I think a lot about music. In my mind, that’s the difference between someone who merely enjoys music and someone who loves music- thinking about it when you’re not even hearing it. I’m jealous of people who have the ability to actually make music because they almost certainly get more out of music than even I do. And I really love music.
That’s why I’m so disappointed in people who, to my ears, have such vanilla music collections. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with specializing or simply knowing what you like; I’m actually a little embarrassed about the genre column in my own iTunes, straying as little as it does from the words alternative and rock (the only dissidents being metal and the occasional blues and folk; not exactly the United Colors of Benetton here.)
No, what I mean by a vanilla collection of music is that there’s something vital, something virile, missing from it. Their playlist stands on its own, for sure, and is even frequently enjoyable. What’s missing, however, amidst all the Jack Johnson or Norah Jones or Jason Mraz is a certain something, a crucial ingredient, I don’t know, help me out here, maybe, for lack of a better term…
Zack de la Rocha.
That’s right: Zack de la Rocha. And I don’t mean literally, although it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to once again hear Mr. de la Rocha’s vicious scream tearing asunder some pillar of capitalist greed. For the unaware, Zack de la Rocha is the lead singer for Rage Against the Machine, the band with the most transparent name in the history of bands, and the background music to my teenage days of smoking illicit (every kid’s favorite brand) cigarettes and lighting things on fire. What I miss when I’m inadvertently falling asleep to someone else’s novocain CD collection, or listening to the radio for that matter, is that occasional injection of teenage angst, the abject anger of our youth that sure as hell better be bubbling right beneath the surface in all of us, the spirit of outward rebellion that we seem to abandon the very second we get our first real job or begin dreaming about owning our own home or thinking in concrete terms about “the future.”
I feel like people just aren’t pissed off enough, and it shows in the music they listen to. That’s cool if you just want to chill on the beach with your dog and a six pack of Corona Light and wait for the next set of stellar waves, but don’t you want to get up off the sand every once in a while and kick a white person in the nuts? I know I sure as shit do.
Of course I don’t actually do it, but that’s where listening to the kind of music that causes car wrecks comes in. It’s a release. Maybe all you Norah Jones fans have really good drugs or a secret underground fight club that gets the job done for you (or maybe your everyday life is raging enough without your music fueling it further,) but I need music to help me get it all out. Plus, if I’m ever feeling a little too good about things I have Zack de la Rocha or Phil Anselmo* or Jello Biafra** or pre-1990 James Hetfield*** to set me straight by reminding me that there’s a whole lot of shit out there to be pissed off over, so let’s scream about it together.
But no more cigarettes. They’re bad for you.
*Pantera, **Dead Kennedys and ***Metallica.