Music as a Reflection of My Personality

Growing up I had quite the eclectic taste in music as evidenced by my collection. During the days of vinyl and early compact discs, affectionately known as CDs, I racked up an impressive inventory of popular, soulful, rock, punk, new age, jazz, and every genre in between. My music collection was even admired by the crooks that broke into my apartment and stole my entire collection. Incidentally the crooks broke into my neighbor’s apartment the same day but left my neighbor’s CD collection barely touched. My neighbor embarrassingly stated the crooks had a pretty good musical acumen.

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However, for me my selection of songs always seemed to come from some deep place in my soul. Music, as we all agree, can reach the depths of our souls and provide us some type of haven for whatever emotional experience we are dealing with at a given moment. This is no different for me, thus I’m not saying anything new. But what I do recognize is where my mind is as a given song “speaks” to me. My awareness is critical to understanding things about myself.

I have recognized the hills and valleys of my emotional journey and have come to appreciate and manage through most of those times. So far so good considering my stupid ass has made it this far in life.

When I think of some of the bands or lyrics I have connected with and how they spoke to me I shiver. From my beloved Circle Jerks to the heavenly voice of Yolanda Adams I have experienced a musical rollercoaster – sometimes all within a day. Really? I can go from punk to gospel within minutes? There is something seriously disturbing about this – but at the same time quite interesting.

I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everything

But then again I was thinking about nothing

And then my mom came in and I didn’t even know she was there she called my name

And I didn’t even hear it, and then she started screaming: MIKE! MIKE!

And I go: What, what’s the matter?

And she goes: What’s the matter with you?

I go: There’s nothing wrong mom

And she goes: Don’t tell me that, you’re on drugs!

And I go: No mom I’m not on drugs I’m okay, I was just thinking you know,

Why don’t you get me a Pepsi?

And she goes: No you’re on drugs!

I go: Mom I’m okay, I’m just thinking

She goes: No, you’re not thinking, you’re on drugs! Normal people don’t act that way!

I go: Mom, just give me a Pepsi, please

All I want is a Pepsi, and she wouldn’t give it to me

All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn’t give it to me

Just a Pepsi

Institutionalized – Suicidal Tendencies

What my taste have done is allow me to analyze the emotion I’m experiencing and then make some type of assessment on how to cope. Or it might open my mind to a moment when I should be rejoicing. Even more, the music might give me a calming effect [Music calms the beast] that will get me through the day. It’s all good and it is usually needed for the moment the music presents itself.

I can appreciate having this discernment about myself and the impact of music. Nearly every day I have theme music in my head for how I perceive myself for the day. It’s kind of like the Shaft music but not as cool, nonetheless, just as effective. And in my growth as a human being I no longer feel strange because of my eclectic behavior. I am still learning to embrace this part of who I am – I just need to connect with those who have similar experiences with their musical taste.

Go well and with love good peeps.

I’m In Love with the Coco!

Imagine hearing your young kids, gleefully, energetically and with gusto singing a Hip-Hop song with the title above. Imagine them laughing innocently to the parody YouTube videos showing people drinking cocoa, snorting cocoa, or doing other things with cocoa. Now think about how catchy the tune might be and how it might stick in your mind. Shortly you might find yourself humming and singing, “I’m in love wit da coco!” while you are be-bopping your head like Jay-Z. [Coco Video]

And then you realize what the song is about. And the light-bulb goes on.

Now you think, “Uh-oh.”

This happened to me. However, before I impulsively jumped on the hypocrite bandwagon declaring that all Hip-Hop and Rap music is from the Devil and that our young people are doomed, I caught myself thinking back to my youth recalling songs where drugs were either explicitly or implicitly cited. And lo and behold a number of songs came flooding back into my memory without me having to Google the subject.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll…and Hip-Hop…and Country…etc.

So here is my simple list of songs that came to mind for me:

  • Cocaine – Eric Clapton
  • Got to Get You Into My Life – The Beatles
  • Molly – Tyga
  • Flying High Again – Ozzy Ozbourne
  • Pusherman – Curtis Mayfield
  • White Lines – Grand Master Flash
  • White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
  • Purple Haze – Jimmy Hendrix

And a whole bunch from the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

I am not only familiar with these songs but I know most of them by heart. Some of the songs are older and others more current. There are a variety of genres and artists. And, of course, they are not all Hip-Hop. Drug songs.

Thus, it’s easy to look down on certain classes of people based on our own experiences, but this is one area where we don’t have to look any further than the mirror before we judge. And what is even more interesting is how musicians have been singing about drugs for a long time – even before Rock & Roll. We all have some accountability in this as we have bought the records, tapes (8 track or cassette), CDs, etc.

More importantly, as we get older and have the tendency to frown upon such songs (admit it, you do) and artist we find ourselves recalling the very same type of song from our own childhoods. The conundrum we find ourselves is perplexing – what example are we showing our youth?

In my case, fortunately my kids are still too young to understand what the song is about – although I’m sure someone will blurt it out at some point. I can either get ahead of this potential situation or I can be ready to address it after the fact. At some point I have to address it.

But right now I just enjoy the innocence in which they operate and I wish I could freeze the moment. Heaven knows what I will be dealing with after they realize the nature of the song. Sigh.

Now go have yourself a hot-cocoa and enjoy the music.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Lollapalooza Heads Invasion – Whoopee!

Ah, that carefree feeling to be twenty-something, basking in the sun during one of Chicago’s hippest, coolest and wildest concert venues – Lollapalooza!

While I might feel I am beyond the attending age of such an event I can’t help but think back to my own days of exploration when I would attend various events and get a taste of the culture of the day. However, there is nothing like what is going on this weekend in the Chi, as we Chicagoans affectionately like to call it. Our fair city has been bombarded by folks all over the world to come and see the numerous bands perform all within a handful of city blocks.

And I have to say it…is…A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

Feeling a bit like Scrooge I was hesitant to embrace this event like many others around me; no particular reason except the same as the locals talking about being past the age of enjoyment. Yet, part of me embraces this three-day event and what it means to everyone.

As I walked down the street I was passed by many people of all races, creeds, beauties, and backgrounds making their way to the field of dreams – rock ‘n roll dreams – hip hop dreams – and indie dreams, all in one field. And it excited me. Too cool, I thought.

Therefore, I won’t be the ole fuddy-duddy looking to rush out the tourist and other bystanders that are partaking in the festivities this weekend. While I may not be able to participate I appreciate the sound I heard from my office window and the euphoric feeling permeating in the air.

It isn’t every day that we all get to have feel-good moments in life but I am telling you to embrace them when they become visible. Grab a loved one, a stranger, a pal and dance like nobody’s watching and enjoy the music. I know I will be looking forward to the next invasion and I might even participate.

Loving life.