November 06, 2005

I'm Going To Tell You A Secret

By way of my musical Fairy Godmother, I happened, on Friday, to get myself a copy of a very in demand CD that has not yet been released.
This wasn't something I connived or worked at; I just happen to have a friend who has some musical connections who knows how much I love music. I was sitting quietly at my desk when he IMmed me some lyrics. Which is generally his secret code for "Look in your AOL Mailbox. I've just sent you this song."
As my friend (Let's call him Will) is in pretty tight with a few of New York's most prolific DJs, I thought he had sent me a remix of just the song he was referencing. Which excited me because I can't really wait to hear what gets done with this track. The album cut is already a great dance song, and the vocal track has more promise than any I've heard in a long time.
I knew something was up when I signed onto AOL and the little voice said "You've got- Holy Shit! You've got a friend somewhere! Can I have a copy?"
No Mr. AOL, you can't.
Why am I telling you this? To brag? To rub it in your collective faces?
Yes. I've got it. You all have to wait 2 more weeks. Neener. Neener. Neener.
But there's another reason too.
I've now listened to the album roughly 1,000 times. It's fantastic. It's everything I'd hoped it would be.

But I have this thing about music. You see, I hate it when music I like becomes popular. No, I'm not insane, and I know that this album is by one of, if not The Most popular artist in the world - OK, cryptic is pointless. I have Madonna's Confessions On A Dancefloor. And it's amazing. And you don't. But you will in just over a week. - so I have no illusions about this album "becoming popular". I will be number one for a LONG time. And deservedly so. It's slick, well produced, and makes you want to get up no matter where you are (living room, subway, office, in line at the bank, Dr's waiting room, holding cell, boardroom) and shake your ass.
But something weird just clicks in my head when music is no longer "mine":
When I was younger I used to listen to a little alternative radio station in Rochester.
WBER. BER played all the shit that's in your CD collection now. They just did so 4 years before you knew it existed. And I've always had a thing for music that no one else really knows about. It's like belonging to a club of some kind. If you meet another person who likes that obscure artist, or that B-Side track, there's just a connection. I can't explain it. The music just belongs to you. You're not subject to other people's interpretations, or their tonedeaf singalongs, or over exposure on radio and (once upon a time) MTV. You get pure, untainted music.
I remember hearing Dido's Here With Me on my way to school during my junior year. A full year before it became the themesong for Roswell on the WB, and a full 2 years before Eminem sampled Thank You, which put Dido on the proverbial map. I bought that CD the next day. I listened to it relentlessly. I lost my fucking virginity with that CD playing in the background (during thunderstorm in my Grandfather's house while he and my parents slept downstairs no less. Hot, no?). And then Here With Me blew up 2 years after it's original release, and I couldn't turn on the radio without hearing it. Mind you it was still played less on the radio than I played it on my own. But it was no longer just mine. Everyone in the friggin world was humming it. Playing it on their car stereo.

Or take Dave Matthews Band. Please (Ooooh! Snap!). Flash back to sophomore year of high school. I saw Dave play a show in a small venue in Rochester, which he couldn't sell out at the time. At a concert two years later, tickets to which cost me 5 hours on line at 6 A.M. and no small amount of dignity, Dave played the opening chords of Satellite. The girl next to me, confused by a song that wasn't getting heavy radio play, turned to her friend and said "Oh Wait! I think this is on the first CD!", which she then whipped out of her bag and scanned for the lyrics so she could sing along. Now I know this makes me sound like a bitch, but this isn't church. If you don't know the words, do NOT turn to page 83 in your hymnal and try to sing along. Stand there and look fucking bored until he plays Ants Marching. That's what you came to hear, isn't it? All you're doing right now is pissing me off.
Probably the worst case of this was Dashboard Confessional. I was at a show in Rochester when they were just starting out where Chris Carabba came out after his set to sign autographs and take pictures with the maybe 150 people who came to hear him play. My first boyfriend had gotten me into him, and I LIVED for his music (I was in college. I was maudlin. Leave it alone.) A month after I moved to New York, MTV used Screaming Infidelities as the theme song for one of its misguided made for TV movies. And I consequently couldn't get tickets for is next show at Roseland Ballroom because they sold out.
Now don't think me misanthropic. I am happier than anyone that these artists have all found huge commercial success. In point of fact, I'm thrilled. Because I knew their music way back when. I knew them when they were struggling, and I love to see people with real talent succeed (I'm looking at you, Ashlee Simpson).
The thing is, some of the magic is lost when the rest of the world is singing the same tune as you. I don't know why, and I can't explain it, but these last few days I've been walking around listening to Confessions and loving every second of it because it belongs to me and a few select others. It's like having a secret and not wanting to tell anyone.
The weird thing is, the more I think about it, the more I realize how, in a strange sort of way, my wanting to keep this to myself parallels (WARNING: HUGE LEFT TURN AHEAD) the whole argument against gay marriage.
Maybe those who are against gay marriage consider it their very own early release Madonna album (oh, the irony), and want to keep the secret all to themselves. Maybe once everyone else can get married, some of the magic will be gone for them because marriage will be so commonplace.
Or maybe not.
Point is, I don't know what you Bitches are doing for the next week, but I know you won't do it while listening to Future Lovers.


Blogger A* said...

Um hi...
Part of being my husband is SHARING.

And I was totally listening to DMB my junior year in high school which was about the same time you were!

*sticks tongue out and stomps away*

6:24 PM  
Blogger allison said...

That was a really long secret.

And Ashlee Simpson is AN ARTIST.

Snap back.

12:28 PM  

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