Friday, September 9, 2011

My Lack of Favorite Things


Don't worry, Hipster Kitty, and Hipster Kitty fans, I haven't decided to change featured memes for this blog, although I will admit to having briefly considered it. But no, Music Nerd Octopus is just a guest today, on loan from his real home at

(And OK, before we move on, let's give that hyperlink address just prior a second look:
It may just be the greatest url ever).

Anyway, Mr. MNO is here to help me tell a story . A story about how last week Melanie and I were invited to go down to the Grand Central Club in downtown Miami to hear her Whole Foods co-worker play a set with her synth 'n' laptop band. The music was . . . not for me. The word that came to mind as I sought to explain was "techno," although they describe themselves as "rave/house,". which probably only serves to highlight how disconnected I am from music of this sort.

A horribly blurred picture I took at the Grand Central Club. Can't tell the musicians, but aren't the colors pretty?
But good for Khadija and Mike, you know? And then after the show, we ran into them in the parking lot, and Melanie said nice things and in doing so pointed at me and muttered something about the weird music I listen to. And suddenly I was being asked by Melanie or Khadija about my favorite band or bands, and I literally had no clue as to how to respond. I muttered something like, "I don't really have any favorites," which sounds like I'm just not that much into music, and which is of course totally inaccurate if you're trying to figure out just what it is I am also.

So fuck. It's complicated. Melanie says something about "Sonic Youth" for me, and Khadija nods her head, saying "yeah we like Sonic Youth, too" and I nod my head also, but inside I'm like, No! I have real issues with Sonic Youth. They're not my favorites, they're just a band that was really good for a good while!, though fortunately I kept my mouth shut.

So what's the point here, beyond the fact that I am just as socially inept at age 46 as I was at age 16? Well, I think it's that in my old age I've moved past this concept we've all had of "favorite band." I remain enthused about music. With the resources available these days, I continue to discover new music all the time. I love music as much as I did as a teenager. Music may in fact be the only thing holding me together, with the household going bankrupt and the Astros in the shit-tank.

But I don't have a favorite band, and haven't had as I think about it, for quite some time. I don't know how to answer the question. I know of bands who used to be my favorites, Iron Maiden and Yes and Sonic Youth, but now they're each just one of many whom I like, each one of many with highlights and lowlights and stories and albums and songs, and I really can't say I prefer one to any other any more.

I think I have said something like "Boris are the best band on the planet" in the recent past, and on reflection now as I write I do even believe that to be true. But still, I wouldn't say Boris are my favorite band. Maybe it's splitting hairs, but I think not.

Perhaps it's that I now realize everything will turn to shit at some point, every band will break up, or release their sell-out album, or get in a lifechanging car accident, or just reach a point where they now no longer agree with me on the things I listen to them for.

Or maybe it was the fallow period that I had, four or five years in the mid nineties when I paid less attention to music than at any other time in my life, a time when I was led to concentrate on other things, a time which passed without anguish and relatively painlessly while my formerly favorite outfits worked on without my attention.

But mostly, I think it's this: of course I've had fun with my blogspot and now with my tumblr, but I believe I have a greater respect for the music now, as I now have a greater respect for growing older. I do take it more seriously than I did back when I was riding my bike to the record store. This isn't making silly lists in history class anymore. It's the way I live my life, powerful music to accompany me and to grab hold of as I struggle through. What it is, I figure, is that I've dropped some of my adolescent enthusiasms while still maintaining my enthusiasm.


TAD said...

R: Excellent as always.
I don't think I have 1 favorite band anymore, more like half a dozen olde favorites.... Pretty mature, huh?
Oh, & Hipster Kitty's taste sucks, so I'm looking forward 2 more of the Octopus....
Still loving the Tumblr....

rastronomicals said...


Thanks. Don't worry about Hipster Kitty, she hates everything. Don't worry about it; it's her loss.