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The Music Sounds Better With Me

I don't remember when or how it started, but all I know is that music has been part of me since I was small. Not only playing and buying music, but being mesmerized by the spotlight and the way a song changes people, but also the influence it has on people. The music made me feel something magical and it still does. Music can bring people together like singing an old school song in the car with a friend or just remembering a different time and place when you first heard the song.

It all began somewhere with the first tape I ever bought was Madonna: Like a Virgin. I made my mom go to the ghetto K-Mart and buy it for me. The tapes were behind this glass case and some teenage employee came and opened it up for us. I listened to that tape everyday on this cheap little cassette player, because I wasn't allowed to use the stereo. I would just sit in the living room or in my bedroom and sit and listen to this tape and another tape my dad gave me over and over and over again. I started taping all the songs on the radio and currently I have over 750 songs on tape and over 1000 CD's.

1986 is the time that is all began to be an obsession, but I know the musical love began around 1984, because I do have memories of listening and watching videos of songs that were popular at those times. In 1986, I was 8 and 9 years old, and that is when I think we bought a VCR. I presume that date because that is when I have the earliest recordings of award shows. I love award shows, always have and always will. Not only for the fact that you can see all your favorite highlights, but you can argue the winners for days. I still have a majority of the music award shows from 1986 to the present all recorded and on tape.

I would be excited days before the show and wouldn't stop talking about it till day after(not even Entertainment Tonight is this bad). I remember always being mad at most of the winners. The good people never won, the people who chose the awards must live in a box all year because they know nothing about music. All the people I never listened to or couldn't stand always won. I think now that I have grown older, I still get mad, good people are rarely nominated and if they are they rarely win.

People like Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Hanson, Whitney Houston, and Puff Daddy win when they shouldn't. And people who deserve more awards than they are presented like Alanis Morrisette, Placebo, The Smashing Pumpkins, Ani DiFranco, Tori Amos, Beck, Armand Van Helden, rarely if ever win.

Another way in which music is integrated in my life is through music videos. Don't get me wrong, cartoons had a place in my youth, but music videos had priorities. I remember sitting in the living room by myself sitting and watching and recording, so then I could later on sit and watch over. I have over 60 tapes of mostly video and live performances. Now my sister and I bond, by sitting down and watching all the tapes. One of our most prized one is when Madonna hosted Saturday Night Live in 1985.

Those are my musical memories of childhood. They are still a part of me and that's' why I haven't erased over them or recorded stuff over them. Music took a different turn when I was around 17 or 18. I started clubbing, which is going to raves, house parties, clubs, whatever. OK I admit I am a club kid. Even now I still try to be up on the scene. I hang around people who like to go clubbing, club hopping, and have a clue what music is about. Dance music is what is played in the clubs, not on mainstream radio. That is what gets me upset also, like dance nominees this year were Cher, Backstreet Boys, and like Wil Smith, which create as much dance as someone in a walker.

The songs that should be nominated are the ones that people scream for when they are at clubs and stuff. People in Hollywood have no clue at all to what people want. They perform they're lame demographic tests that don't tell anything and assume that people like me fit into some generalized category or we are attracted to certain types of television. Well, take a good look at what's on the radio and television, nothing but mostly crap and the radio over plays the same 5 songs over and over and over again. Just in case you were wondering who should be nominated for best dance song of the year, the obvious choices are: Stardust, Mousse T vs Hot and Juicy, Run D.M.C. vs Jason Nevins, Tori Amos, and Daft Punk. Those are the people who really made some hardcore dance tracks.

Dance is for fun, fun to create, but sometimes their meaning isn't too deep. Which brings me to the next monumental musical experience in my life. There are few people who are talented, fewer people who are role models, and fewer people that I look up to. When it comes to idols, there is only one person now who I look up to, Billy Corgan. There is no one in the world like him, he has the power of word and music. You listen to the Smashing Pumpkins CD's and just realize that everything else that is out there is basically garbage. I would read Billy's interviews and he would talk about how he would be depressed and not get out of bed for days and just write. I know what it is like to work hard on something, but to show the world your complete vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and true feelings is something way more and he does it the best.

In October, I met Billy Corgan at a signing at Navy Pier. Shaking his hand and his smile at me were just something I could never imagine happening. It's the strangest experience meeting your idol and actually having them live up to all you crack them up to be.

Someone who is almost as inspiring as Billy is Duncan Sheik. I met him in November. He was a bit nicer than Billy, but still awesome to meet. I talked about this to all my friends. They can probably recite you all the steps including the whole days events. I have pictures and autographed posters from the two artists which I proudly display in my room.

Hopefully music will always remain this strong in my life. Music is something that is so reachable and people use it to mark events in their lives like photographs. As I've grown up, music has been integrated more and more and I've been more exposed to it. I can only hope that the future brings me closer too it.

February 1999

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