Fuck your favorite genre, music connects people (even though sometimes it doesn’t). I’ve never been down with country music but the couple times I’ve been to country concerts with friends were both crazy good times. Music is as much about the feelings evoked from hearing sounds as it is the melodies and tempo making up that sound you’re hearing in the first place!
My good friend and fellow Pittsburgh-native/avid Star Wars fan Kenzie Rodriguez is a huge musichead who when she’s not playing with her dog Bea or kicking ass at her day job, is probably discovering new music in your favorite genre. Read on for Kenzie’s take on the what makes music and sharing new tunes with friends so damn special.
If you dig what she’s got to say, check out more of Kenzie and a few of her friends at Not My Bog!
matinee bjs and “irony”
I can remember the first CD I ever bought with my own money: Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill”. I kept it under my mattress like a piece of contraband for a couple weeks, terrified that my mother would find me in my room learning about movie theater blowjobs and the incorrect definition of irony. I finally snuck it into my backpack on my way to a sleepover and hacked away at that unholy plastic wrap with the ferocity of a bear emptying a picnic basket. I still love that fucking album.
Before that it was all of my dad’s Rusted Root CDs and Very Special Christmas compilation albums, stacks of plastic that I had begrudgingly listened to time and time again. Spending hours next to the radio waiting for John, Dave, Bubba and Shelly to play Aaliyah’s newest single, feeling victorious if I was able to press record in time to make it mine forever. Back then, music seemed to be chosen for me. The top singles on the radio, my sister’s Wu Tang albums, my radio-ripped mixtapes in piles under my stuffed animals.
My dad’s best friend Mark gave me the nickname KiKiDee when I was a kid, a tribute to the fact that I was always singing in the back seat of my dad’s ’67 mustang. I came into the world singing – well, crying really. A fussy baby I guess. As I grew up it turned into talking, arguing, singing. I don’t even have a particularly good voice – maybe that was the impetus of my mother’s disdain for me. Who knows. Whatever the reason, KiKiDee never shut up, and never stopped looking for music.
Now that I think about it, my entire life has revolved around music though I can’t play an instrument to save my life. My first boyfriend preferred angsty indie music and preformed renditions of Radiohead and Jeff Buckley for me with his loop pedals – he turned out to be a successful music producer, though his taste has changed a bit. After that it seemed like I fell for one douchey guitar player after another. More indie music, then on to hip hop and eventually electronic. Good music was always the binding factor, I couldn’t be with anyone who didn’t have anything new to offer. Music gives me connection. They say guys think with their dicks, I must think with my iPod.
I get a sick sort of validation when my friends ask me to send them new music. I take it very seriously, like the files and links I send them are some sort of reflection of how much I care about them. It’s really amazing how much your taste in music can connect you with someone; it’s as though a song or a playlist can give you a glimpse into where they are in their life. This connection has happened to me a handful of times, and generally not in a romantic ways. I met my friend Bodie from coming into his skate shop in Fort Collins from time to time, and one night ran into him at a Skream concert. We yelled to each other over the music and exchanged favorites for ten minutes or so in the longest conversation we had probably ever had. A few days later he invited me to join this Facebook group, Team Weird, where 150+ friends and strangers from all over the country post and share new music.
People say that a lot of the connection is gone from sharing music. Not many people dig through crates to find the perfect vinyl, bring it home and sit around the record player to pass around a joint. Gone are the days of mixtapes and burned CDs, lending an album to a friend who you know would love it as much as you do. I used to write my name on all my albums before I lent them to my friends, carefully selecting who was trustworthy enough to borrow them and meticulously keeping inventory of my library. It was a ritual. Now it’s all digital; you download a torrent from an unknown somebody, put on a Pandora station and hope that whatever jackass who coded that shitty algorithm was clever enough to give you something new and special.
keep the weird comin’
But I disagree. Team Weird was a strange turning point for me. At first it was just a good reason to go on Facebook every day, but then it turned into something more. A handful of the Weirdos all met up at a concert in Denver one Thursday night. We didn’t talk much, just danced and exchanged introductions. But these friends, and the other few who take the time to send me song or two every once in a while, are dear to me in a different way than many of my other acquaintances. We don’t know much about each other or where we came from, and I’m not sure that we care. We are able to connect on a level that is easy and natural, but really hard to find. They give me access to something really sacred: an album or an artist that they know I will love but may not have ever found in the saturated world of empty garbage music. This is somehow is more meaningful to me than catching up with about who got married or divorced or that bitch at your office that got fired.
As I write this, I realize that I don’t think I can explain how much I look forward to those new tunes in my inbox or on Facebook each day. I guess all I can say is: if you are reading this, you know who you are. Keep them coming.