Cookie Company didn't really take a chance here. Everybody loves music (have you ever med somebody who didn't?); it's just the type of music people debate about.

The fact of the matter is, music has already been an important part of my life. During this project, the word "music" has appeared in 21 posts, and that's not counting all the posts where I've included a song or a reference to a song, band or singer.

I want to tell a story I haven't shared with a lot of people. When I was growing up, I listened to country music almost exclusively, largely because my parents listened to country music. It was an essential part of my life: I bought probably thousands of dollars' worth of tapes and CDs (tapes and CDs, kids, are old music formats, kinda like an iPod, but they're pre-loaded with music when you buy 'em), and I attended dozens of country concerts. I was apeshit for country music, especially Clint Black, who was my personal favorite.

Then, around my senior year of high school, something strange happened. I was driving around aimlessly one day - something high school kids do just because they finally can. The windows were rolled down and, of course, I was blasting country music on the radio. I don't remember what song it was, probably something by Toby Keith or Alan Jackson or, god, maybe even Clint, but I didn't like the sound of it. At all. Then another song came on and I hated it. The next one was even worse. I suddenly found that I didn't like country music in the least. It sounded artificial. I don't know if it was something in me that changed or something in country music. Probably a little of both.

(Let me take a second to clarify: I did, and still do, enjoy old country music, like Hank Williams Sr., Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and the like, and I love bluegrass, old or new.)

For the first time in my life, I flipped around the radio dial for a new genre of music. Then, a few days later, I did something even more blasphemous: I bought my first non-country CD. The band was called Fastball, and in 1998 this song was all the rage:

But I kept my CD collection small and my newfound obsession to myself. I never really told my parents that I'd stopped listening to country (Hi mom and dad!), because I was convinced they would think I was turning my back on them or their preferred music. It's silly, I know. But this is the power music holds over people, and this is what today's fortune means to me: I was worried the people I loved most would think less of me because I didn't listen to their kind of music anymore. That's a powerful thing for an 18-year-old kid who was a closeted rock music listener.

Now my music tastes run to the eclectic, from The Killers to Elton John to Simon and Garfunkel to Mumford & Sons to Ella Fitzgerald to Aerosmith. Basically, anything but modern country music.

My favorite musician, and the one whom I'm sure will influence my entire life, is this guy.

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