It began

10/20/2008

It was approximately midnight when the SFCritic was conceived. I was in the back of a taxi cab, the window rolled down, with my hands tracing the air as I listened to the driver’s tunes. Van Morrison was playing. It wasn’t Dancing in the Moonlight, or Brown Eyed Girl, truthfully–I didn’t recognize it was Van Morrison until I asked.

I inquired further. Where are you from? The driver responded he had been living in San Francisco for thirty-five years. Originally from Denver as I later learned, the man wore a leather riding hat, had a full white beard that left plenty of room for grooming techniques, and was completely content with just listening to his music and not chatting.

While I sat in this cab, I couldn’t think of a better description of Van Morrison’s target audience: a fifty something year old, white cab driver, from Denver wearing a rancher’s hat, self-identifying as San Franciscan. Perfect. Hippy. Check. Old-timer. Check. Chilled out, potentially stoned. Probably, check.

I think music defines us. I think music can help one understand people by what they do, don’t or claim to listen to. Call it judging. Call it tastes. Call it knowledge. We all assess life based on different mediums, beliefs, systems or structures–why not music?

This blog is an intertwining of music critique, and life. Where my everyday life and interactions, what I see or hear, are translated through music. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be self-absorbed in talking about their own music soundtrack. Consider my posts the tracks, and the compilation of posts as my playlist. Now of course this is narcissistic, but so is Larry David, and if this blog can’t be humorous and interesting, in the end I’m still Jewish.

Don’t fret. This is not a diary, but a critique at how music can be used to explain and talk about everyday issues. A simple way to see this is through music with political undertone. For example, “What’s Going on” by Marvin Gaye had a strong political message during the Vietnam war, which when reissed in the “All Star Tribute” took on a totally different tone, and context. Seriously! What’s going on by throwing P. Diddy (*name at that time or was it Diddy?) Timberlake, Bono, Alicia Keys, and Gwen Stefani on the same track? Looking at the video now, was this patriotism or progandana or both? Check out the total American flag count in the video. I think the song might have been more appropriate if it was released after it was clear that Iraq had no nuclear weapons, but then…”what’s going on?” would have a different meaning.

My tags for this blog: music, critique, criticism, popular culture, and life.