Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reminiscing About the Not-So-Distant Past....

From time to time, I like to think about eras of music in my own life. This is one of the primary reasons I make mix CDs - a time capsule of that period of my life to save for the future to later revisit. Music instantly sends me back to a time period which is probably why I have been music obsessed all of my life. It has a way of transporting you, which I'm drawn to.

Recently, I was thinking about the music I was listening to/getting into when I was in college, at an art school in Chicago. Much of the music and the imagery in the music videos fueled my artistic aesthetic and are largely responsible for my creation process at the time.

It's nice to go back to these after about 6 years now because it helps be remember what I was like, what inspired me, and how it now re-inspires me.


I first saw this video on local Chicago's JBTV and was hooked instantly. I loved the video, the retro-sound, the slight Motown feel yet so of-the-moment.

I went straight onto Amazon and bought this CD and then spent the next 3 months listening to it on repeat.


I had a crush on the guy who told me about this band in college (who's now a drummer for a relatively successful gritty, garage-rock/punk-influenced Chicago band.

I'm pretty sure he's embarrassed now to have ever liked them, but hey - we all have those bands. I'll admit that I only like their first album for the raucous energy, genuine musicianship, and overall "new" sound to my own ears. Their following albums just sounded like they were trying to capitalize on the success of Silent Alarm, though it may have honestly been a genuine effort for them.

I listened to this album constantly because it reminded me of him, classes we sat next to each other in singing Kinks songs during the class, working on projects, and geeking out about music in general.


This song is more 2004-ish for me, but I loved the imagery of this video and even borrowed some ideas of it for a menswear inspiration board I made in college. I also have memories of me and one of my best friends, Ahmed, going up to the glass window of Q101's radio station headquarters (which was in part of our school) and requesting the female DJ to play Franz Ferdinand's "Do You Want To" by scrawling it on a piece of paper and holding it up. She announced our names on the radio -"Nicole and Ahmed" and we freaked out, prancing through the hallways, listening to it on his mp3 player with a radio and dual headphones. So ridiculous and so much fun.


Yet another song I borrowed imagery from at one point or another. I remember seeing this video on MTV before getting ready for school in 2004. This is also around the same time I was listening to less and less radio, gradually forgetting about radio altogether in 2006, though I probably should have quit long before that. MTV was still playing halfway decent songs on their college radio station called MTV U. I think this was also around the time "college rock" began being referred to as "indie rock" and thus, a new generation was born.


Yes, this song was inescapable - but I couldn't help but like it. A friend of mine actually sent a link to this song to me about a year before it blew up, so a year later when everyone was freaking out about it, remixing it with Kanye West vocals, James Blunt covering it, and the like - I was, like a typical hipster, already "over it".

Only now can I actually listen to this song, thinking of it in it's original context and nothing else that went along with it. But that's what happens with good songs; people want to be all over it and ride the wave along with it.

And there you have it - just a small sampling from my large collection of songs from 2004-2006 while I was in college.

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