21 December 2006

my experiences with mainstream music

(This stemmed from back in December when this girl named Rachel was claiming I was in denial when I said I didn't like Justin Timberlake)

...never really was that great. This is the truth, the real story of my experience with the mainstream, how it nearly screwed my life over, and how I realised how much it sucked. I was first drawn into pop music after hearing "Are You That Somebody" by Aaliyah on Wild 94.9 back in 1999. Rachel, you had better read and believe this, because I am going great lengths to demand that I do not like mainstream music anymore these days.

1999-2001: most of my music came from: Mix 106.5, Radio Disney 1310 AM, KBAY 94.5, KOIT 96.5, and Star 101.3. My favourite music was Aaron Carter, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, N'Sync, Destiny's Child, and whatever the radio played that I forgot. I didn't know any better music at the time. Because I was only in elementary school at the time, I avoided rap and rock music, because I believed those were the evil genres of music that screwed up a youngster's brains. I followed whatever was on those stations' playlists. However, my first encounters with rock came about with pop-rock like Sugar Ray and "light rock" on 94.5/96.5 like Rod Stewart, Phil Collins, and the like. In 2001, I quit listening to Radio Disney, as none of the AM radio receivers at my house really could get the station, and I was out-growing the station anyways.

2002-2003: I was introduced to rap music from Fat Joe's "What's Luv" featuring Ashanti, that played on Wild 94.9. In addition, 94.9 was heavily playing Eminem's "Superman", from his album The Eminem Show I now regard as stale compared to his other CD's. I remember borrowing the unedited version of that CD from the Evergreen Library and returning it a few days later because of all the cussing and stuff like that. Now, I was discovering "new" music from Now That's What I Call Music CD's I borrowed from the Evergreen library. Again, whatever I heard on the radio that attracted me, I wanted it. Current favourite radio: 94.5, 101.3, 106.5, and now comes Wild 94.9 and KFRC 99.7. 94.9 was my intro to urban music, whose artists at the time I like included: (tap tap tap) Angie Martinez, Amanda Perez, N.O.R.E., Snoop Dogg (his new stuff w/Priority Records), 50 Cent, Fat Joe, R. Kelly, [P.] Diddy, Usher, Jagged Edge, B2K, and whatever 94.9 played ad naseum. "Harder" rock music I began listening to included Nickelback, Avril Lavigne, Linkin Park, and blink-182. Apparently, in 2003 I began listening to KFRC 99.7 a lot (back then they played oldeis from the 50s-70s) and my favourite bands from that station included the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Steppenwolf, Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Diana Ross. So you may think it was ironic that I liked both oldies and C-rap, but that's another story. Also in 2003 my new favourite rap included Chingy, Murphy Lee, OutKast, Ying Yang Twins, Lil Jon, and any C-rap that got regular airtime on 94.9. Occasionally I'd try listening to 106.1 and got bored by it.

2004-2005: Around this time, I also was watching old videotapes that my parents had recorded TV from the late 1980's, one had the music video for Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire". It was interesting because of all it's reference's to sports, pop culture, and politics. That sparked my interests in Joel, earlier in my life I'd been listening to his
"Greatest Hits Vol. 1 and 2" on and off with little interest. Still radio-friendly I was. My rock got a bit tad harder as coming into my rock tastes were Good Charlotte, Bowling for Soup, Simple Plan, Evanescence, Hoobastank, Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, Ozzy Osbourne, and whatever generic radio rock I forgot. In addition, my urban music tastes expanded with Usher, E-40, Mac Dre, the Federation, Keak da Sneak, Avant, and many others that I easily forgot. In summer 2004, I travelled to Beijing, China to see family, and with my handy-dandy Sony Walkman with me, I most frequently listened to 88.7 FM in Beijing, which played hit music from around the world. That station brought to my attention pop music from the late 90s/early 00s that I forgot about, such as Destiny's Child and Britney Spears. In addition, that station started my interests in Asian pop music, such as the Taiwanese pop-rock group F.I.R. (????) and others I forgot about. Some European pop music they played also, but I chose not to download those songs. That station also introduced me to Ashlee Simpson, and I borrowed her CD Autobiography from the library and copied the lead singles, "Pieces of Me" and "La La" into my Walkman. However, after I watched that episode of ABC's 20/20 where she admitted that she lip synced on Saturday Night Live and that college football halftime show where she poorly performed "La La", I realised how incompetent and untalented Simpson was, so I deleted all her songs off my computer and Walkman. 2005 was the peak of my conformist music listening, with a summer's worth of 94.9 dominating my tastes in music. By 2005, most of the rock I listened to was classic rock like the Beatles and Rolling Stones or pop-punk like Avril Lavigne, Simple Plan, or blink-182. I also began listening at that time to Channel 104.9, at that time when they were still playing alternative rock, because I heard Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc" on the station, that station introduced me to good alternative rock and real grunge, not the fake grunge band Nickelback! Viva 105.7 became another favourite station, because Juanes "La Camisa Negra" was a catchy tune, even though back then I didn't know any Spanish. That station, along with Wild 94.9's sortof entry into Latino pop, introduced me to Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and other reggaeton/Latino artists. Because KMEL 106.1 played some good songs as well as 94.9, I listened to that station more too. KMEL got me into Damian Marley, John Legend, Slum Village, Kanye West, and other more obscure artists not on 94.9. Thus, by late 2005, I became a total Nirvana fan, deleting all my Nickelback songs from my Walkman and computer and downloading Nirvana's "All Apologies" (live from MTV Unplugged), "Come as you Are", and "Smells Like Teen Spirit". The summer of 2005 also got me into Mariah Carey, my favourite song being "We Belong Together". So by the end of 2005, I was still into mainstream urban music, but now I knew at least something was wrong with the "rock music" I was listening to.

