Friday, August 8, 2008

Music is food

By MELODY STONE, The Eureka Reporter
Published: Aug 5 2008, 2:30 PM
Category: Arts

Last week while I was preparing my article about the upcoming music festival OutLaws and Angelz in Garberville, I urged a co-worker to check out one of the headliners, Mystic, on MySpace. I said it might change her mind about her decision not to go.

Mystic reminds me of Atmosphere/Jem/Lauren Hill: soulful, deep, musically interesting, all things I enjoy in music.

When my co-worker finished listening to Mystic, she said, “I’m surprised you like her. I didn’t know you liked hip-hop.”

Honestly, this irked me a little. It’s not the first time someone has assumed I’m in a musical-taste box.

I enjoy a variety of musical flavors.

When I’m deciding where to go for dinner, there are comfort foods for when I’m feeling chill and stressed. These are foods that soothe my soul. I can always go for sushi or Chinese food.

I would compare these foods to my musical staples: calm, acoustic, melodic, indie rock. When choosing what to listen to after a hard stressful day, I lean toward Iron and Wine, Josh Radin, and The Ian Fays.

On the other hand, there’s Mexican food. My taste is far more selective in this genre. For instance, I dislike guacamole, sour cream, shredded beef, soggy tortillas, beans, shredded lettuce, chilies and enchilada sauce, so for a long time I avoided going to Mexican restaurants.

My feelings about Mexican food are much like my relationship with rap/hip-hop. I don’t like music that lacks a melody; glorifies sex, violence and drugs; and to which I can’t sing along.

So initially in my musical journey, I avoided rap/hip-hop with a few exceptions along the way.

Recently, I discovered a few very important and delightful things: pico de gallo and shrimp tacos. I love the little tacos; I love them so! They lack all the things I hate and incorporate flavors I love. So give me a margarita, chips and salsa, and a couple of shrimp tacos, and I’m a happy camper.

The same goes for rap/hip-hop. I guess I started with stuff like DC Talk and Will Smith (way back in the day), and there were songs on mainstream radio I fancied, but recently I’ve discovered more and more hip-hop and rap groups I can fold into my heart, right next to sushi and Iron and Wine. Anyone who reads my column knows my love affair with Flobots, and I’ve been enjoying the new “Atmosphere” album, although it’s a little too heavy for casual listening.

To continue my food analogy, if music is food, then mainstream radio is HomeTown Buffet. Sure, you get a lot of variety, but to get truly fresh, unique flavors, sometimes you need to visit those hole-in-the-wall places only frequented by locals. Although I do love some Olive Garden every now and again, meaning I’m not opposed to a good pop song here and there.

My musical journey progresses, just like my taste buds have changed over time. I’ll keep listening and tasting and building my personal aesthetic.

Tell me about your tastes at mstone@eurekareporter.com or 707-269-7347.

(Opinions expressed in columns are not necessarily those of The Eureka Reporter or its staff.)

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