Back in the day I used to visit the cinema, on average, once a week. If I could spare the time from work I would watch two or three films in a day. The same could be said for television, aside from the shows I have no interest in (anything that falls under ‘reality’, The Sopranos, anything that is or resembles Packed to the Rafters), I would keep up to date with everything, whether that meant watching it on first screening or catching up via a DVD marathon.
Given I always wanted to enter this field and I have a massive passion for well written, well produced, original story-telling, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone.
When it came to music I was a latecomer (although I listened to many CDs and artists growing up, courtesy of my father’s love of this medium) it wasn’t until I began travelling and explored my interest in folk/folk-rock did I begin developing a passion for this art form.
By the time I arrived in Australia I was a bone-fide music lover with one of the most insanely eclectic musical tastes of anyone I knew. At the time of losing it my iTunes collection had several hundred thousand tracks across nearly a hundred genres; although the majority of this music would never (unless you travelled to a parallel universe) be considered mainstream.
I never had a hatred of mainstream music it was just something I didn’t connect with emotionally. And for me to truly love something I need to have an emotional connection with it. From time to time I would catch a song on the radio that I would like and make sure I added it to the collection but after a few weeks it would sit on the hard drive gathering digi-dust, never to be played again.
Whereas music from artists that most have never heard of (e.g. Runrig, Serena Ryder, Peatbog Faeries, Salsa Celtica, Malcolm Middleton, Josh Ritter, Paul Mounsey, The Walkabouts) was played with such frequency I learnt every lyric, key change, beat and breath. This was mostly due to these (and other) artists becoming a source of great inspiration for my writing, which given the genre I was writing and characters born from the shadows of society, a mainstream soundtrack was rarely called for.
Now, the majority of the radio shows I listen to fall under news and opinion (Radio National, ABC Local Radio, ABC News 24) and I simply don’t have the funds to purchase music the way I once did. If you were to ask me the last mainstream song I heard, it would probably be Adele’s Someone Like You, which reminds me of the last boarding house I was in; another of the residents would listen to his radio constantly and this song seemed to be played every three or four minutes (quite a feat considering it’s a five-minute track!)
On the occasions I catch music playing in shops my reaction is 95% of the time the same. I find myself overwhelmed with a sudden urge to ram ear-plugs so deep into my ear canals I run the risk of never hearing again. I can’t stand the poor-excuse that passes for lyrics, I abhor manufactured boy/girl bands, Justin Bieber’s hair bugs me, rap is ARRGGHHH and the chances are whatever song you’re listening to will be from an artist that the world will have forgotten this time tomorrow, such is the rotation of shows like The X Factor, [Insert country of choice]’s Got Talent, The Voice and whatever other reality talent shows exist that I’ve never – nor want to – heard of.
So, to say my opinion of mainstream music isn’t very high would probably be an understatement :)
However, there are always exceptions to every rule:
My love of P!nk has been well documented over the years. She is probably the only ‘mainstream’ artist I would purchase on the day of release.
Brilliant, inspiring, admirable, magnificent, [insert positive adjective of choice]
However much the aforementioned song reminds me of a terrible period of my life, her talent is undeniable.
‘Never Ever’ is an eternal reminder of the highs/lows of Adelaide 2007. Possibly the only talent show contestant I rate highly.
But I’m always open to suggestions. Do you have any favourite mainstream artists that are worth checking out?