I’m hard to please.

Musically, that is.

I just spent a lot of time listening to the music of a new-to-me musician named Sufjan Stevens.  I mostly like his stuff, but not entirely.  I mean, I like it, but it doesn’t cause the joy of perfect music to rise up in ne and fill my heart with delight.  If I were to buy a CD of his, I think it would be Seven Swans.  But, I’m probably not going to buy it any time soon, and since I do not hint, that’s not any kind of hint for any of you who know me IRL, and who might be thinking that I’m hinting, since it’s close to Christmas.

My problem with music is that I tend to like things that are not really mainstream.  There is something that grates against me when I hear slick, polished, hyper-produced, smooth-yet-characterless popular music.  Yet, I get annoyed by musicians whose music screams, “Listen to how weird I am!!!!  Aren’t I simply UNIQUE????  Listen to my dischordant bits and my lyrics that purposefully make no sense!!  I am SUCH an ARTIST!!!!!”

I also tend to like guitar-driven stuff.  But, I must be getting to be an old fogie because too much of the punkish music that I’ve liked forever sounds like a bunch of 22yo guys whining immaturely about something that’s happened to every other guy on the planet, and probably said better by 1000 other bands before them, of whom they’ve never heard, because they’re unaware of their own music’s roots.

We saw a guy on Austin City Limits on Saturday night;  I almost really liked him.  His name sounds decidedly Italian (Paolo Nutini), but his website’s bio insists that his family has been in Paisley, Scotland for “at least” four generations.  I have some dissatisfaction with ACL’s decision to forego its American Roots Music focus, and now featuring non-American, non-“rootsy” music, but I guess that’s not Paolo’s fault.  Also not his fault is that I also have an immediate distrust of musicians who are young and cute.  Why is that?  I’m not sure.  I guess it’s because, as hubby and I were talking last night, after seeing a commercial featuring Beyonce, too many musicians exploit their physical attributes, which end up getting more attention than their music…    


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 26, 2007, in Music, Scotland. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hello.
    I have no idea who you are; I stumbled across your blog, through links, from Mike Goolsbay’s at Destiny Church in Tulsa.
    Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how much I enjoyed this little post because I agree with it so much I was actually laughing out loud.
    I have a friend in Chicago who goes on and on about Sufjan Stevens but nothing I’ve sampled really grabs me…yet.
    I woke up out of a deep sleep in my recliner one night to see Paolo Nutini singing on Craig Ferguson’s show and it blew me away…it was just him, acoustic guitarist, and drummer, and he was singing “new shoes” or something; just amazing. But after listening to some of the more polished stuff on the internet, I am not as impressed.
    Anyway, good stuff; keep it up.

  2. OK. Actually, that’s really, really weird, because I know someone who used to go to Destiny Church in Tulsa. There’s a girl who links here, http://nowebb.wordpress.com, but, honestly, I thought she was from a church of the same name here where I am, in the Phoenix area. It wasn’t until you posted your comment that I searched around a bit and found out that it’s Destiny Church Tulsa. Whoa.

    (ETA: Wait. No. It wasn’t Destiny Church. Scratch that.)

    So…. do you have any musicians you can recommend to someone who is hard to please, but would like something new??

  3. Nicole Webb works at Destiny Church; is that who nowebb.etc is?
    Anyway, I’m a little old school, musically speaking. Dan Fogelberg is my all-time favorite, and most DF afficionados will tell you that his best stuff is the stuff you never heard on radio. Earlier stuff is better; that is, its all great up until the last few albums; much as I love the guy, I cant recommend anything past “Windows and Walls”. “High Country Snows” is good, and after W&W, but it’s bluegrass, and not everyone’s cup of tea. If you own no Fogelberg, get “Innocent Age”, “Netherlands”, and “Phoenix”.

    Just YESTERDAY (I spent way too much time on the internet yesterday) I discovered a Norweigan chick named Silje Nergaard and she had me abslolutely spellbound. Go to youtube and type in “two sleepy people” or her name and listen to it and a song called “Be Still My Heart” and see what you think.
    “Two Sleepy People” is an old Hoagy Carmichael song; I was doing a web search on him after seeing, for the first time, a movie called “The Best Years of Our Lives.” One thing led to another and boy oh boy I’m glad it did…

  4. Have you heard Fionn Regan?

  5. “Yet, I get annoyed by musicians whose music screams, “Listen to how weird I am!!!! ” based on this comment, I advise you to never, ever, listen to the Danielson Famile. Not even their fruits of the spirit song. Not even their “dragon ain’t the love” song. See now, aren’t you a teeny bit curious? They are unique in that they are completely weird and completely non-ironic.

    I really like Sufjan Stevens’ the Feel the Illinoise album. And we got a Christmas album that I like; it came with cutesy stickers.

  6. I’m with Scott on Dan Fogelberg. Nether Lands would easily be one of my desert island discs. I’ve tried to listen to some of the recent artists generating a buzz – Derek Webb, and Surfjan Stevens come to mind – but so far they haven’t clicked for me either, but then, my tastes tend toward stuff that not many people like at all – Spock’s Beard, the Flower Kings and Neal Morse have been spending lots of time on my iPod recently.

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