Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Corrosion of My Conformity

I like "Ice, Ice Baby".

Got your attention now? Good. Well, it's true... I really do like that tune. I think Vanilla Ice is a huge joke, but that song has a great beat and an awesome melody (this from a guy who fell in love with Queen's "Under Pressure" years before). It may not actually make me want to run out and get a flat-top with racing stripes carved in the sides... Nor does it inspire me to match parachute dress pants with a tight-waisted, short-cut American flag sport coat... But I does get my foot a-tappin' and my head a-bobbin'.

Why am I letting this particular skeleton out of my closet, you ask? Good question. Allow me to enlighten you...

I'm 33 years old, and I've spent the better part of my life trying to live up to one "image" or another. In the early 80's, it was all about the Jordache jeans with the little horse's head and white stitching... Listening to Duran Duran, playing Pac Man, and getting my homework done like a good little boy. But, in the sanctity of my own bedroom, I secretly enjoyed the head-banging sounds of Quiet Riot's "Cum On Feel the Noize".

Later on, it was the Levi's 501 phase, complete with Polo shirt, matching yellow sweater, and Converse runners (which my lower-middle class family could never afford, so I made do with "reasonable facsimiles"). At least I looked the part, and that was the point. Musically, I stood behind artists like Corey Hart, Tears for Fears, and Dire Straits. But, again, there was always my private passion for "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard.

The trend continued after High School and well into my College years...

I have 2 younger brothers who were into Rap and Hip Hop. Well, me with my squeaky-clean image and devotion to bands like The Barenaked Ladies, U2, and The Crash Test Dummies could never, ever condone the kind of music that required Parental Warning labels on the CDs. Nor could I lower myself the level of the mindless masses who over-played all the club dance tracks... No way. Except that I kinda liked the rhythms and beats of Snap! and C&C Music Factory, not to mention the edginess of Body Count and Cypress Hill...

Don't get me wrong. I really did like all the bands I professed to like... I just also happened to liked some of the stuff I wasn't supposed to like. But it was as if there was some unwritten rule that, in order to listen to Iron Maiden, you had to light a smoke, don a tight concert T-Shirt, and huddle around the big silver ghetto blaster on the front lawn of the school with the rest of the headbangers. Not your cup of tea? Then you better just stick to Rick Astley. You had to choose a side and stick with it. Stupid, I know. And I knew it then, too... But what 17 year old wants to risk becoming an outcast that neither side will accept?

Things are different now.

Like I said, I'm 33 years old... And I've finally reached a point in my life where it's okay to just be me. Maybe I could have arrived here sooner, or maybe I just had to let things happen in their own time... I don't know. What I do know is that the only "image" I'm concerned with keeping these days is my own, whatever that may turn out to be. Be it the latest bone-jarring track from Disturbed, a classic like "Bust a Move", or maybe even a little Garth Brooks, I'm gonna play it loud and proud!

P.S.: You down wit' OPP?
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