Friday, July 31, 2015

My Musical Diet

As I sit here on the R train grooving to The Human League's 1981 opus Dare, I can’t help but think how funny it is that lately I have been so deeply ensconced in the sounds of the New Wave era. Yet again. Coming from me, this is not an earth-shattering statement as those who know me, know of my undying love for the music of that synth-filled, frilly-shirt wearing New Romantic era. But even from an early age, my musical diet as it were, was unusually broad. I use the word "diet" when discussing my musical tastes because it perfectly sums up my point and, being Italian, everything could - and should - be equated with food.

Here it is: eating a balanced diet is much better for you than if you limited your food intake to just a few items all the time. No surprise there really. Kale is great for you but if leafy greens were ALL you consumed, aside from the fact that you would be shockingly regular, you probably would be left wanting a bit more. But that is how listening to music is for me. Sure, I love the music of David Bowie but my spiritual well-being would suffer if my entire music listening career consisted of nothing more than "The Thin White Duke". Although one could certainly do much worse!

This is the cyclical nature of my music listening experience. Because I have diverse tastes which range from the mainstream to content that is slightly more "fringeoid" (a word I love thanks to Frank Zappa), I tend to go on certain kicks every few months. I always reach back in time and discover an artist that I perhaps overlooked in the past but who somehow speaks loudly to me in the present. More recent "finds" for me have included the music of Donna Summer, Lionel Richie, Miles Davis' late 60's period, and Kiss. Yes, at 43 - I joined the Kiss Army!

But even with these new obsessions, I also tend to rediscover old favorites constantly. I have literally heard Duran Duran's 1981 debut album thousands of times but lately, it is as if I'm hearing it for the first time. Of course, there are also the times when Duran is the last band I want to hear because at that time, I might be wrapped up in the 'Countrypolitan' sounds of Kenny Rogers or Dolly Parton. Perhaps I'm lost in the brutality of Metallica, the epic funk of Prince and Rick James or the works of Puccini and Ravel. And then there was that time when I spent a year pretty much absorbing the entire catalogue of Jerry Reed. Time very well spent I might add. My soul still thanks me for that!

My point here? Simple. Like your Mother used to say, "eat everything on your plate". Or, "I don't care if you listened to some of your B.B. King, listen to all of it. Drink your Beethoven and don't forget your Black Sabbath or you won't get your Pink Floyd for desert"!

So, what are we listening to today?

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