Ok, you know WHAT folks, we’re keeping this baby light.
I started and restarted this issue like 10 times in the last two weeks. Everything sucks!! Literally everything!! So we’re not talking about current events, we’re talking about pop culture – and nothing court-related, don’t worry. I want to talk about the different ways we discover music.
I was a Tumblr teen, we’ve discussed this. I spent hours scrolling my dash, exposing myself to music that I wouldn’t have necessarily discovered otherwise. Or maybe, it was the passion of those I followed that furthered my interest in the things they were sharing – I wanted to listen to these songs because they made someone else feel so so strongly, they just had to share it.
The artists I discovered ranged from the obvious (One Direction, MARINA, Arctic Monkeys) to the slightly more obscure (Tallest Man on Earth), or at least ones that felt more obscure … remember when The Neighbourhood was underground? But Tumblr wasn’t the only place I discovered music.
I was an annoying kid with unmonitored access to cable in my youth. I thought I was edgy and cool because I watched Fight Club and discovered the Pixies. I knew The Cure through The Wedding Singer. For reasons completely unrelated to my bisexuality, Cruel Intentions was a favourite of mine when I was younger, therefore I discovered The Verve and Bittersweet Symphony.
I have had two major Beatles phases in my life, both times because the boys I liked, liked The Beatles. I do genuinely enjoy their music and have come to like them in my own way, but the main reason I discovered them and dove in the way I did? Romance baby! (It’s important to note here that neither of these boys ever liked me back but that’s fine! We’re fine! Alexa, play While My Guitar Gently Weeps).
My parents heavily influenced the music I listened to and so, as children of the 80s, that decade was in heavy rotation. I had an 80s phase. I devoured Back In… episodes, old VH1 countdowns, Pop Up Video reruns. I was so 80s pilled, from music to tv to culture to literal historical events, I was able to beat my entire family at 80s Trivial Pursuit. Yes, I was that annoying. Still am.
Louis Tomlinson often performs a cover of Catfish and the Bottlemen’s 7, which led me down a British indie, punky, Britpop rabbit hole than ended in caring about Oasis past Wonderwall and Blur past Song 2. Similarly, Harry Styles recently covered Wet Leg’s song Wet Dream (who you probably know from their indie rock hit Chaise Longue) which is now sending me down another British indie rabbit hole which I’m sure will end in some newfound obsession.
I’m thinking about how we find music due to the most recent season of Stranger Things, which has introduced a new generation to Kate Bush, specifically her 1985 hit Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God). Prior to this season, I was vaguely aware of Kate Bush. Her name rang a bell, I could identify her definitive sounds, I had friends who loved her, but I’d never gone out of my way to listen to her. Now, thanks to Stranger Things, I think Running Up That Hill is my top listened-to song this month.
I’d seen a few people joking online about how they need to gatekeep Kate Bush now, that discovering a song so monumental as Running Up That Hill through a Netflix show is embarrassing, but I disagree. I think it’s how culture is supposed to work. We’re supposed to share and learn new things from each other and pass along things from the past to future generations so that they can enjoy them as well. Isn’t music more fun when shared together anyway?
What I’m Listening To:
Paired with: My Year of Grief and Cancellation
This week’s newsletter is brought to you by Tumblr, the website that changed the internet and culture in more ways than we can count. ICYMI’s conversation with Dion Beary, the creator of the Tumblr page “This is White Privilege”, on the ways the page changed both his life and the internet was a really interesting retrospective look on a page I remember seeing on my dash often. I’ve said this before, but I find internet lookbacks to be especially interesting because we can tell so much about society and societal consciousness from what we were doing online.
The episode also reminded me of an editorial from the New York Times from the creator of “Your Fave is Problematic” and how, again, it shaped both their life and the internet. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say YFiP changed the way people think about celebrities and what it means to be a fan. Is there any way to engage with celebrities ethically? Can you enjoy the work of so-called problematic people? As I said, Tumblr fundamentally changed society and the way a generation of people growing up online think and exist and consume media and it’s important that we don’t disregard these concepts as silly, online happenings.
I am once again promoting a podcast I was on. I had such a wonderful time discussing my love (and hate) of Always Sunny with Bree. I’ve said this before, but I love criticizing the media I consume. Makes me feel alive.
Till next time!