One of the most rewarding and confounding things about being an Earthling who loves music is watching my tastes change with time, or better said, watching them grow – I don’t think there’s very much music I once loved I no longer do. My first favorite acts (at age 3) were The Beatles, Linda Ronstadt, and The Chipmunks, and I still adore them all today.
More surprising to me is how much I’ve come to cherish music I would have once loathed. 2010 became the year I “discovered” easy listening, both light music (which can be found in Amoeba Music's classical section) and lounge music (which can be found in the coincidentally-named Lounge section).
It all started with a bandleader named Robert Farnon. I was drawn in by his album covers, which evoked lush, darkly romantic landscapes and liaisons reminiscent of a Douglas Sirk film.
Perhaps it was city living that led me to lust for light listening – a kind of escapism from the constant soundscape of waves of traffic, the bling and bursts of cell-phones, and the startling pitch of people’s dreams breaking into billions of bits. For whatever reason, impulsively, I gave an album of Robert Farnon’s a spin while I worked, and found myself enveloped in ease – my imagination drifted into sweet scenes as each suite seemed to sweep me off my feet – I was a fourteen year old girl writing of new, naïve love in her totally boring diary.
This led to other experiments and open-minded excursions, as I began to learn what I wanted and what wasn’t that. I realized, by the mid 1960’s, the “in” sound was out for me – I was hankering for something more saccharine, sanguine and sumptuous – nothing that anyone could ever call “groovy;” I wanted music one would play while looking over mid-century Manhattan from the balcony patio of his penthouse suite while sipping small martinis and smoking a Chesterfield as women wearing long gowns and ropes of pearls made catty comments about “what a wet blanket Bess Truman is.”
This interest of mine has become all the more heightened recently as I’ve been researching movie musicals, with a special focus on those produced by Arthur Freed. These MGM epics of frivolity, with their Technicolor saturation, ornate sets and design, and elaborate cinematography are all somehow enhanced by what is often astonishingly vapid dialogue and characters. Again, all stuff that would have repulsed me a mere five years ago, but today I can’t seem to get enough of.
In other news, I have a f**king cold. My skull is swollen with snot and I wish I were dead. My love to you too, dear readers! Tah!