Saturday, May 15, 2010

MGT 650 and loud Music

It's a week and a half ago. I'm standing out in my back yard trying to clear my head so that I can finish writing the paper I'm working on. I'm nothing but a bunch of nerve endings at this point in time. In a few minutes I know that my teammate and co-author of this paper that's worth 40% of our grades, is going to call. And I know that when my phone* rings I am going to jump out of my skin. I listen to the loud sounds coming out of my computer. Green Day is screaming about something in there. I wonder if perhaps one of the reasons that I'm feeling so jumpy is that I've been listening to this sort of thing for the past month.

The morning after I lost my wallet I had to go deal with the RMV and my bank and credit card companies. It was already crunch-time where I work (because it was time to put out quarterly reports) but in spite of this I still had to deal with these other things ASAP. Because I knew this was all going to suck and because losing my wallet (or having it stolen) always makes me feel bad, I decided that a little psychological reinforcement was in order. I found my earphones and decided that I was going to listen to music all the way into Boston that morning and all the time I was walking to the Bank, the RMV and then to work. Think of it as the psychological equivalent of taping and wearing an ace bandage on your sprained ankle. Music was my ace bandage.

Some of you are probably thinking "Huh? What is she talking about? I listen to my iPod on the T all the time, so WTF?" I love my music, but I had very good reasons for not wanting to hear it all the time. For one thing, I like my music Loud. Listening to loud music through ear buds is bad for your hearing, so I don't do it unless I need to. It's one of those "in case of emergency break glass" options. Well, the emergency came in the form of Lost Wallet +Quarterly Reports + MGT 650.

As predicted, I did have some hearing problems. About two weeks into allowing myself to listening to loud music all the time I wasn't required to deal with other humans, I was sitting in my friend Mike's truck headed out to errands (his truck has an awesome stereo system and we planned on listening to really loud music that afternoon) I mentioned that maybe we should keep the volume down a bit because "My ears feel like they did the day after my first GBV concert. I stood in front of the speakers the whole time. The day after that concert I couldn't call my parents because listening to voices on my phone hurt my ears too much."

He replied "You sound like a teenager." Which amused me, because I didn't discover the joys of loud rock and roll until later in my life.

The crisis zone stretched to encompass the rest of the semester. Suddenly there was a presentation due and a paper as well as that giant paper we'd been working on all semester. Oh, and for fun, there was a Sunday I had to go into work before one of these papers was due. I was needing more music all the time just to keep me sane. The magic of my old favorites (the Clash, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and the Modern Lovers) was wearing thin. I needed loud music, but it needed to be newer loud music. Then I remembered that I had always meant to check out Green Day. Afterall, when I went to Lollapoloza in 1994 (?) they were the only band I liked and I had enjoyed them when I got back to college after that event and my friends had played Dookie for me.

I got Dookie and it helped me through a paper and a half. Because this is 2010 and if you like a band, you can watch you tube videos of them, I started watching Green Day in action in breaks while paper writing. I liked what I saw. But, because I care deeply about my music cred I asked my arbiters of musical taste about whether or not it was okay to like this band. I started with my buddy Mike, who was grading papers across the table from where I sat writing a paper at Gulu Gulu Cafe. "Green Day? That's Bratty Younger Brother Music." he opined. "But you're younger than me so maybe it's okay." I asked my younger sister what she thought of Green Day and she recommended another album. I asked my friend Dan whether or not Green Day counted as Punk Rock (Dan's opinion was particularly important-not only did he introduce me to the Pixies but he has shut me down on a few occasions by saying "Not Punk Rock!") His response was "I have never willingly listened to Green Day."

So according to everyone but my younger sister, I was listening to trash. I quickly decided I didn't care. Along with my full time job (complete with difficult boss) I had tons of coursework to do, and of our three person MGT 650 team (most of the teams have four people) one member had checked out. So we were now a two person team, and we had a giant paper to write. At this point in time I could have forgiven myself for developing a love for Madonna or Lady Gaga.

But I hadn't developed a Madonna obsession. I was all about Green Day. I didn't care if I was sick of them the minute I handed my paper in-so long as I stayed sane between now and then. I chose Green Day because I like loud punk rock and as I've mentioned I'd already worn out my old favorites. More importantly, watching them on youtube performing live has been helpful or hopeful. Billy Joe is the lead singer and lead guitar player. That means he's being Joe Strummer and Mick Jones at the same time. I've watched him captivate and motivate crowds. He is competent, charismatic, a little bit scary and wears eyeliner better than I do. Although I do not want to be a rock and roll hero, I would *love* to be competent, charismatic and a bit scary**. I don't need to be this way all the time-just at game time.

And from my unfortunate point of view game time stretched out over several days as two of us struggled to do the work of four people. By the end, the loud music wasn't any help. By the final day, I had switched over to Brahms Requiem, just to calm my nerves.

In the end I admit that newer Green Day (including their new Broadway Musical) is very derivative. It bears the clear stamp of earlier American rock and roll. And while I like the way they've combined some of the elements, it's still not up to the standards of the Clash or the Beatles or even the Shins. But that doesn't matter. For starters, Green Day helped get me out of MGT 650 with most of my sanity. Futhermore, there's such a thing as taking one's musical taste too seriously. For me admitting that I like some band that's not pure rock and roll genius is a good thing (although if anyone wants to recommend some nice loud band that's as good as the Clash and the Ramones I'm all ears. I'll be needing more music next term.)

*I've changed the ring tone to Police On My Back, so it's just going to add to the cacophony
** and yes I'd also like to be able to apply eyeliner well as he does

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