Module 4 - Intro To Pop Culture

Posted by Brandon |

Since we last spoke on this blog, big changes have been afoot in the Down With Pants! world. For one, I'm no longer a stay-at-home dad. I started working at a job that made me think about what I'd like to do next. One of the things I decided to do to improve my lot in the working world is finish my BA at Bowling Green State University. I'm only a few credits away, which is awesome, and I can take some classes that are really interesting. One of them is Intro To Popular Culture - admittedly a bit of a fluff class. We have a discussion board and have to post answers to questions each week. This week's were particularly fun to answer so I bring them to you here as well...

1. What was your first favorite musical group or singer, how old were you at the time and what was impotant to you about the music?

From as long as I can remember, The Beatles have been my favorite band. My parents exposed me to their music, their movies and everything that they did at a young age and their fun and humor originally is what drew me to them. They were also my parent’s favorite band and we kind of bonded over them. One reason that they stayed in my life for so long is that as I aged and matured I was able to move into different parts of their career that matched where I was. As a young child I liked things like “Twist & Shout” and music off of their first few albums like A Hard Day’s Night that was faster and less challenging. As I got older I got more into albums like Revolver and Rubber Soul and as a teenager I was fascinated with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band and The White Album. Now, in my thirties, two of my favorite albums are Abbey Road and Let It Be (though I prefer the Let It Be…Naked album that they released a few years ago that is stripped of Phil Spector’s overproduction).

2. What is your favorite musical group or singer today and what is important about the music for you today?

The Beatles are still my favorite band but for the purpose of this exercise, let me divert from them. I have a hard time nailing down my favorite band after The Beatles because it changes from situation to situation, but I’d have to say that there is no band that I listen to more and no band can make me happier or cheer me up quicker than The Shins. They have this great mix of music that ranges from poppy and upbeat and cheery to dark and mysterious to ethereal and trippy. I’ve listened to them on two cross-country red-eye flights while dozing and it always puts me in the right mood. In fact, they put me in the right mood whenever I listen to them no matter what kind of mood I’m in or want to be in. Also, I love singing their songs, which is something I do at the top of my lungs in my car all the time.

3. How often do you listen to music in the day?

I listen to music as much as I can. I take a short break to listen to NPR on my way to work but I turn on music as soon as I get to work and have it on almost the whole day after that. And when I’m at home, except for when we are watching TV, music is playing.

4. What formats do you listen to music....the radio...compact disc....ipod...and why?

I listen to many different formats of music. On a daily basis I listen to terrestrial radio, internet broadcasts of terrestrial stations, online only radio stations, compact discs, my iPod, music apps on my iPhone like Pandora, Lastfm or Slacker. It all depends on the mood I’m in, what kind of music I want to hear, whether I want to listen to familiar music or if I want to listen to music I’ve never heard before or don’t know much about. My iPod is for music I know, online stations are for new music and terrestrial radio is usually for music I know that I don’t necessarily have on my iPod like classic rock or country music.

5. What was the last compact disc that you purchased and when?

The last CD I bought was right around Christmas. I was shopping at Best Buy for gifts for other people and found out that Patton Oswalt (a comedian) had a new CD out. So because I was feeling impulsive and I didn’t have it on one of my wish lists, I decided to buy it. I thought about waiting and going home and downloading it on iTunes but it included a DVD of the show so I thought that was worth a few more dollars.

6. Are compact discs too expensive?

I don’t think that CD’s are too expensive, I think that $12 is actually a fair price for them and I have no problem paying that amount when I do purchase a CD. However, now that you can get the music on iTunes or digitally for only $10 (or even less sometimes on Amazon), I rarely purchase CD’s. Also, since I have hundreds of CD’s, I have hundreds of jewel cases so I prefer digital music to reduce the clutter. So even if CD’s were less expensive, I doubt I’d purchase them more often.

7. What was your first music concert that you attended...how old were you and what impact did it have on you?

Though I’m sure that I went to a concert or two with my parents earlier in life, the one that I remember being my first on my own and of my own volition was The Spin Doctors, Soul Asylum and The Screaming Trees at the Gorge in George, Washington during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school. The Gorge is in the middle of Washington State, hundreds of miles from where we lived so it was also basically the first road trip that I ever took. It was an opportunity to go to a show, see the state and generally goof around on our own. We had a great time though it was also the first time that I realized that music in a large venue like The Gorge isn’t that great. From the distance that we were from the stage to the hours it took us to get out of the parking lot to the unbelievably bad show The Spin Doctors put on, the concert wasn’t worth the hype.

8. What has been your most recent music concert that you have attended....and did the experience have as much of an impact as your first concert?

The last concert that I attended was Ben Folds with the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Ben Folds is one of my favorite artists and hearing him backed up by a symphony was really incredible and reminded me how great live music can be. I think the experience had almost as much impact on me as the first concert that I attended but for very different reasons. The first concert I attended was less about the music than it was about the road trip and independence while this one was all about the music and listening to the music was what really impacted me. Despite the size of Benaroya Hall, it was very intimate and it was easy to make a connection with Ben and what he was singing. In fact, he has a song about his daughter that I’ve heard many, many times and never thought too much about but when he did it at the show and I really listened to the lyrics I started tearing up (I’m a relatively new dad to a daughter myself). Now I can barely listen to the song without getting all emotional.

P.S...We respond to other students answers and one of the other students answered that her first favorite band was NSYNC...at six years old! SIX YEARS OLD! NSYNC was popular when I first attended Bowling Green. I don't usually feel old at 32 - 32 isn't old at all - but her response made me feel incredibly ancient.