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Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Retrospective And The Shins

           I have to attribute a lot of my musical taste to some of the earliest musical influences in my life. My dad, being a guitarist and dragging me around everywhere with him, feeding me music, and my mom who constantly played music in the car every second of the day all the time. I remember the first album I ever owned was Kidz Bop 3. I got it as a birthday present from my step brother and sister when I was 5. The only music I remember listening to before that was Toni Braxton, Stevie Wonder, Michel Jackson, and Sheryl Crow. When I got Kidz I don't even know what to say. It was almost like eating an entire bag of sugar. It tasted good for the first few bites, then I got sick, then I got diabetes. Those songs were (and still are) engraved in my mind. I remember singing along to that album over and over and over again. I think my mom might have destroyed it or thrown it out....but that album and those songs were apart of me.
            I don't remember exactly when, but at some point around 6 or 7 years old, I received an album from my dad as a birthday present. It was Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins. The album was a seed. It was embedded in my brain. That album is undoubtedly one of my favorite albums of all time forever and ever. I listened to Chutes today and that's what inspired me to write this. The melodies are amazing and sticky, the musicians are great, the composition is perfect. For me, Chutes Too Narrow beats any other album by any band. Some come close but that album is my holy grail. The only other album that I can say matches that is Surfer Rosa but because I was exposed to Chutes Too Narrow so early on that became my totem.
           For the 5 years after hearing The Shins for the first time, I wasn't really expanding my library much. I wasn't really able too, I didn't understand the resources that were necessary to do so. It was all college radio and whatever my mom decided to play in the car. It wasn't until I got my first iPod and all of these internet streaming services were released was I able to explore and really feel the new music scene. Using The Shins as a base for good music, I looked for matches and came across more and more bands that sounded like them or had elements that were intriguing  Those bands led to more bands, spanning from current music back to Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Elizabeth Cotten, and Pete Drake. I still find amazing music that I've never heard if not daily then weekly. Thanks to the internet.
          Sometimes I think back and wonder, what would've happened if I didn't hear Chutes Too Narrow. I think of all the possible trails that I could've taken and where they would've led me musically. In the end I assume that I would've found my way on the path that I'm on currently. There was too much influence around me not to get me on this track; but to this day, I consider Chutes Too Narrow to be my musical birth into the music scene.

The Shins - Kissing The Lipless

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