I don’t listen to new music anymore. For the past 10 years I have mainly stuck to the music I found and loved when I was younger because a) I think it’s really good and b) I think there’s a lot of garbage out there and I just can’t be bothered. But it didn’t used to be like this.
When I was seven years old I went to a Girl Scout camp next to a lake. I hated fishy waters so when everyone jumped in I walked back to our empty campsite. The troop leader that stayed to guard thought she was alone and blasted a cassette on a portable player. The second I heard that music I literally felt it in every cell of my body. It was like a huge whack in the head — something I had never felt before. I sat there and listened, in a trance. When side A stopped I ran to turn to side B so that I could see who was playing. The cassette read “The Beach Boys”. I saved my small allowance for a couple of weeks and asked my mom to take me to the music store at the mall. She let me have my moment. I paid for a white cassette with blue ink that I have saved to this day. At age seven I knew deep down that music would be my real true love.
The next decade was spent absorbing all kinds of music and developing the very snobbish taste I have today. I couldn’t just listen, I had to feel it. I learned to abhor pop music and pop culture. I just wanted an ounce of raw, of real.
When I was 13 we were traveling in Florida and stopped at a gas station. They had a CD stand and I saw two picture covers that I liked, so I bought the CDs. The two were Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin (I swear this is a true story) and after that nothing was ever the same.
While my range of feelings kept stretching through pretty crazy years I searched and found the right soundtracks to accompany my journey. The more nuanced the feeling, the more nuanced the music. Very specific, very precise, I created a perfect mapping of both. Slowly, the arc of feelings stabilized and I stopped looking for new stuff and deep dived into what I already adopted as my own.
And here’s where I don’t know if it’s the chicken or the egg. Did I stop listening to new music because my new experiences came to a halt? Or do my experiences lately feel like more of the same because I stopped stretching my arc of feelings? Whichever it is, it’s about to be broken. I’m stepping out of my life and into a crazy dream of travel.
I am going where there is new music. Prepare the trumpets.