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"Walk to the beat of my own drum…"

February 2, 2010

I am obsessed by few things in life. Things no different than your average bear: great sex, sleep, my kid’s cheeks, good wine, delicious food, movies that don’t suck, french roast coffee every morning, fabulous books, and of course, music. Mus-ic. Muse. When it comes to my music, I give in to any and all attempts to resist. I don’t know about you, but music is and has always been a huge part of my life and as long as I’m alive will continue to be.

See, I’m a very sound oriented person, so I find it critical to have music in my life at all times. (As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Poe, of course, and the songs she sang for the band Conjure One–fab-u-lous.) As a kid, when my mom started my older sister in piano lessons (which she hated), I was the one who was desperate to sit down at that big monster and find out how I could make the magic shoot out of my fingertips. Mom promptly enrolled me and that was IT–I was hooked. From ages six into high school, I took lessons and memorized as many pieces as I could. I also seem to have this uncanny ability to play most melodies by ear. You’ve heard of people like me. I’m no pro however; you won’t hear me playing at your local Nordstrom. Point is, music speaks to some people at a young age and it did to me.
I really think a lot of that had to do with dear ole dad. Amidst cries of “Jerry, turn that down!” from mom, dad would play for his girls, on his prototype, original 1960s Bose speakers snippets of his favorite classical pieces, from Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and Copland to his favorite soundscores*, most especially Bernard Hermann, from all of Hitchcock’s movies. As we moved into the 70s, Dad was one hip dude, embracing early Eagles, Seals and Croft, Heart, Fleetwood Mac, ELO, and some dude named Vangelis that no one had ever heard of, long before that movie came out. Dad taught my two sisters and I to listen to the music of the movie–something most people don’t even pay attention to (we always stay for the end credits to see who wrote the score). We can all name each Newman family member (Alfred, Randy, Thomas…), which movie they have scored, and have been nominated for. You know their music, too. You just don’t know that you know–American Beauty, Green Mile, Horse Whisperer, Fried Green Tomatoes (listen to “Visiting Ruth”–sooo pretty), every Pixar movie…good stuff. (Click here for more info on that amazing family.)
*Note: soundscore aficionados are very specific that you understand that we are not discussing soundtracks. We are not talking about music that is sung. This is the orchestral music. Just so we’re clear.
My husband is not much of a music listener, unless he’s sitting outside relaxing with a glass of single malt scotch and a cigar. Neither is my mom–well, unless it’s Neil Diamond–then all bets are off. When my music is on, it’s loud. Typically JP turns it down, which just pisses me off to no end. But I understand–he works at home. Booming bass in the background doesn’t go over well with clients. So the ipod has become my friend. I can rock as hard as I want to my 70s Styx, Rush, Bad Company, Heart, Blondie, Skynyrd, early Pat Benatar, Queen, or more current artists like my beloved Poe, Fisher, David Poe, Jonatha Brooke, Tori, Perry Farrell, Duffy, Paramore, Muse, Creed, Collective Soul, Beck, Blue Foundation…the list goes on–and no one can bug me that it’s too damn loud. On the rare occasions I get my Mazda CX7 to myself, I crank those Bose speakers way the hell up and rock out. (I love my car BTW–it has a turbo and awesome speakers. Think I bought it more for the speakers than anything else but I admit nothing, I tell you, nothing.)
I also find my music to be incredibly helpful when it comes to my writing. Songwriting is an art and not one that I’ve ever attempted. However, as a writer, I do write poems and short stories and feel occasionally stuck for a word or phrase. Depending on my mood or the vibe of the piece I’m working on, I’ll choose an artist based on their ability to be my muse, my springboard, even a thesaurus if you will. As I’ve mentioned Poe ad nauseum already in this post and sprinkled throughout my blog, her album Haunted (reviewed here on my blogcritics page) is an amazingly crafted concept album covering life, death, obsession, sex, love, parents, children, abandonment–it’s all in there. The album came out ten years ago and I still listen to part of it almost every day. Besides, the chick can rock–hard.
So that’s music to me. I have about 500 songs on my ipod playlist and am forever adding. Yes, I listen to them all, though as mentioned above, I clearly have my faves. If I’m having a bad day, I listen. If I’m writing, I listen. If I’m doing housework, I listen. If I’m cooking (microwaving), I listen. If I’m doing things I’m not gonna tell you about, I listen. If I drive, I listen. So here’s my question for you:
Who do you rock out to and when do you need your tunes?
Comment back here or follow me on Twitter at rachelintheoc.

From → music, Poe, Randy Newman

One Comment
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Yay! Rock with David Poe.

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