Friday, August 10, 2007
Urgency in young music
As I get older, look older, and heck, even act older, the music I listen to is changing: it’s getting younger. And not just in the way the very dazed and confused Wooderson observed of high school girls, the ones who highlight your mortal velocity by merely standing still in their pom-poms. No, my musicians are actually getting younger. And I know why.
When I started choosing my own music as an adolescent, I listened to the blues greats: Muddy, John Lee, Bo, Pop, Buddy (!). Sage old-timers imparting me with lessons hard learned, they bestowed upon me an unearned gravitas. My adventures restricted to the hushed streets of Westmount, I thirsted for something more, grander: something as big as me. And I was unwilling to wait. It wasn’t just me; all adolescents want desperately to grow up. They are ready for life, god-dammit, why won’t anyone take them seriously? For fuck’s sake I’m not a child!
Well, Albert Collins took me seriously. I would lie on the carpet of my room, stuck in there for the night, and listen as he slowly told me about the women he had loved, the whiskey he had drunk, and the cars he had stolen, now that’s OG. And I wanted all of it.
Now that I am no longer grounded, and I look on those years of identity crises with the knowing smile that my parents probably hid from me, my emotional deficits lie in other accounts. I miss the yearning. I miss the drama. I miss the sense that any one moment will define the rest of my life. I miss the complete lack of perspective. I miss the urgency.
But I can find it in music, the music of young people. Their music is all those things and it brings electricity to my grey-suited subway rides.