Tuesday, October 05, 2010

When You Can't Find a Friend, You've Still Got the Radio

I wonder sometimes whether young people today have the same kind of relationship to music, particularly to the radio, that I did in my teens. I was a smart, non-athletic, bookworm, comic nerd, who didn't have a lot of friends. My parents divorced, which scandalized some people in our small town, and resulted in us moving away for a while to a bigger town where I really didn't fit in. On top of all that, I was gay and couldn't even begin to admit it, although there certainly were more than enough signs that only I could see.

For a lot of that period of time, my main companions were reading and music. I know for sure that's why I can't begin to imagine getting an e-reader of some kind. It would be like rejecting one of my best friends. Part of the comfort of having a book with me has to do with the spine and the pages and the paper. It may be why the mp3 player has never totally caught on with me as well. There's something about buying and having music in a physical form (at least as "physical" as a CD can be) that is really crucial to the whole process for me.

Back to the initial conjecture, with so many avenues to obtain music these days and with so many huge media conglomerates setting the agendas, is the radio as important to lonely teens these days? On the one had, I think the increased means of access to an ever wider variety of music is a great thing, but does that make it harder to find the stuff that really touches you in the way that only music can sometimes. Is it possible any more for music to be more than background nose to our lives? With a hundred different avenues clamoring for your attention, can you find the one that can be your friend?

I'm not sure what the answers are. I'm not even sure if it matters, but every time I listen to this song, I think about this. I was really wanting to use the version of "Wall of Death" that included Nanci Griffith yesterday, but couldn't find it on YouTube. However, I did set off down a wonderful lost hour of watching Nanci sing. There may be a million ways to acquire music these days, but it is good to know that some of them can still have meaning for me, if no one else. Enjoy.

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