Anyone who knows me knows that I have a…shall we say, eclectic taste in music. From rock to jazz to electronica to bluegrass, my collection may not be deep but it certainly is wide.
One thing I’ve discovered, especially through being married to someone who doesn’t share some of my musical tastes, is that although we can agree on what she (and most people) call “relaxing” music, my personal view on that is a little different.
The common cultural view is that some nice jazz, perhaps an old-school rock ballad, maybe some smooth R & B, or even some Jimmy Buffet, along with a glass of wine at the end of the day can really take the edge off.
Ignoring that fact that wine’s out in my case, my current choice of “unwinding” involves a band called Meshuggah. I’ve gotten two of their albums: 1995’s Destroy Erase Improve and the 2005 concept album (for lack of a better term) Catch 33. Best I can do to describe their sound: imagine flooring the gas in a 1000-hp dragster with no mufflers, no ear protection, being beat over the head with a jackhammer, and having the car’s crew chief screaming in your ears from time to time.
The Wife doesn’t understand what I see (or hear) in this “music,” which is why it generally gets skipped over on the iPod when we’re in the car together in favor of Elton John, Mike + the Mechanics, or Pat Metheny.
Seeing as how she’s a student of sensory development (more on that some other time, I’m sure), I think I’ve gleaned enough from her book learnin’ to get an idea of why this is relaxing to me. Life piles up on me (indeed, on all of us!): bills, work, responsibilities, schedules, idiot drivers (you know who you are…or maybe you don’t!), and all manner of stupidity from Washington DC, Sacramento, and the local government. I’m overloaded, as are most of you. And most people choose to return down the easy slope of placid music, enjoying the blue skies, fields of daisies, and happy skipping bunnies in the grassy fields.
I, on the other hand, take that last step or two up the mountain, and then fling myself over the musical cliff to land in the vast pile of dirt, rocks, and bits of jagged metal that lie on the other side. Of course, I’m still speaking metaphorically; don’t go looking through my closet for the whips and chains. I’m not one of those.
Mostly I’m fascinated to see where our son ends up on the musical spectrum. He enjoys the typical two-year-old staples of Elmo and other kids’ CDs, along with Kim Hill and Celine Dion. But I still take pride in that one of the first songs he sang along with in the car CD player was the Foo Fighters’ “Best of You.” Where will he be in fifteen years? Stay tuned…