Sunday, January 11, 2009

A matter of taste

Paul Shirley wrote an article on his five favorite albums released in 2008. Who is Paul Shirley? He's a professional basketball player (barely. He is usually the last man on an NBA team and has played a bit in Europe. I'm not knocking him. I think it's great he manages to keep playing. I'm just explaining that he's not exactly an elite level player).

Why does ESPN let him write an article? More importantly, why do they have an article writing about music? I don't know. seems to have less and less about sports every day. Certainly less to read. If I want to watch video, I'm in good shape. But reading about sports....unheard of.

Of course, I read it because it was about music. Shirley noted that these albums about which he was writing were his favorites of 2008 and would likely not stand the test of time. That made me think about my own musical tastes and I realized that for the majority of the time, if I'm going to buy an album, I have to feel really good about it being something I'm going to be listening to next year, in three years, in five years, even ten years. It's very rare that I pick up something because I really like it right now.

Take a look at the ten groups I cited that I enjoyed this past year. One of the nice things about music nowadays is you are able to listen to a lot of music without having to necessarily purchase it. I'm not advocating piracy. I'm saying that there are more options than radio and album. Seven of the ten I listed I bought (or in the case of Stellastarr* received as a gift) their music. The exceptions are We Are Scientists, Sea Wolf and Rodrigo y Gabriela. Those three I'm not convinced I'll enjoy a year from now. Stellastarr*, Michael Tolcher, Tegan and Sara and DeVotchKa I've listened to for awhile. I know I like them. Of Montreal, Amp Fiddler and Airborne Toxic Event are different sounds and as such, have some staying potential.

It's just hard for me to want to cycle through artists each year. I like being moved by my music. Musically and/or lyrically. I like it to stand out and be special. Usually I like to hear multiple songs I like by an artist before I purchase their work. Buying singles is much more conducive now but I just can't bring myself to do that because I like to believe I'll be listening to the song years from now. If I only like one song by an artist, it's probably not going to be the case.

To wrap up, Shirley's top 5 were The Kills, Kings of Leon, TV on the Radio, Santogold and Lykke Li. I listened to all of them this past year and didn't really like any of them. Which is one of the great things about art. People like different things. Hopefully some of you will like some of the things I read or write about or listen to or cook. Maybe you won't.

That reminds of something else. I mentioned last week that I liked reading Joe Posnanski. He wrote today about two baseball players that he views as opposite ends of the interesting spectrum. To him, a guy like Willie Bloomquist is a pleasure to watch. Can play any position. Does the little things well. Seems to enjoy the game. The guy he put at the other end of the spectrum? My current favorite player, Adam Dunn. Walks, strikes out, and homers. Can't play the field. Lots of people say he doesn't enjoy baseball.

I love Dunn. He plays the game his way and he does it in a manner that is probably different from any other player who has ever played the game (and please don't even mention Rob Deer in the same breath. I knew Rob Deer and Adam Dunn, sir, is no Rob Deer). Dunn is a great athlete but people don't see that because he's so huge. He has incredible patience. He knows what he does best and he does it and heck if no one likes it. I do.

Again, I hope you enjoy and if you don't, well, there's tons of other options out there for you.

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