OA: Samantha Stiles Column November 14, 2008

Bipartisan in beats to hear new music

I’m not afraid to cross the aisle and shake hands with music lovers I disagree with.

I don’t particularly like contemporary country, but I’ll still hear you out.

In fact, I think country singers and Christian artists are some of the best to interview. They’re almost always polite.

I suppose where I was going with this is I think it’s necessary to step outside your musical comfort zone to the place where classic rock lovers can wade into jazzy waters and vice versa.

What I don’t want to do is get stuck on music from one time in my life. I’ll certainly be nostalgic for some kinds of grunge or alternative and indie rock, but I’m excited about where music is going and where I haven’t been with it.

I’m interested to see what direction songwriting goes in with a new political party in the majority and a new president. What will bands write about now that they actually like the president?

So much of past and present music has been politically fueled. If the Democratic National Convention in
Denver was any indication, far more and better bands were supporting Barack Obama.

I’m not particularly interested in lists. In about a month, everyone and their mother will come out with a top 10 bands/CDs/songs of 2008 list. Lists irk me because they always seem so biased.

It’s hard to be objective when it comes to music. Who would really care what I think was the best of ’08?

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, there’s a lot of music out there that I haven’t heard. I don’t claim to have heard it all or have an opinion about it.

However, when I first read about a new book, “1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die,” I thought, “that writer must have done his research.”

Sure enough, music journalist Tom Moon researched music from all genres and across the world to formulate the book and the Web site, http://www.1000recordings.com.

If the book does nothing else, it encourages you to explore new music. To reach across the aisle, per se.

I’ve always thought my knowledge of classical music is lacking, simply because I don’t know where to start. I actually took a class in classical music in college and I still feel ill-informed.

With this book, I feel like I have a beginning point.

If you’ve started your Christmas or Hanukkah shopping early, I suggest buying this book for any and all music lovers in your family.

It just screams, “give this as a gift, the person will thank you.”

Another list that elicited quite a bit of response in The Daily Sentinel newsroom was Rolling Stone
magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. It’s on the magazine’s Web site now.

I’ll spare you the suspense if you can’t get to a computer: Aretha Franklin is No. 1. Elton John is No. 38.

When some people are disgusted and outraged, I see opportunity.

Maybe I don’t know enough about Aretha Franklin’s singing. I better find out.



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