Today one of my friends asked me an interesting (an immensely challenging) question. If you were going to be stuck listening to just one musician’s music for the rest of your life, who would it be? I don’t know why people play these ridiculous games and ask themselves these ridiculous questions, but for some reason, I find myself contemplating these types of questions all the time.
They’re not easy. In what strange parallel universe would we have the freedom to pick one artist’s music, but only that one? I thought and thought. Like anyone else my age, I have a great deal of “favorite artists.” My boyfriend even teases me for how many things I term “my favorite.” We use the phrase “favorite favorite” for something that is even more my favorite than all my other favorites.
So, when the question was phrased, my mind immediately began to race. I think of myself as having more of a “feel” when it comes to music than one single artist. I love mellow music. I’d say I like stoner music, but I’ve never smoked in my life, and it’s just not really my thing. But, if you’re curious about my taste in music, think big outdoor summer music festival: Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Firefly, you get the feeling. 90s music makes me feel so at peace; it’s what I grew up on! Throw on some Matchbox Twenty, Blink-182, Oasis, or Third Eye Blind, and I’ll feel right at home.
But my favorite type of music lies somewhere between Lana del Ray’s smooth voice and John Mayer’s musicality. I thought about both these artists: I think they’re both quite talented, and I enjoy listening to their music. But Lana doesn’t have enough songs yet to be stuck with just those few songs for the rest of my life. John Mayer was tougher. He has many albums, plus all the live recordings that are different from the recorded versions to provide variety. I love his music, and I love when he does covers of other musicians, too. But I decided too much of John Mayer’s stuff was sad, and if I was going to be stuck with one kind of music for the rest of eternity, it had better be something that made me happy. So then I thought, Matt Nathanson makes me happy (if you haven’t heard of him, I highly recommend that you check him out. His stuff is fabulous, seriously.) But a lot of his stuff, too, feels generally sad.
I realized what mattered to me most was not who was the best, who had the most albums, etc., but simply where each musician/band’s music took me when I listened to it. When I listen to Jack Johnson, I’m on a warm beach somewhere, closing my eyes, with a fancy frozen drink in my hand. Even his sadder stuff has a beachy feel, and you can’t help smiling during the vast majority of his songs.
Who would you pick?