Monday, January 18, 2010

More Than a Little Late to the Party

I've always considered myself to have a little bit of an ear for music...not playing it, but being able to recognize and find GOOD music. Record stores, concerts, and bar shows were my main haunts for many years. I know many people who would listen to music an hour a day when they were driving to and from work...much of my life I have averaged a good 6+ hours of listening to music - old favorites, new stuff, anything I could get my hands on. I have spent an embarrassing amount of money on records, cassettes, and CDs throughout my life. However, there did come a point where I did get a little tired of it all and let much of it fall off. I rarely buy random CDs or records any more...I save my money for the artists that I truly love and think need my support (no more "I love this cover, I have to have this CD!"). I don't go to many concerts any more...I think I went to around 10 concerts/shows in 2009. That is probably an all time low, before I probably averaged around 75+ concerts and shows per year). I still listened to music, although maybe not nearly as much.

I do think it is true that as you age you don't quite connect with music the way that you had when you were younger...and I think that did have a little bit to do with it. I think I was also just exhausted from working at the college radio station and having to listen to music for a "job." I probably also had been going through a little bit of depression for several years. This all lead me to judge many musicians far too quickly than I should have - preferring to stay with "safe" favorites and not giving a lot of artists the chance they deserved. I don't think that my original habits of music obsession were healthy but I think I also cut out more than needed and miss many of the things that I held dear. I have been trying to find a good balance of musical life vs non-musical life over the past few years.

This leads me to Harvey Danger - everyone knows Harvey Danger from Flagpole Sitta. I liked Flagpole Sitta...but the failure in me was to see that I would enjoy other songs of theirs. Too me they seemed like someone that had one catchy song and then the rest of the album would suck. I figured on all schlocky, upbeat, funny songs (like an poor imitation Barenaked Ladies). I know I heard all the rest of the album at one point (probably several times) but I wasn't really listening with an open mind and HD was dismissed from my mind.

A few years ago in 2006 (actually I think it was 2005 but I didn't really find out until 2006), Harvey Danger had their latest album Little by Little as a free download from their website. I downloaded it and threw it in my music folder but never listened to it and soon it was forgotten. I came across the album last November and gave it a listen. I liked it but it was a time when work was really stressful and I needed something more familiar and heavier to keep me focused and motivated. HD was pushed aside (once again) for Dethklok and a very stressful month of work.

They were not forgotten this time. I pulled the album back out a couple weeks ago and I love it. Not only is it a wonderful, soothing contrast to what I had been listening to in the past month but Harvey Danger has proved to be much better writers than I had ever given them credit for. I find the Little by Little to be an overall mellow and melancholy album...but it works very well together. There are a couple uptempo songs but even those seem to have pessimistic slant. I know this probably all seems negative, but really it is not. I find this album to be wonderful and soothing for the soul.

I really connect with a lot of the songs, but by far my favorite is Little Round that was totally me for 15+ years of my life. Music was more important than everything else - people, experiences, relationships all seemed so trivial to my relationship with music. Diminishing Returns is probably my second favorite...just the perfect way to cap off the album.

You can still download the entire album for free from the Harvey Danger Website. I would suggest you do that...and maybe throw a buck or two their way if you like it.

Unfortunately, Harvey Danger called it quits in May my chance of enjoying any "new" HD is gone, but at least I can now look forward to going back and re-experiencing all the old Harvey Danger that I didn't give a chance the first time around. I wish all the HD guys luck in their new endeavors...sorry it took so long for me to realize how awesome you were. I'll meet you at the point of diminishing returns.

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