Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nickelback; or How the Modern Music Industry Will Not Thwart Me

I have discovered Nickelback and I will never be the same. I am terribly grateful for that.

Now, in Nickelback’s defense, they were not completely new to me. I had heard their songs and said to myself, “Self, that’s a great song. Who sings that?” I grew familiar with their sound, but never retained much more than the fact that I liked their music. I would hear snatches of songs from a myriad of sources and really enjoy them. Finally, the lyrics (and video for) “If Everyone Cared” pushed me over the edge: it paid tribute to brave people who affected a change in their corners of the world, despite the odds. Nobel-level courage and caring. Betty Williams. Nelson Mandela. Bob Geldof. (Don't give me that. As if "Live Earth," "Farm Aid" or any other concert of its type could have happened without "Live Aid." Just please overlook his penchant for unique names.) As I watched the video through my tears (bravery and kindness deserves that visceral a response), I thought, this wasn’t “just” rock and roll. It has heart, and that I could support.

So I bought “All the Right Reasons” and love every song on the album.

Finding a source for listening to music has been a ongoing challenge — certainly not as easy as when I was growing up. It used to be I could turn on the radio and hear all the music I wanted.

Now I have nearly given up on commercial radio. Too many DJs spend most of their time laughing at their own jokes then cutting to commercials, completely forgetting about the music. The one radio station whose music I would listen to I boycott to because of the morning DJ. DC 101’s Elliott reminds me of my younger brother as a pre-teen (who wasn’t funny, either).

Nowadays, I catch my music in snippets, mostly on cable television —especially Cityscreen-12, the City of Fairfax cable television station that plays the absolute best music during the workday. Another excellent source of music is the music channels on digital cable television. Satellite might have the same thing, but I’m a cable person (see the glowing reference to Cityscreen-12 above).

I also have started watching some music videos on the Internet. I read about music on my myriad of news sources and check out the songs on Yahoo Music. (Search Yahoo Music Videos for the only Nickelback video on the system: a live version of “This is How You Remind Me.” It’s great.) I am a new convert to a few songs by Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas for that very reason. From there, I surf other songs by groups my friends tell me about and names with which I am familiar from my many trips to Borders. (Despite my usual shopping habits, I realize Borders is not just for books.)

I am disappointed that I have to piece my music together from so many varied and disparate sources, but perhaps this is the way of the future. We used to have the radio alone. Now the plethora of sources seem to require users to assemble a full picture of their music puzzle pieces. However, I will persevere. Combined with a few solid suggestions from friends, I can encounter fabulous musical groups like Nickelback without the insipid “pop” songs or vapid DJs.

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