Friday, October 28, 2011

Still Music To My Ears

On October 28, 2006, I bought my first album: Faith by George Michael. Five years and 172 albums later (as of this posting), music has given my life a definitive soundtrack for all time.

It has only been recently that my taste in music has been stimulated. In my younger years, I wasn't much of a fan of music. Sure, there were some catchy tunes I heard on the radio, but no one song convinced me to buy the artist's/band's albums and build a steady library. And to be honest, I was okay with that until two chance events happened in 2006.

The first occurred when I got my first iPod in early March of that year because, I kid you not, my mom felt sorry for me. She just decided to take me to Best Buy one day after school so I could fit in with my peers because all I had was a CD player. Now, before y'all start egging me on about how spoiled I am, don't. At the time, my mom was trying to raise me and my little sister on a teacher's salary. In California. Where it's expensive. So anyway, she buys me a fifth generation video iPod with 30 gigabytes of memory, the latest model at the time, and it set her back by some $300. Now that I have my first "proper" digital music player, I listen real carefully to 80s radio stations for songs I like so I could download them through iTunes. Back then, I considered myself a "singles" guy. I.e, I would buy individual songs but not the total album. I figured that for 99¢, I could get what I want without the filler.

Fast forward to late October 2006. This time, my father comes out for a visit, and one of the things he gives me is a voucher for a gift certificate worth a certain sum of money via I don't know what to do with it since, at that time again, I never bought anything online without my parent's supervision. Well, I bring that up because one of the songs on the radio I heard that intrigued me was "I Want Your Sex" by George Michael. Now, before you start calling me "Randy", don't. I liked the song for it's monogamous message and R&B influences, but I couldn't find it on iTunes because Faith wasn't on there at the time. (So much nostalgia, I know.) With a gift certificate in hand, I could now buy a physical copy of a CD that I wanted. And in later years, that proved much cheaper and more convenient than just a digital download.

How I've bought my albums came in three different stages. From late October 2006 through mid July 2009, I primarily bought my albums through via CoinStar using all the spare change I'd save over the previous school semester. It was my personal treat in mid December and late May every year, and I would buy albums in bulk. I would go without getting any new music for months, then one day, half a dozen albums or so would be coming in the mail for me. For nearly two years afterwards, from July 2009 to July 2011, I primarily bought albums in person. The purchases were far less sporadic and most of the times, I'd either go to Walmart or F.Y.E. for new music, though I still saved up some change to get some out of print album through Amazon. And just recently, from July 2011 to this day, thanks to the handy 1-2 punch of eBay and PayPal, I can get even better deals online without having to save my back pocket change every day.

I don't mean to bore y'all with details, but I feel this timeline is important to document the route I've taken in establishing a new favorite pasttime.

But enough about me. Let's get to the good stuff where I disclose some personal favorites. You want it, you got it!

As I've mentioned earlier, I love the pop music of the 1980s. I have eclectic tastes, ranging from British New Wave to American smooth jazz to French pop (see "More Than A Pretty Face"). My favorite contemporary musicians are The Fray and Coldplay, whose latest album (Mylo Xyloto) I finished listening to for the first time yesterday.

To cap it off, my top ten favorite albums, as of this posting and in no particular order, are as such: Body & Soul by Rick Astley (1993, RCA), Time, Love & Tenderness by Michael Bolton (1991, Columbia), All That Jazz by Breathe (1987, A&M), Thriller by Michael Jackson (1982, Epic), Dangerous by Michael Jackson (1991, Epic), Robbie Nevil by Robbie Nevil (1986, Manhattan), The Dream of the Blue Turtles by Sting (1985, A&M), Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears (1985, Mercury), The Warmer Side of Cool by Wang Chung (1989, Geffen), and Make It Big by Wham! (1984, Columbia).

Feel free to drop a line about your favorite artists, albums, or how you got into music, too. Don't make me face the music alone!

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