Monday, August 04, 2008

Music To My Ears

It’s exactly twenty years ago when I bought my first cassette tapes. Even before that, my older brother played Beatles, Duran Duran and Madonna records. I listened to them, too, and to parts of the Top 40 chart show hosted by Casey Kasem. I’d switch on his radio when he wasn’t around. I pretty much fancied the same artists, and others that spoke to me, a younger listener.

I really liked Fra Lippo Lippi’s “Light and Shade” album, so I got that. And yeah, I admit it: I loved Debbie Gibson’s bubblegum pop 20 years ago, so I got “Out of the Blue,” too. My tape collection would grow into a few dozen in the span of a year. I only had a few vinyl records, among them When In Rome’s debut album, and a 12-Inch Remix of Mike Francis’ “Let Me In.”

Yeah, well, two years after I started listening to music I bought, I really got into New Wave and Folk, and my taste expanded from there. I outgrew Debbie Gibson and the Dianne Warren-penned charttoppers. I got into The Cure, REM, Sarah McLachlan, Sinead O’Connor, and some obscure but similarly talented artists. I got into angry, angsty stuff. And while I still listen to sad songs, sometimes, the phase was one that I outgrew, too. I try to listen to a wide range of artists and songs, now.

But there are those that I really can’t stand. I automatically change channels whenever I see Miley Cyrus’ or the Jonas Brothers’ videos. It’s not my music, obviously, but I can understand that it’s some younger generation’s. Oh, wait, did I just write that sentence? I feel so old all of a sudden. But yes, it’s some kid’s music, just as Miss Gibson’s mostly wholesome, self-penned and self-produced stuff was sort of mine.

Debbie, and teen queen “rival” Tiffany, grew up and matured too (and posed for Playboy some years back, yep!). Their more recent songs, according to some people, have evolved to incorporate grown-up themes. Maybe I should listen to them and see how they’ve changed, two decades later.

In the meantime, I’m flashbacking to two decades back. Life was much simpler, the cassette player’s playing “Out of the Blue” and “Light and Shade” repeatedly, and I was dreaming of owning my own radio, the better to keep track of Billboard’s Top 40 songs of the week.

I got a radio as a birthday gift, two months later.

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