Going back to Those Gold Soundz: I was a six-year-old Phish phan
Issue date: 8/27/10 Section: Focus
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When I was six, a relatively typical interest in music became an all-consuming obsession when I heard Phish for the first time. Against all odds, those four perpetually stoned, Vermont-born-and-raised Deadheads found resonance in my warped six-year-old mind, and their complex, endless jams inexplicably appealed to my young ears. I soon snatched up any Phish records I could get my hands on, setting a precedent for what would soon become a lifelong habit.
Phish somehow gave way to prog-rock gluttons Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, which gave way to Elton John, then The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and a bevy of music predominantly made before 1980. Since then, I've moved on to a host of more recent and obscure music. What is important is that even today, I am able to switch from Grizzly Wolf Collective to something "uncool" from my childhood, like Jethro Tull, and embrace it entirely.
Growing up, I saw the late-90s pop extravaganza from an outsider's point of view. I knew all the songs --"Wannabe," "MMMbop," "Larger Than Life," "…Baby One More Time,"-- but I despised them all. I was na've at the time, undoubtedly, because while my peers were enjoying lighthearted pop fare, I was into needlessly serious twenty-minute epics about, say, armadillo tanks. In hindsight though, it all sounds quite good, and while I'd probably still prefer bloated prog to the turn-of-the-millennium bubblegum pop, I certainly wouldn't object to the latter.
Unfortunately, people often give a knee-jerk reaction to the supposedly embarrassing music they may have grown up with. People who are now into "hip" and "sophisticated" music might rather ignore the fact that ten years ago, they were hardcore BBMak fanatics. Perhaps even more common is the tendency to justify the fact that they used to, or still do, enjoy this music solely due to nostalgia or irony.