It makes you wonder how life is without music. For me, music is the sanity that's within. Many people are surprised that I know a lot about the 1960s and their music. I grew up with that kind of music. But it was something relatively new. For a 5-year old boy, knowing lyrics to songs from the 60s isn't something your friends will give you high fives about. For me, I first fell in love, and now they have been established as my favorite band of all time, The Beatles
I was lucky enough to find two guys, who would later be the best friends I ever have, who also knew of the Beatles. It would be funny enough that we would name ourselves after each member. I would be George Harrison
, Chris would be Paul McCartney
, and Langston would be Ringo Starr
. No one would be John Lennon
, and we didn't think too much of it, since at the time, we didn't know what to do with the late Beatle. We had a friend named Ian. In Scottish, his name was John, so I just assumed him in, even though I didn't really know what was what.
So at the age of 8 or so, I was really knowledgeable about The Beatles
. But it wasn't my first taste in music. Actually, in first grade, in 1992, there was this man at my school. He would play the piano during assemblies. He went by the name of Mr. Happy
. He would play the piano and sing to the kids. To me, that was the coolest thing. And surprsingly, unlike most Chinese kids, I wasn't forced into piano. I actually was willing to play and wanted to play piano before my parents told me to.
When you start of piano, you learn of the first kinds of muisc. That would feature composers like Frédéric Chopin
, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
. You think a guy my age would not know jack about classical music. Think again. I know a lot of people cringe when Classical music is played. But Classical is pretty much better than anything I hear on the radio today. Classical music is pretty much very intelligent music, and it's sad that today's generation doesn't care about it.
Over the years, I had lost interest in piano and after 10 years, I stopped. I regret it today as my passion for music has grown so much. I try to play my favorite songs on piano, but I have lost my touch. I regret it.
So up to pretty much 7th grade, I would know The Beatles
and whatever Oldies music there would be. I keep thinking to myself I was born in the wrong decade. I know more about the 60s than most people, and I love everything about it.
But in 7th grade, your attempt to be cool starts to kick in. Everyone was into the Rap/R&B phase. To me, that was alright. It was hard to make such an adjust to something that was different that I knew. When I was younger, I would know some rap tracks. I recall when I was at the YWCA, they would play this song by Tag Team
, Whoomp! There It Is
. That was my only exposure to rap. And at that, I didn't like it as music.
At my age before 7th grade, we all secretly enjoyed The Backstreet Boys
, Spice Girls
, and whatever handy dandy fruitcake music there was. But I knew that I had to step it up.. I can't be listening to that soft pie as puberty was going to hit in and girls was on my mind.
My friend Rami had Greatest Hits
. And being the cool thing was rap, I had to get more 2Pac
. I bought that album and my world was changed. I didn't realize that even though through all the vulgar language, it was something that was something that sounded great. I liked it a lot. My mom knew that rap wasn't something she liked, but she knew that I was smart enough not to do something bad with it. That started off me on a phase of rap/R&B community. I now pretty much own every album from 2Pac
. The 1998-2001 era of rap, to me, was one of the best. That's when I fell in love with some great music. I remember buying some pretty sweet albums. I got the "Light It Up" Soundtrack. Great soundtrack. Then when Dr. Dre
just came out with 2001
, it was instant magic. But still, at the time, I was listening to whatever I saw on the TV and what I heard on the radio.
For me being a huge Dru Hill
fan, I got their albums later, but I started off with the solo album from Sisqo
just came back with their FanMail
, which was great. However, this one track got me into still into one of the most hardcore artists at the time. Kid Rock
did that song Only God Knows Why
, and that got me really into that album, Devil Without a Cause
. And let me tell you, that has got to be one of the best rock albums ever. It's not really all rock, but damn, that track he did with Eminem
was just great. The great Detroit duo.
So during that time, I would get albums from what was hot at the time. DMX
, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
, Ruff Ryders
, Snoop Dogg
, Rage Against the Machine
, and even throw in Linkin Park
. That ran me through high school. At the time, Cash Money Millionares
was almost out of the way (although I still will forever love 400 Degreez
. By far the record label's best work). Artists such as Clipse
, The Roots
, and Fabolous
were getting the high rise. But at that time, I wanted to be different. I wanted to stand out than just being a hip hop head.
I ventured back to old school. I got two albums that would be something I needed. I got The Score
. The Fugees
was cool, but I fell in love with Bob Marley
. Til this day, I don't know enough reggae, but a Bob Marley
jam always sends out a positive vibe to me.
Come Junior year of high school, things all got different. I was reborn into a phase that changed me. First off, I got back into The Beatles
. But it wasn't until my friends Kenny and Manuel (Guatamalen and Venezuelan, respectively) got me into classic rock. And also, thanks to Manuel, Maná
owns you! You'd think that I'd get my classic rock knowledge from white folk, but I didn't. First off, Kenny love Queen
with a passion, and Manuel loved Led Zeppelin
. Those two are my two favorite pure classic rock bands. But it didn't stop there. My whole craziness began. I bought All Things Must Pass
, then Early Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin, Volume One
& Latter Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin, Volume Two
. Greatest hits are the best, which prompted me to get The Platinum Collection (disc 1: Greatest Hits I)
, The Platinum Collection (disc 2: Greatest Hits II)
, The Platinum Collection (disc 3: Greatest Hits III)
. It was like $25 for the whole thing, which got me to loving Queen.
