For whatever reason, when I was kid I loved country. On Saturday afternoon, while cleaning my disastrous bedroom, my dad set my new radio to KFRG and I was hooked. He seemed to have forgotten this little detail, because he would repeatedly ask how I could like it. My parents didn’t listen to it, so where could I have picked it up? It was you, dad, it was you.
At the time, he was not one to like it. After I got older he had grown an appreciation. I think because the contemporary country at the time sounded more like pop music from his generation. Country is always a few-steps behind the mainstream. I think because the square dancing doesn’t go anywhere.
Up until I was twelve years old I refused to listen to anything but country. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did love classical or orchestral music in addition to, but at the time when I owned a tape deck stereo all I ever allowed to come across those speakers was country; and the twangy genre were the only cassettes I owned. I believed that it started that way and it would end that way.
I was so militant about that notion that one of my friends’ brother tried to get me to play some Green Day on it and I flat-out refused. Which is one moment that really sticks out to me. Why was I so concerned? Did I think that the alt-rock was going to somehow taint my machinery? It’s strange the things we used to think were important.
If I showed my music taste and collection to that version of myself he would call me a liar.
This kid was someone who would run out of a room that had on any kind of contemporary music playing. Or I would plug my ears. Goddamn, was I ever the fucking weirdo. That bitch was CLUTCHING onto them Christian roots.
Fast forward from that ridiculous moment in history and the first time I ever allowed myself to watch MTV, during summer break, and the first alternative song I ever allowed myself to listen to and subsequently love was “Semi-Charmed Life.” That to me is hilarious. Mainly due to the content of the song itself. It is this up-beat pop rock tune about drug abuse and sex. And the first time I allow myself to like songs other than cheating women and drinking was about a drug addict talking about falling asleep with his dick still inside his girlfriend after an evening of drug fueled sex. Honey…
When I fall from grace I fall hard. Which tracks for my pattern of: if I’m going to do something I’m going to do it right.
This song kicked the door to my resistance of it’s hinges. It ushered in a flood of alternative bands. Matchbox Twenty was right on the heels of Third Eye Blind, and as I chased the sporadic and unpredictable airing habits of certain music videos I discovered Robbie Williams. I chased him for an entire summer until I finally got his U.S. release of “The Ego Has Landed.” (Still one of my top faves.)
It wouldn’t be until I was dating my husband, with his massive music collection, that I would get to hear entirety of Third Eye Blind’s first album. Every song on it was pure magic. From beginning to end. It spoke to me and my fears of failing, substance abuse, and not ever being remembered.
Lately I have been listening to a “90’s” (More like early 2000’s) Playlist I made on Spotify. The songs there take me back to a time when I was happy. Which is weird because I wasn’t. I was an overweight, loner, closet-case who clutched to a false faith because it was what was expected of me. I was playing a role. Yet I consider that a time of “happiness.” Then it donned on me that I only view it as such because I had no responsibilities. My life was just school and having fun. I didn’t have bills to pay, didn’t have to worry about the U.S. government falling apart, nor the overwhelming pain of loss and impending departure. All I had to do was stay focused on grades and play video games. Of course that would be viewed as joyful and carefree.
Now I get to use these songs as vessels for euphoric recall. For 3, or so, minutes I am back in my bedroom playing video games or sitting in front of the computer of my parents’ living room chatting with people hundreds/thousands of miles away. For the briefest of moments I get to be carefree.
That’s the magic of music.