“Hey, thanks for following me on Spotify, hope you like the same songs over and over again.” I’ve never been much of a music person and I don’t usually utter that sentence out loud because it doesn’t make good friends.
It hasn’t always been this way. My parents finished the basement in their house and they had a pool table set up down there. I attribute my leisure time as a kid to a SuperMom who was able to handle most things “Matt related.” I wasted away the hours in between school and hoops in the basement playing pool and listening to my dad’s record collection that had I recently discovered. I was quickly drawn to two albums: The Other Side of Bob Dylan (still one of my favorites), and Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. But it wasn’t until my freshman year in high school that I realized the power music could hold in a social circle. We had a “spirit day” one day and people were painting faces and doing things that high school kids do. I was lucky enough to have an older sister two grades ahead of me, so I came into high school knowing many of the older kids, and one of her friends happened to be painting faces. When I walked in the room she called me over and painted a Dancing Bear on my hand. I didn’t even know what it meant but I was enamored that a junior girl wanted to interact, so sure! As I was walking down the hallway a class or two later, a different junior shouted out to me “Hey Dibbs! I didn’t know you were a deadhead!” I was like “yeah! Total deadhead!” Totally.
I wanted to be cool and so it became important for me to somehow get accustomed to this idea of music, and a cd purchasing system seemed like a good idea. So I sent off for BMG, my parents were pissed, and I received 6 cds in the mail, The Grateful Dead’s Skeletons from the Closet (of course), Simon and Garfunkel’s greatest hits, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits (are you sensing a theme?), Cat Stevens, Paul Simon’s Graceland, and Neil Young’s Harvest Moon. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this music right away, and what it could do for my social life. Suddenly I was able to meet and talk to new friends because I had all of these connections that I hadn’t had prior to this.
As I got older, the idea of festival hopping and jam bands was really enticing, and I spent more than a few weekends bobbing up and down to Phish or Umphrey’s Mcgee.
If you were to look at my Spotify top played list today, it would be many of the same songs and artists in that first BMG box… which I think I’m still paying for, somehow. I am a creature of habit, I guess. I’d rather sing along with something that I know than take the time to explore new things that I might like.
I’m turning into an old man!

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