The past couple weeks I’ve found myself uncomfortably stuck in the car with my high school self.
Preserved in the form of an iPod nano (we’re talking generation 3), is my musical taste in transition. Current interests mix with the likes of Fergie, and god help me, Nickelback (just one song, I swear!). In my senior year of high school, I had started updating the device with my rapidly evolving taste, a process that was put on hold with the arrival of an iPod touch,which came free with my new big girl MacBook.
The iPod Touch was the tabula rasa of my young adulthood. Something I could use to erase the terrible pink-loving, show-tune-singing creature that had emerged after 18 years of living in Sequestered, New Jersey. Something that could be electronic proof that I was an acceptable human being.
In college, at least in the beginning, the measure of a (wo)man seemed to be the content of his/her iPod. People hanging out in your room would “absentmindedly” pick up your iPod and in a feigned blasé manner, scroll through your albums. When really the wheels in their head were churning to a rapid chorus of “judge judge judge judge.” And no amount of “Oh there are some things on there I’m not proud of” or “I don’t even know what’s on there, man” could excuse what he/she found. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. Everyone, in their own way, is something of a music elitist. Even you Jason Mraz fans, god help you.
I hadn’t really foreseen strangers groping my music, but I was thankful that I was prepared. And thanks to friends who are infinitely more in touch with the music world than I could ever hope to be, I’m always on the look out for more artists and probably overcritical of most.
But this nano is an enigma. On shuffle, it becomes a medley of Bright Eyes, Gavin DeGraw, Modest Mouse, Maroon 5. Kudos for the Beatles obsession, high school me, but you know that you were waaaaay too into that one Rob Thomas song. And then something like this comes on:
And suddenly I want to go back in time and beat the crap out of my former self, who isn’t a stranger, but is definitely an idiot. I’m not entirely ashamed of my musical taste from that time. I still think Queen is cool. And the Rolling Stones. And “Wicked” was a pretty kick-ass musical. But I look at the person who chose, of her own free will, Aerosmith and Christina Aguilera songs— on two separate occasions, mind you— as her solo dance numbers and have a minor aneurysm. And though a relatively innocent selection on my part, the lyrics were anything but. I mean, really? How…?
It’s funny to think how people can change so drastically in some ways and remain very much the same in others. It isn’t like I knowingly overhauled the lunatic dancing to “Candy Man,” destroyed the evidence and emerged some sarcastic, pseudo emo child. It just sort of happened. Changing of course is a process. Truth be told, the summer after graduation, I forced “In Rainbows” upon myself like a vitamin*. Truth be told, I probably still know lyrics to majority of All-American Rejects’s songs.
It wasn’t like I decided to be a completely different person when I went to college. My proof? I hung up my “Blades of Glory” poster on move-in day freshman year. Which was soon joined by a Will Farrell bobble-head. See? No pretenses of normalcy when a blown up picture of Will Farrell in spandex is around. Though, I did bring a guitar, which I had every intention of learning how to play. All in all, I was the same but unavoidably changing, and in the case of my musical taste (thank god), for the better.
**I’m better now. I really really like Radiohead. Even if Thom Yorke’s dancing makes me nervous.