Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Love Hurts

When my girlfriend offered to write an entry for this blog, I was excited. All my hard work of teaching and molding her mind to enjoy the music I consider worthy and abandon her more mainstream tastes had paid off. I was sure she was going to write a piece on some obscure musician I had taught her about, and maybe even praise me a little for bringing her out of the darkness and into the light. Well, she had another idea in mind...
Before Travis, After Travis: Confessions of the Blogmaster’s Girlfriend

Before I met the blogmaster of this fair blog, I knew James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam by heart, U2 and Coldplay were my friends, and nothing got me singing louder than the pop hits of the eighties-"We Built This City" in particular. Don’t get me wrong, I was not completely void of any indie bands. I had gone to one of the more alternative liberal arts schools in the country, Bard. I had a Yeah Yeah Yeahs album thanks to one of my friends, had heard of the Walkmen, and even put Joanna Newsom in a documentary I made. But all in all, I was completely unaware of the large tsunami sized wave that was going to overthrow me and leave me drowning.

That wave was Travis, more specifically Travis’s music snobbery, which I like to refer to as our personal method of birth control. Let me give you an example. Travis just came in the room and I, knowing that I would want to write about it in this article, asked him what the band is that did "We Built This City." The conversation then went like this:

Travis: “Jefferson Starship?! Why?!”
Kendra: “I love that song, you know that.”
Travis: “You love that song!? That is the worst song in the entire world!”
Kendra: “You know I love that song, we have had this conversation before.”
Travis: “Well, I must have suppressed that fact because that is the worst song! (Note, what he says next is what Travis sounds like before he edits his thoughts for all of you.) If the dictionary could make a sound that could fully display and produce the difference between the sound of grassroots and the soul crushing sound of the Coca-Cola industry, it would be Jefferson Airplane vs. Jefferson Spaceship. Sick, honey, sick."
Kendra: “Anything else you would like to say? I am writing this down.”
Travis: “Yes, I am going to go vomit now.”

See what I mean?

One of the first things Travis asked me on our first date was, “What kind of music do you listen to?” In response I told him about a new mix I had made including Frou Frou, a new favorite at the time, and the songs I had discovered from the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode. Surprisingly, (perhaps because he foresaw the potential birth control powers) he did not go into a diatribe like the one above, but instead started to talk to me about music he liked. Thus marked my first (of many) music lessons.

Jokes aside, I can’t say all of these lessons are bad. I mean, I did inherit nearly 50 CDs on our fifth date with a card that said, “Please…listen to these.” In fact, I will always have a soundtrack to Travis and my first year together as I received a wonderful, perfectly-themed-mix CD every month of our first year. My favorite mix was the one called Crazy (make of that what you will). There is no doubt he expanded my taste in music and he would surely say, made it far more sophisticated. And for the most part, I agree with him. I love pretty much all of the music he has introduced me to and, I am proud to say, I have even introduced him to some as well (notably, Dead Man’s Bones…yea, all me!) I have seen many bands play live, including a band I got to keep as a favorite, R.E.M. I know more about music than the majority of the country, just by default, and I can hold my own when in a room of Pabst drinking hipsters in Brooklyn.

Of course, there is still a big part of me that loves pop music and every time I rent a Zipcar by myself, I joyfully rock-out to whatever is on the radio (and I am not talking about All Songs Considered). There is just something about the predictable hooks, the upbeat rhythms, and the incredibly insignificant lyrics, that just make me happy. I mean, after all, we did build this city on plain old rock and roll!

-Kendra Rubinfeld


  1. Debbie McGuire4/11/09 17:42

    I am the proud Mom of the Blog Master, and I too have received CD's from him. I remember one I recieved as a Christmas gift. It was titled "This is not Nickelback" Trav's younger brothers are the proud owners of that CD and about 5 others he was sure I would love. However, I kept the Smashing Pumpkins he allowed me to have and I cherish his original copy of The National, Boxer. I too love Jefferson Starship and Kid Rock! Sorry Trav!

  2. Thanks for the support, Debbie. I knew you would have my back considering everytime I say I love a band, Trav says, my mom used to make me listen to that in the backseat of the car when I was a kid. I blame his refusal to listen to our music on car sickness. :) Keep rocking. P.S. Smashing Pumpkins was my first concert just by accident. This gained me mega points with him. Go know!

  3. We all, admittedly, have learned a thing or ten from Travis' music snobbery. But, what our esteemed friend will never fully accept is that no matter how developed our palette becomes (thanks to him), there is just something nostalgic and irreversibly lovely about junk food.

    (My secret vending machine purchase: Blink 182 - *gasp* I said it!!)

  4. I love this post, thanks Kendra! And, Tim, if I may quote the music man himself, "blink 182 does not qualify as 'good music'!". Keep it coming Ocean of Noise!