This Is Sound: Track 1

This Is Sound: Track 1

By: James Cassar

I was six. I lived in Michigan at that point; the American mitten was my home, the place where all blessings flow. Or at least, where my parents drove me reluctantly to Chuck-E-Cheese’s to frolic in the Technicolor ballpits of my wildest dreams. The titular mouse wasn’t animatronic, the pizza was actually fresh, and I had digested my first soda – although I called it ‘pop’ due to my Midwestern heritage. That was the day my best friend bought me a double-whammy of oversaturated boy-band gold: N*SYNC’s sophomore slump No Strings Attached and Backstreet Boys’ Millennium. Equipped with a brand-new Philips boombox that still resides in my room, my obsession with music began….with the most humble of beginnings. I think.

I blame my sister Kristi for two things: making me clean her room and breaking me free of my obsession with those factory-manufactured crooners (sans Justin Timberlake, the one with real talent). Sure, the prizes were cool – I scored a couple neon key chains and a laser pointer that I got confiscated by my concerned parents after I starting blinding people in church. It wasn’t until I was eight that she changed my perception on the auditory nerve. Now, that’s what I call music!
Check this out: This bad boy right here was my pay for cleaning a rather stubbornly-messy edition of Kristi: The Bedroom. This is one of Weezer’s eponymous albums, referred to in audiophile circles as The Green Album. This 2001 record was one of the reasons I started idolizing those donning guitars instead of Spandex. It was a full-on, full-force 180 into the world of rock – the rapidly evolved into subgenres of emo (sorry, My Chemical Romance, not you), hardcore, indie, and the delicious sounds of pop-punk, sounds only a true 90s child could appreciate.
When I received my first iPod, a measly two-gigabyte fresh-off-the-shelf iPod nano in the sixth grade, I was a Green Day fanboy (I drank my Haterade this morning, bring it on!) and was extremely close-minded in regards to what the music world had to offer. That was until I discovered the magical combination of Sharpie and blank CD. It was like Yoda instilled his inverse syntax on me liberally. “Expand your horizons, you will.” And so I did.
Taking a glance at my beloved iPod touch, firing up the processor in shuffle mode: Motion City Soundtrack, Hall & Oates, Queens of the Stone Age, Elliott Smith, Nas, The Go-Go’s, Metric, Tiesto, The Moldy Peaches, MGMT, Tyler the Creator, Tegan & Sara, Sublime, Bright Eyes, Alexisonfire, We Came As Romans, and Morrissey. That’s a genre-bending collection that isn’t limited to Drop-D guitars and wild hair; I listen to a variety of genres, even society’s Transformer-booming dubstep and the saccharine sentimentality of Katy Perry. This is my column, after all. It’s my show. Prepare yourselves. Take a ride on the wide musical spectrum of your bespectacled, sarcastic best friend typing this in Lab 400. This is music.
This is Sound.