Sunday, May 18, 2014


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I've never felt more alienated than when people talk about music, both in reality and in film.

Typically, when characters on-screen talk about their shared love of lesser known musical artists, or artists from a bygone era, it showcases how hip and cool the characters are and allows like-minded viewers to partake in a sense of superiority; as if knowing every Gordon Lightfoot or Joan Baez song by heart makes them more intelligent (that's not a dig against those brilliant artists. It's a dig against hipster jerks who have lost all sense of reality as they bask in their trust-funded Brooklynite mason-jar-filled heaven).

I actually quite like this song, but this is one of the most pretentious movies ever made.

The truth is you can't help what you were exposed to growing up, and you can't help what your soul gravitates toward - snobs and non-snobs alike. My soul always gravitated more towards movies and video games.

So a music snob, I am not.

I like High Fidelity, and because it's about music I find it less grating.

I'm not even particularly musically literate despite having a wide assortment of tastes. I just don't have the mind for retaining the titles of records or songs - even bands. As a result, I've been consistently judged negatively by my peers.

"Wow, you really don't know anything about music do you?" someone once said to me when I didn't know when Greenday first started playing.

I certainly spent some of my teens listening to Elliot Smith and Damien Rice and other angsty artists - and I still love those performers because they are brilliant.  I just never felt a need to seek out obscurity for its own sake (or popularity) and then lord my knowledge over others. Such behavior ultimately comes from a desire to connect and is, at its core, innocent enough.

Most of my time as a child and teen was spent watching reruns of The Cosby Show, Friends, cartoon shows like Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, and playing video games. I'm not even as well-versed in those mediums as some of my peers.

I marvel at the ability of others to retain information about film, television, music, movies, sports and every other aspect of popular culture all at the same time. My peers seem like information sponges - consuming everything from the top 40 to the garage band down the street (I don't even know if garage bands are still a thing), every comic book and graphic novel, every television show, every movie from The Wolf of Wall Street to some straight to video garbage starring the ever-amazing Ron Pearlman, all the while keeping up with sports and even politics.

It's something I've never been able to do on the scale of others - and I have no interest in doing so, not because of a lack of curiosity, but because a lot of things just don't float my emotional boat.

I've always been made to feel (partially by myself) that I'm lacking in some way because of this limited experience or downright disinterest in what's popular or anti-popular. People recommend things to me - particularly graphic novels that don't feature Batman or aren't as popular as something like Watchman - and I never read them. Perhaps it's a failing in me, perhaps it's fine. The point is that just because I tend to prefer reading Batman graphic novels doesn't mean I'm an imbecile.

I'm certainly open to new things, and seek them out in the mediums I admire, but I'm not a sponge. I'm terribly selective and feel like there's barely enough time to enjoy the comparatively few things I do. So perhaps that's why I feel less motivated to read obscure, but excellent graphic novels, or keep apprised of the latest trends in popular fiction or music.

Time is precious. The songs, television, movies, books, sports, and passions we have are precious, and are indicative of our souls. But we shouldn't apologize for this or make others feel inferior for not sharing the exact same preferences.

So, now that you know this about me, here are my top ten favorite songs in no particular order.

I recommend listening to as many of these as you can with your eyes closed, really paying attention to the lyrics and melody, allowing the song to create a world in your imagination.

It's remarkable how some of our favorite songs can take on a new life when we really listen to them.

Empire State of Mind performed by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine

Innocence (Live, Orchestral Version Only) by The Airborne Toxic Event

Crazy by Gnarles Barkley

Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan

Hey Mr. Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan

The Fairest of the Seasons by Nico

Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen

Sprawl II - Mountains Beyond Mountains by Arcade Fire

Ode To Joy by Beethoven

Share your own favorites and come back next time for a new "My Top Ten".

And be sure to follow @MaximusWrestler on Twitter.

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