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Musical Compatibility is Overrated

Friday, January 30, 2009 - 03:10 PM

I grew up on a well-intentioned, but deeply damaging, diet of show tunes and folk songs, with a little light classical mixed in. The soundtracks to John Hughes movies really pushed my musical boundaries. 'Nuff said.

But I was humble, and willing to learn (so much so that I now score high in the "Reflexive and Complex" category in Sam Gosling's Music Personality Quiz) and I got turned on to all manner of good things - from Pavement to Public Enemy and PJ Harvey, and a wide array within and beyond.

I'm dating myself, I know. But that's what this whole thing is about right? Dating?

Which I did, pretty happily for a while, tabla rosa and sponge-like - waking up to Phil Schapp some mornings, spending nights in clubs in Williamsburg back when Bedford Avenue seemed far, far away. Then, right around the start of the Iraq War, I met a really great guy who, even greater -- I thought at the time -- shared my exact taste in music. We loved all the same bands, all the same venues, and knew the lyrics to all the same songs. And since 2003 was a very sad time for very many people, what could be more comforting than curling up with your sweetie and your favorite band and waiting out the long, cold winter?

I'm here to say: a lot. First, because most of the music we were listening to at the time was the kind of twangy, melancholic melodies that makes Wellbutrin so popular.

And, second, because it meant that once we broke up (which happened, fast and furious) I had to chuck a good third of my record collection. Ciao, Bjork. Hasta, Miles. Nice to have known you. And I couldn't show up at a bunch of clubs around town. And yes, I know that shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to. No need to mention it. And please, don't say anything about Spanish boots or Spanish leather, okay?

Do I need to toughen up? Perhaps.

So Soundcheck asked for confessional, but I'm giving you cautionary too. Be grateful for a lover who has terrible taste in music. At least if the whole thing falls apart, you can hold on to your tunes. And for me, better to have listened and lost, than never to have listened at all.


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Comments [1]


What about those who have no taste in music? I don't mean bad taste, but music is just not a part of their everyday lives? After a 20 year marriage I realized that I had bought every album, CD, cassette, piece of equipment to play music on, concert tickets....I thank my lucky stars that my three children (21, 19 and 17) love music of all kinds. I get to share in their world of music which has me listening and appreciating music and artists I would have otherwise never been exposed to and it's all on my iPod!!

Jan. 30 2009 03:47 PM

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