Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Almost Heaven

Americans have a custom, when they go on dates, of asking each other what kind of music they enjoy. As an immigrant raised in a different cultural milieu, I always found this rather strange, to identify yourself with a particular type of music. What's more, they associate a complex set of subjective values to various kinds of musical tastes, making the revelation of your preferred musical style a deep reflection on your background, education, socio-economic status and life goals. I'm not a musically gifted person, but I know what I like, and that spans the full range of music - from rock to rap, house to classical and country, even Arabic pop. I don't understand Springstein, but the sheer numbers and devotion of his fans tells me I should keep trying. To me, an obsession with one type of music over another is an indication that you haven't been very challenged in life, if you think a person's musical taste is of any significance to the things that really matter. It's the kind of petty mindlessness only poverty, dislocation, or civil war could solve, though I wish none of them on anyone.

Anyway, the following has been running through my head all day, and it may as well be running through yours.

On My Bookshelf