2006: I was browsing for a random pop-punk rock band on Amazon.com and discovered an "Anti-Now" list that criticised the Now That's What I Call Music CD's. (It's now been deleted) I looked through the author's profile, realising how bad Simple Plan, Linkin Park, etc. were. Why, Why WHY??? I asked myself. WHY DID I WASTE ALL THAT TIME AND EFFORT LISTENING TO THESE BANDS AND DOWNLOADING THEIR SONGS? WHY?? Thus, I took action, immediately deleting all songs from the following bands off my computer and Walkman:

  • Avril Lavigne

  • blink-182 songs from Enema of the State or Take off Your Pants and Jacket

  • Evanescence

  • Finger Eleven

  • Good Charlotte

  • Limp Bizkit

  • Linkin Park

  • Nickelback

  • Simple Plan

  • Staind

  • Sugar Ray

I also came to realise that some bands had a formerly dark side, such as Staind, Finger Eleven, and Sugar Ray, which were less sold out. In addition, I downloaded songs from the three Headbangers Ball CD's via BitTorrent. Those three CD's introduced me to TRUE rock music. Now, my favourite bands I discovered from the Headbangers Ball were Killswitch Engage, Hatebreed, Lacuna Coil, Dimmu Borgir, The Black Dahila Murder, Damageplan, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, In Flames, and other bands I'm too lazy to list. In 2006, following the demise of Channel 104.9 on New Year's Day, my rock fixture from the radio was from Live 105 (105.3 to be precise) and 107.7 the Bone. In September, I began listening to the Friday Night Metal Zone on 107.7 to expand my tastes in heavy metal beyond the metal I already knew from the radio stations' regular playlists, such as Korn, Metallica, Black Sabbath (the inventors of heavy metal), Megadeth, and Godsmack. The Metal Zone introduced me to new songs from bands I already knew from Headbangers Ball as well as new bands like Seamless (Jesse Leach's new band after Killswitch Engage), the Red Chord, and Death Angel. I also got to hear the earlier music from Slayer and Anthrax, whose (newer) songs were featured on the 2003 Headbangers Ball compilation. I also realised how bad of a radio station Wild 94.9 was. In the summertime, I listened to that station primarily because of the "Strawberry in the Morning" show, but after the show ended in late August, I gave up 94.9. I don't wanna know whatever garbage that station plays. If I do, I'll puke. Now, my urban radio fixture is from 106.1 KMEL, as well as online from Power 105.1 (New York) and WGCI 107.5 (Chicago), if I wanna dodge KMEL's occasional hyphy song and hear some good MC from the East instead. In 2006, I actively listened to Yahoo Launchcast, which introduced me to underground hip-hop. Now is December 2006, a few days before Christmas, when I've come to be a nonconformist music listener who has realised that the mainstream music business is all the repetitive same scam every time. I listen to mainstream music only as a "torture" device. Still, mainstream might have a gem in the mud every once in a while, but whatever. Check my last.fm profile for my current music tastes.

Well, that concludes it for my long story of my now-regretted experience with mainstream pop music. Rachel, you had better read it and believe that I am radically hater of Justin Timberlake, Ashlee Simpson, and whoever's on the number 1 spot on TRL this week. I hope MTV will fall to its demise while underground, talented music will take over. Shame on you, conformist troubled mainstream music fans.


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