During the summer of 1981, I was at Buddhist camp in Vermont and I made the mistake of telling one of the cute brothers from Canada that I liked The Who. He had asked me about my favorite bands and since I had recently heard The Who and liked them, I thought this was an acceptable answer. This was my first, painful lesson in music coolness. He laughed in my face and then squinted up his eyes like he was dealing with a real snake. "What's your favorite song? What's your favorite album and can you name the order of the songs on it? Name the band members." I could, of course, do none of this stuff. It hadn't occurred to me that you were not allowed to like music in a casual way and not know anything about it or its band-of-origin. I just liked that song that went "Who are you, who-who, who-who. . ." At least that's how I thought it went.
I stared blankly back at his adorable suntanned face until he gave up on me with a little disgusted puff of air and went off to tell his super-cool older brothers about how I was a total poseur who didn't know anything about The Who.
This experience sort of scarred me and my scars were not helped by the fact that my brother started making fun of my musical tastes when I was seventeen and he was TEN (what's wrong with John Cougar Mellencamp, I ask you?) and the fact that I can not—simply can NOT—remember song lyrics.
So, I've never been big into music. I like music, but I'm always sort of intimidated to express my opinions. What if some guy who has memorized the order of every Led Zepplin album starts to question me? What if I have to admit that I once studiously memorized EVERY word to EVERY song on Thriller, or someone tries to force me to defend early Madonna? Easier just to keep it to myself.
A thing I like
My friend Jen gave me a CD called One Right Thing for my birthday and I just recently opened it and stuck it in the car stereo, and I've just got to say that I heart Matt the Electrician so much I am sort of beside myself. Why, you ask? Because he's funny and he writes songs about everyday things, and he often thumps on the wooden part of his guitar, and he plays the banjo, and his music sounds to me like the smartest, most fun train ride in the world. And, that's really all I can tell you. Listen for yourself. I just can't get enough of "Change the Subject."