Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll

In college I was the manic pixie dream girl of indie music. I worshipped Regina Spektor. I was on Arcade Fire's bandwagon way before they blew up the hipster scene with Neon Bible. I fell in love with Vampire Weekend from the first moment I heard that opening line of Oxford Comma. I spent hours searching the music blogs, the aggregators, and my friends' brains for new songs to listen to and then adopt as my soul songs. I made mix CDs that bravely combined the Pipettes with the Rolling Stones and spent hours writing liner notes which explained the reasons for each and every song. I would rave about songs and how they had changed my life. I would sniff derisively in the movie theater when a song came on that I had discovered ages ago and knew before it was big. I never bought the songs that were introduced by the iTunes commercials because I already had it tucked away in a playlist from a year ago. I wrote my senior thesis on the consequences of music in the political world. One hundred and six pages of it.

Then I graduated. Somewhere in the humdrum rush of the daily grind. Monday followed by Tuesday and Wednesday until Thursday and then finally Friday with the weekend close behind. I fell into musical ruts, and fell out of love with some of my favorite songs. It's hard to find new music when you aren't a college student. It gets pushed by the wayside so often in favor of things like sleep, grocery shopping, or trying to keep a cat happy.

Eventually Spotify came along. I, of course, resisted. As a fangirl of Steve Jobs (dating back to before he was cool again, of course) I bought all my music on iTunes, and therefore someday will inhabit a higher circle of Heaven than you illegal downloaders, even though I once was one of you. I was vehemently against Spotify. I had a carefully curated iTunes collection with beautiful playlists of brilliance. What more could I want? Then one day my mom started to rave about this new band she had found. I dismissed it as a one time occurrence. But it happened again. I now know how annoying I must have been junior year in college because one night, after one too many drinks, I realized my mother was listening to the Fleet Foxes, Delta Spirit, and Bon Iver.

I don't know if this means that my mom is suddenly more indie than me, or that these bands have finally entered mainstream. I suspect the former, because she's also sending me bands I've never heard of. That's the true definition of indie. No matter who has all the music bloggers buzzing, when you know the name of the little known band from Glasgow that will be the next big thing, you automatically trump the sad and tired souls who love Bon Iver. And that's what my mother is currently doing.

So I bought a subscription to Spotify. Spotify is like the kind old friend, the one I've had since I was three, who will never judge me for my sudden urges to listen to showtunes and nothing but showtunes, though my neighbors deeply regret these moments of my life. Spotify allows me to indulge myself when I suddenly want to listen to the soundtrack from Little Women (the version with Winona Ryder that had the horrible slobbery kiss with Christian Bale but is otherwise a perfect film) while eating fortune cookies and cold crab rangoon with a glass of wine. To date Spotify has only let me down once, when I wanted to hear Sprout and the Bean by Joanna Newsome. I went back to iTunes for that. Kind of like how you crawl back to an ex and then try not to think about it the next morning when you're sober again. But that was a one time occurrence. I'm happy to announce that I am discovering new music on a pace that fast rivals that of my senior year in college. If you haven't tried the Parlours, you definitely should.

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