Yesterday I purchased a CD on the basis of two reviews I had read in newspapers over the weekend. I had never heard a track off the album, nor even of the artist in question before Saturday. Yet on the back of a review some noncy journalist in ironic specs dashed off in between cappuccino's I went out and bought it. Who said the press has no influence nowadays?
Some may find this rather troubling, that my music purchasing is based almost solely on what I have heard about an artist, on the spin created by evil record companies instead of what I can appreciate aurally myself. But I disagree. Experiencing and enjoying music, films, books all require some initial outlay before one can judge whether it is to ones liking. We can depend upon reviews for films and books, on dust-jacket blurbs, on the allotment of stars or marks out of ten, on recommendations from friends; but when it comes to music we are instantly wary. Our friends may not be the best indicators, nor a record's position in the charts. Music is hardly a more solitary pursuit than reading (the most selfish and anti-social of interests) so why do we spend so much time determining our music tastes yet will gladly attend a film or a attempt a book one is indifferent about? Why is music so much more personal a choice? Why does music seem to require so much more devotion and passion?
Woah. Totally had a Carrie Bradshaw minute there! That's what happen when you chain-smoke your way around town in the rain on your lunch break, straining to think what to buy your mother for her birthday! Light-headedness! Anyway, the CD in question is Nelly McKay's Get Away From Me which the Irish Times delighted me by saying it was a mixture of Eminem, Doris Day and Randy Newman. And that she is the anti-Norah Jones, which is always a good thing, though I distinctly recall Josh Stone and Amy Winehouse being labeled this recently also and look how they turned out! (Well, look how Josh Stone turned out then.) And look how pretty she is with her lovely yellow curls!
So it was with considerable excitement that I smacked my new CD into the stereo in the sitting room yesterday evening. The first two songs were promising, the third... rap. I know, I know, white girls rapping is enough to send one screaming from the room but this is actually not that bad. Not that as I found that out last night though, as Home& Away came on and poor ol' Nellie was relegated to background music.
'Whats that?' queried Aoife later, as she caught snippets of lyrics through the tears of Hayley's breakdown. 'Did the girl on the stereo just rap about cutting off people's heads?'
Uh oh, I thought as I hurried to switch it off, I cannot let Aoife's caustic tongue spoil this experience for me.
So I listened to it this morning on the bus. And I have a problem. Aoife is going to HATE it. First of all, its jazzy. Like pretentiously jazzy, but in a good way. Aoife hates anything remotely skin to jazz, just the sound of a saxophone sends shivers of loathing down her spine. Secondly, it is politically contentious. Not that Aoife is politically obtuse, but some of these songs are a little...provocative. And then theres the white girl rap. Actually, I suspect Aoife dislikes all rap but this is probably particularly offensive to her. And the lyrics are a little too surreal for Aoife. A little bit Suzanne Vega-folksy actually. Uh oh.
So what can I do? Hide it? Listen to it on the bus or at work? Defy her and play it round the clock in surround sound? Its such a tricky decision. Maybe I could blackmail her into letting me listen to it by threatening to inform the world that her favourite film is... When A Man Loves a Woman! Bwa ha ha ha ha!
Oops. Kinda gave it away there didn't I?
See, Mossy? SEE? This is the kind of crap I come up with when I am put under pressure!!