Beats and REM

My new phone has integrated Beats Audio.  That’s the same Beats Audio that produces the headphones kids and whatever we’re calling hipsters these days wear on their ears – the bulky, often red but sometimes white, green, or orange headphones that cost more than I have ever imagined spending on headphones.  Happily, on my new phone the marker is subtle – a logo on the back.

I’m bringing it up because of my impression that for many, things musical are more status symbols than anything else, outward markers of in-group identification versus demonstratives of pure passion.  Humans are social creatures – we have a need to belong; it’s physiological.  Music is one way we come together.

As a child, almost all of my musical passion was expressed as worship to God, and it was an authentic passion.  As I moved through high school, however, I realized that I didn’t know anything about music in the ways my peers did.  One kid I remember had an REM shirt – I now know the album Out of Time had just been released and his was the shirt from the group’s tour to promote it.  I sort of liked that kid well enough, so when I was at the library and saw an REM CD I checked it out on a lark.

I went home and put it into my still new CD player.  I believe the album was Eponymous, a relatively odd collection of previously released material, “greatest hits,” if you will, for a pretty young band at the time. While I didn’t exactly hate the music, it sounded strange – foreign and repetitive.  I let REM go for that moment.

I can’t say when or why or how it happened, but at some point, by the time I was about 20 years old, REM had become my favorite band.  It was the only band I ever really paid attention to or knew about, and even there I was no superfan, at least by anyone else’s standards.  To this day I have not been to an REM concert.

The fact that I never saw my favorite band in concert is a good indicator of the degree to which I have lacked musical passion in my life.  This new phone, with its Beats Audio, is unlikely to help much.  This blog has started to help, but most of my hopes for re-igniting my musical passion hang on the violin. My first lesson is Wednesday, and one of the first aps I downloaded for my new phone was a metronome.  The Beats Audio is probably overkill for that.

Thanks for reading.


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