Let me just recommend my favorite tracks from both artists:Achilles Last StandThese Are the Days of Our Lives
So yeah, I would fall in love with bands like Styx
, Ozzy Osbourne
, The Who
, Jimi Hendrix
, Rolling Stones
, Bob Dylan
, Tom Petty
, Creedence Clearwater Revival
, Pink Floyd
(whom I love so much, their best album are The Wall
and A Momentary Lapse of Reason
), and more.
It was weird, because at the time, I still found love for artists like Avril Lavigne
, and even odd enough, I found myself enjoying the sound of Marilyn Manson
. He's smart, but his lyrics are off. But somehow, his music appealed to me. And adding that Resident Evil
is possibly one of the greatetst soundtracks ever!
So blow over that. I still was into hip hop, but classic rock had won my soul. It is the best kind of rock to ever have existed, and I will love this kind of music forever. Guitar solos and drum solos are way too sexy!
Upon graduating from high school
Upon graduating from high school, I was all about classic rock. To my trip Hong Kong, I brought my classic rock music. Listening to Led Zeppelin
, and even R.E.M.
was all I knew that was good to me at the time. But prior to my Hong Kong trip, I had been pretty much stale in my own culture and their entertainment in music, movies, and whatever.
It wasn't until when I went to the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry (EAM) annual meeting where I would be changed. I got my first taste of what will be my "Asian Revelation"
. During the conference, I watched My Sassy Girl
. That got me liking Asian things. But what really got me into Asian music finally was Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
/Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
The soundtrack to the show, which was sung by the actresses themselves, was amazing. This soundtrack, Dear My Friend
/ Dear My Friend
had the best sound, and it was something different. Something that got me looking for more. I was just curious about the different world that I am, but never was a part of.
From then, as I was on the forums of the show, I would be revealed to artists like Boa
, Ayumi Hamasaki ayumi hamasaki
, Utada Hikaru Utada Hikaru
, Mika Nakashima Mika Nakashima
, Puffy AmiYumi
and even Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
's own Chieco Kawabe Chieco Kawabe
But now I felt real bad. Here I am listening to Korean and Japanese music and none of my own Chinese music. Being Chinese, I was ok with Chinese music. It seemed too happy for me, and well, it was. I remember being turned off by groups like F4
and it was just bleh. But now, I realized that even though it wasn't something I liked, it's something that was better than what I was hearing today.
I laughed when Mayday 五月天
came to my campus because it was like the Chinese market on campus. Later, I listened to them and they rocked. I guess my Chinese ramping started when my roommate let me listen to his Joey Yung 容祖兒
album. I didn't know she sang 我的驕傲
. I fell in love with her music, and I got a lot of her music and I pretty much am a fan of her great voice. I have pretty much downloaded all her music, but I bought own two of her albums: 我的驕傲
. The packaging is amazing in these albums. So there I am, fluttered with Joey. But it was not enough. I needed to know of what was the best in the Chinese music world. Thanks to No More Hong Kong
, I was able to get my dosage of Hong Kong music.
Now, I wouldnt' say I am a huge fan of TWINS
, but I love their sound. It's childish, but whatever, it is cool and 蔡卓妍
is my false hopes of a wife to be. That's why I love TWINS
. Through that No More HK community and other music, I have grown to love many other artists: Yumiko Cheng 鄭希怡
, Angela Zhang 張韶涵
, Anthony Wong 黃耀明
, Chapman To 杜汶澤
, Cyndi Wang 王心凌
, David Tao 陶喆
, Jolin Tsai 蔡依林
, Justin Lo 側田
, Kary Ng 吳雨霏
(who is the lead singer of HK Rock band Ping Pung
, Michael Kong Leung 光良
, My Little Airport
, Rainie Yang 楊丞琳
, Soft Hard 軟硬天師
, Stephy Tang 鄧麗欣
(who along with Kary Ng 吳雨霏
were in Cookies
These are just listing the ones I could find in my playlist.
So I am here, going through a point where I just got hands dipped into the music that was where I lacked. I got the Chinese scene, as of now, down. But the problem is that there are so much more artists out there on the radio waves. Sadly, the crowd I hang out with aren't as cool when it comes to music.
Sure, through them, I been influenced to enjoy music from The Game
, Maroon 5
, The Killers
, and Chris Brown
But the problem is that my friends love their Christian rock. I for one don't enjoy it. It's not anything against it, but the music itself doesn't lift me. The lyrics are not so good. But most my friends listen to it, and that's all they do listen to mainly. They can't carry a deep conversation with me on music outisde of Christian music. It really frustrates me at times. They are all into the current music. Sure, it's ok, but I don't like Lifehouse
, or any of that other soft stuff. The music is ok, but it's just not me.
I live for the hardcore guitar solos like those of Joe Satriani
or Jimmy Page
But yeah, classic rock and currently, Chinese pop is what guides my music taste. And that's where I stand. I am almost 20 years old, and that's all the music I know.... and yet I am still learning.