Have you ever fallen in love with the artist before the art? I'm sure it's happened to me before, but I'm struggling to remember when. Even movie stars trick us -- we're not really falling for Johnny Depp. (That comes later, after the interviews and photo spreads and fedora hats.) First we fall for Edward or Jack or, heck, even Sweeney. After all, actors act. We're supposed to fall in love with them. Without it, they have no career.
And musicians . . . goodness knows there are some major uggo rock dudes scoring with the ladies. Even my particular musical crushes -- Thom Yorke being the best example -- are, well, weird. If Thom weren't pouring out his soul into beautiful music, I'd probably be like, "What's up with that guy? Is he okay?" But because I love his music, I love him. Passionately.
So I have a new love. Or an almost-love. A growing love.
When Coldplay first appeared on the scene, I dismissed them. To my ears, they were a radio-friendly version of Radiohead. And what was the point of that? I already had my Thom -- complex and moody and just the way I like him. Then the fabulous Garden State soundtrack came out, and I was like, "Well, that's a pretty good song. But there's better stuff on here." And then "Clocks" was a big deal, and I thought, "That's a neat hook." But that was that.
And then I saw them on Austin City Limits.
And there's no other way of putting it -- I was dumbfounded. THIS was Coldplay?? Chris Martin had this energy, this charisma, that I could have never imagined. I watched the whole thing, mesmerized, and even Jarrod (who found them bland) stood by in shock, taking in several songs.
Check out the video for "Talk" here, if you don't believe me.
My interest rose. I started picking up their albums, here and there, but found my liking was still tentative, conditional.
But then this. The current Rolling Stone. Have you seen it? I know, I know. Rolling Freaking Stone. Not exactly cutting edge. But they give a good interview from time to time, and there's usually an interesting news story tucked in the back (Fast Food Nation started out as a RS article).
The cover caught my attention -- Hello, Sgt. Pepper -- so I flipped through it to get a taste. And once again, Chris Martin surprised me.
The interview was incredible. Funny, intelligent, inspiring. Self-depreciating. With each question, my respect for him leaped and bounded. By the end, that was it. I was a fan.
For the past week, my stereo has been playing their whole oeuvre. Eight years later, and I finally understand the love of "Yellow." But it was THE ARTIST, not the ART, that got me first. And that's strange, right?
From the interview:
"What's the point of being negative? Where does that get us? It gets you your own radio chat show, but it doesn't really do anything for the world."
"The bad songs come from me and my knowledge of how to write songs, and the good ones come from somewhere -- I have no idea where. And they tend to be flying around at about 2:00 in the morning. You just have to be there to catch it . . . no one can tell me where the melody for 'Strawberry Fields Forever' comes from, because it would have just come. I bet John Lennon didn't design it. Still, you can hear the demo of it. It's OK. It's an acoustic thing. Then it turns into 'Strawberry Fields' somehow. That's where hard work comes in."
"You've got to be hungry. If your wife went out with Brad Pitt, you'd want to prove yourself, you know what I mean?"
"Our relationship with Radiohead is a funny one -- we were kids when they got huge, and obviously we stole a lot from them in our early music. Sometimes I feel like they cleared a path with a machete, and we came afterward and put up a strip mall. I would still give my left ball to write anything as good as OK Computer. I would become a eunuch just for 'Paranoid Android.'"
"The first time I ever sang in public was in a school concert when I was 11 . . . I remember these two girls came up to me afterward and said, 'We heard you singing,' and then they both giggled and ran off, as if to say, 'It was shit.' And my whole life has been that day repeating ever since."
Speaking of music, I'm having all kinds of luck lately. I love how just when I think I'm sick of everything out there, dozens of new artists or songs come knocking on my door at once to prove me wrong. Lots and lots of new (to me) stuff in rotation. Some of my favorites:
"Is There A Ghost" -- Band of Horses
"Hermetico" -- Balkan Beat Box
"Besoin De Rien" -- The Hellboys
"Smoke Detector" -- Rilo Kiley
"Start Wearing Purple" -- Gogol Bordello
"Paranoia in B-flat Major" -- The Avett Brothers
"Leave Your Bourbon On The Shelf" -- The Killers
"I Didn't Like You Anyway" -- The Donnas
"Daughter" -- Loudon Wainwright III
"Mister Driver" -- Plasticines
"Whole Wide World" -- Wreckless Eric
"Daydreamin'" -- Lupe Fiasco w/Jill Scott
"West Coast" -- Coconut Records (Jason Schwartzman)
"Southside" -- Common w/Kanye West
Also, how did I not know about Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova's The Swell Season? If you enjoyed the Once soundtrack, check it out. Not to mention Glen's band, The Frames. I'm LOVING "Pavement Tune."
And the new Sigur Ros (Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust -- whatever the frick that means) is woooonderful! Happy happy joy joy!
Now, to bring things back to my One True Love (apart from Mr. Husband, Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Depp, naturally), I found this on NPR's website:
Thom Yorke, guest DJ.
WOO HOO! Cool music plus a nice chat with Thom (who is in good spirits and seems to genuinely enjoy talking to the host).
The world is beautiful when you're in love.