First Youth Impressions – What Band Would You Choose?

Kid lost in musicThere’s a point when most young adults suddenly opt to listen to something that wasn’t force fed to them.  If one doesn’t have an older sibling to get ideas from or a friend who has already stepped off the predictable music path, one has to just have to make an effort to dabble in music variety on their own.  But where do they start?  Do they just start downloading random songs or clicking on Youtube music videos with the most hits?  It must be frustrating to feel lost and surrounded by the musically unknown …

So I want to prepare you, readers, in case you are that person they turn to after they have shed Ryan Seacrest’s heavy cape of popular music.  Pretend that this person, in a daze of fear and excitement, timidly asked you what band they should start with to begin their enlightened path towards music fulfillment.  You will be the one to apply the first color to their palette … which can be a bit daunting, eh?  So what band would you choose to start them off with?

For me, it has to be the Pixies.  You and I may know about them, but given that even their singles are on the fringe of memory (“Here Comes Your Man” miiiight get played once in awhile on an alternarock station) the group can still be considered as relatively unknown to the younger crowd.  The Pixies also benefit from having two distinct phases:  the quirky punk run from “Come On Pilgrim” to “Doolittle” and the more approachable phase for their last two albums.  Depending on the young adult’s tastes, one can direct them to either “Doolittle” or “Bossanova” easily.  Or, if the person needs more visual convincing, just show them the cover of “Surfer Rosa”.  All of a sudden, there could be interest.

If the person can’t sit still for a whole album (yikes … but perhaps not too surprising given this day and age) one may have to just get them to listen to a few songs.  With the Pixies it is a tough choice, but I would go with “Here Comes Your Man”, “Debaser” and probably “Gigantic”.  Those are likely some of the more safer choices, but they have a little mix to them so that the listener can hear the allure of the band while getting a sense of the off-kilter elements here and there.  “Here Comes Your Man” is a straight forward pop song  that will appeal to most everyone, while “Debaser” showcases Black Francis’ penchant for shouting.  “Gigantic” features Kim Deal on vocals, which tips the listener off that there are two vocalists in the band (albeit short-lived).  Plus, the energizing ending to the song might win over a new fan if they’re more into Joey Santiago’s guitar and David Lovering’s drumming anyway.

Someday, you will likely encounter someone who needs a push in the right direction when it comes to music.  Maybe they don’t know they need that push yet, or maybe they assume that your taste in music is tired or boring.  Be ready to set them straight by having a go-to band ready, ideally more than one as well as spanning across different genres, so that they have a highly recommended avenue to follow.  Hey, one can’t save the world in one stroke but one can possibly save another from living a life of aimless music listening.

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