15 September 2008

More than just music

I purged my iTunes library again this weekend, and it’s the latest in a series of add/delete push-and-pulls between the better angels of my nature.
For now, the musical ranks in my 7.7 GB library are dominated by names like Mozart, Chopin and Wagner. I deleted all of my punk and industrial stuff last night while watching “The Sound of Music” with my wife. I’ve added and deleted these types of songs countless times over the past year, and it seems that they end up back there within a week or so. At first, I thought it had to do with music, but upon reflection, I think it had more to do how I’d like to think of myself. I’d LIKE to think of myself as the kind of guy who would like to spend an evening watching “Citizen Kane” with a glass of red wine. In reality, I greatly enjoy watching “Star Trek” movies while eating pudding cups. I’d LIKE to think of myself as someone who can discuss at length the genius of the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In reality, I’m more at home discussing the differences between punk music from England in the early 1980’s versus hardcore punk from Los Angeles around the same time.
I am a mixture of conflicting impulses. On one hand, I appreciate righteous anger, and how it can manifest itself in a barking three-chord chorus. On the other hand, I’ve been at best hindered by such anger in the past, and realize that it doesn’t have a place in my future. Classical and choral music calms me. It helps me think in a clear, focused manner, and keeps me relaxed in the sometimes-stressful environment of a newsroom. However, there are limits to the moods it can suit. Sometimes, after an angry day, Nine Inch Nails is the only sound that can tame the savage beast within.
This isn’t about music at all; it’s about me being at a crossroads. I can either proceed down the path of the future, or turn around and head back down the dark path I came in on. It’s an ugly, stark choice, but it seems one that begs to be made with any amount of certainty. The two schools of thought are not compatible; they are fighting for dominance, and control. For now, the better half seems to be winning.
With a CD collection, it’s easy to own a variety of things that you might not be especially proud of (Marilyn Manson, ABBA, etc.) because each CD is its own entity entirely separate from a generic whole. With iTunes, on the other hand, whatever is in the library is a reflection of various facets of the listener’s personality. When I look at all of the ugly on it, it reminds me of the ugly I’ve yet to tame.

1 comment:

Heather V. said...

It saddens me that you're never satisfied with yourself. Maybe it's the Catholic in you (I see it in myself a lot), but you need to learn that it's OK to like punk music and pudding cups AND some classical music and Masterpiece Theatre. I mean, really, who's watching? Who's judging?

Consume whatever you like with no regards of how you might come off to the rest of the world! the only person who is living your life is YOU, so you might as well stop trying to be something you're not.