Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Why I'm difficult

While driving around tonight, I had this insight into why I like some of the bands I do. That is, the difficult, noisy bands like Animal Collective and Fiery Furnaces and whatever. What got me wondering is this new Animal Collective album I got the other day--"Here Comes the Indian." At first, it was almost unlistenable. I know some people think their newer stuff is unlistenable, but this was an older one by them and it is, really, just pure noise--it makes their new stuff sound like, I dunno, U2 or something.

Anyway, I got it and decided that I had to figure out how to like it. I played it in my car constantly, just hating it, just telling myself what awful sounds they were making, but also telling myself that if I tried hard enough, I would learn to like it.

The funny thing is, is that it worked. It's probably my second favorite record by them now. I've decided that maybe it's an ego trip for me or something--that if I can figure out how to like a band that nobody else I know likes, then it's almost like they're my own personal band--they're makin' music for me alone. That bothers me a little to think of it that way because I don't like the thought that vanity affects my aesthetic taste. Or maybe that's the most natural thing in the world. People define themselves by the music they like all the time, and it's common for people to feel like we "own" a certain band; why else would we get upset when one "sells out" and becomes popular?

Maybe that's part of why I like Animal Collective, anyway. The other part is that I like music that surprises you every time you listen to it. Most records that I get into the first time I hear them end up boring me after another 5-10 listens. The "difficult" music tends to be stuff that is imaginative and new and that's where you can find surprise, when it's something you have to use your imagination to dig into it.

Speaking of songs, June is now asking me to sing Christmas songs to her when I rock her before bed, and it's amazing how few of them I know all the way through. Jingle Bells I think was the only one I could recall tonight. I had to go from that to "Doe a Deer" to "Down in the Valley." Quite a mix that makes.

June was at school today being observed by the child devo classes. I spied on her a little--it was all I could do not to go scoop her up, but I knew that that would mess up their observations. It was pretty nice to be able to walk down the hall and see your kid. Too bad there isn't a day care there. I guess we'd need more pregnant students before that happens, and I shouldnt' wish for that.

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