Last night a friend of mine, and expecting father, said that parents should just “tell their kids to go listen to The Beatles”. More or less, that’s what mine did. I remember sitting in the dark, listening to John Lennon’s tight, electric, drug-fueled harmonies cutting through a microphone, tape, and, decades later, the plastic playground of my cutting-edge 3-disk CD player – and it was better than drugs ever could be. I remember the first time I really listened to The Beatles and how intoxicating it was. They reminded me that it was okay for music to be exciting, or edgy, or quirky, or smart, or depressing, or frantic, or creepy, or gorgeous, or just plain weird. Or anything. Or all of them at once.
Like an addict, I couldn’t quit it. There was always more, and it was always new. It dove to depths and reached heights that I, myself, could not have conceived existed. And, at the same time, it was always strangely familiar. I learned every bit of it – it was always so wonderfully constructed that learning it seemed effortless -, and, at the same time, I was (and still am) always surprised and impressed that it was never obvious. Almost none of the ideas seemed to be recycled (I’ve since learned that many were), or forced; it never seemed insincere.
Now, for one reason or another (for many reasons, really), I feel like a lot of music is insincere, forced, and lazily recycled. It’s upsetting.
This is my ode to the sound of the 1960s (The Beatles, in particular) and the never-lonely nights sitting in the dark, listening…