The Elephant In The Room: Eclectic Taste -or- Ears Filled With Wax?

If you like everything you don’t like anything. This is a paraphrase of something Jane Font (“Daisy Jane” Font, former co-host of the internet radio program PROG’OPOLIS) said back around 2005. This comment and the view it expresses was not at all new to her but was something I had either never heard before, of if so, never given any thought to. It has bounced around in my head ever since. Jane Font was criticizing music listeners who had no discernment whatsoever and simply liked whatever was playing at the moment. Was or am I one of them? Is my musical taste all in my mouth?  My recent qualified-semi-positive review of parts of ELP’s LOVE BEACH have helped me sketch out these demi-thoughts.

Almost everyone I know likes to flatter themselves with the statement “I have very eclectic musical tastes.” Well sure…everyone simply likes what they like. But the question is can you like too much? Can one be too catholic, too accepting, and too receptive?

I love Prog. When I say prog I mean not just the traditional “old school” progenitors such as ELP, King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, and Jethro Tull, but also second wave bands such as Marillion, Arena, Flower Kings, and Spock’s Beard. I also love the newer and current crop.  (okay, here comes the list)

But I also love British new-wave/new romantic, and synth 80s bands (Thompson Twins, Flock of Seagulls, OMD, Tears for Fears, Spandau Ballet, ABC, etc. etc.) as well as: NWOBHM (Saxon, Priest, Tygers of Pan Tang), Retro space-age pop (Bob Thompson, Esquivel, Martin Denny, The Three Suns, Les Baxter); Traditional Country & Western (Cash, Waylon, Willie, Buck Owens, Marty Robins); Swing Jazz (Artie Shaw, Duke, Count, Goodman); classic pop-rock (Abba, Bee Gees, Raspberries, Three Dog Night); Space/Sludge/Psychedelic (Sabbath, Hawkwind, Motorhead); Classical (Bach, Mozart, Mahler, Vaughn-Williams); Surf-Rock (Ventures, Madeira, Insect Surfers); Jazz-Rock Fusion (Miles, Return to Forever, Weather Report); R&B/Funk (James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Parliament); Celtic (Clannad, Silly Wizard, Bothy Band); whew………

And while some may take this (not even scratching the surface) list of music that I like as mere scattershot “name-dropping” or boasting it’s anything but.

I love good music (“cue” Duke Ellington’s line about the two types of music). My Dad would play his monster stereo console (big as desk) all the time when I was a kid. I heard everything from the Harmonicats, Sinatra, Strauss, and Jim Reeves, to Polynesian instro and Al Hirt.

And then in my late teens I became a record buyer. Though I came to rock music a little later than my peers that type of music took preeminence!   Other kids bought fast food, pop, beer, and clothes while I bought stereo LPs.

Music has affects. Music may not be an aural SSR or a sonic tryptophan but it truly impacts ones brain and emotional centers. Ray Bradbury once wrote that old photos are time machines, but so too is music. When I hear a Moody Blues tune or (fill-in-the-blank) I am many times transported back to the first time I heard the song including the people, scenery, and feelings that were there. I can’t hear King Harvest’s ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ and not be transported to the car of Mike & Greg driving around Fort Wayne, IN after a Senior High Friday night Football game, or ELO’s ‘Do Ya’ which takes me to a dark, melancholic “lost-love” imbroglio.

Music is powerful stuff. Good music is not only entertaining (dancing, parties, and road trips) and fun but also ennobling, uplifting and at times nearly transformative.

So, while Jane Font is probably correct that if you actually do like EVERYTHING (not hyperbolic but quantitatively and literally EVERYTHING) than you’ve got some problems. But if you are blessed (thanks Dad) to have an appreciation for tons, and gobs, and mountains of musical genres, types, styles, and kinds…especially when Prog holds a prominent position (c’mon: Pink Floyd’s Animals, Genesis’ Selling England by the Pound, and Big Big Train’s Full Electric) than all is well in your search for Lost Chords. You have found or are destined to soon find your own (n)EVERLAND.

Mellotron set to 11 

p.s. Thanks to my son I even like some DMX and Eminem

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