I recently had an interesting conversation with fellow family musician Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, otherwise known as Cactus. He calls his music
We were talking about the difference between listening to a “track”, one song, or a full “album” or CD. We’re both a little old school, having grown up with vinyl where you gave listening to music 100% of your attention. The album opened with a song that took you to the next part of the story right through the end which closed the story, just like a book. Although we, and many of our peers, still record albums this way, next generations seem to listen to “tracks”-or one song. The context of the album is losing it’s place. I’m gonna remain old school, and wanted to share with you Cactus’ take on this as well.
Go listen to his music – it’s hip, relevant, fun and now, GRAMMY nominated!
My name is Cactus aka Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, and I’ve been a professional musician for almost 20 years. I’ve been a fanatic of music for over 30, and the first 10 years of my life, I was somehow deprived. My first albums were cassettes, my first tape players were enormous and clunky. If you’re 40-ish or older, you can relate.
Being a professional musician, I am trapped in the fuzzy amber of my mind at about 23 years old. The workaday compromises I’ve refused have fused with my super powered Peter Pan Complex, and at this point, a clean shaved 20 year old in a suit can easily convince my subconscious that he’s older than me. There are worse curses.
So when I picked up my 13 year old daughter from modern dance class and started chatting with her teacher about music, I forgot that we weren’t the same age.
“My daughter and I both dig the song you’re using for the performance,” I says, “so we checked out the singer’s album, there’s a lot of pretty great stuff on there. You know the one, track 4 I think, that starts all synthy and then kicks in with fat 808s and that rubbery bass line, and her voice is all effected?”
Dance teacher looks away, a little nervous and embarRassed, and I feel my wrinkles and white beard hair as it sinks in. I decide to turn the screws. I grin, a little sharp.
“I get it. You don’t listen to albums, do you? Just singles, right?”
“Yeah,” she admits, “some of my musician friends are always getting on my back about that, too.”
“Getting to know an artist is just like getting know a person, a new friend,” I says. “When you’re out at the club, at the party or whatever, and you see them all in the zone, revved up and shining, that’s the single. But if you want to see what they’re like when they wake up in the morning, or when they’re eating lunch by themselves and reading a book, or taking a walk at sunset, or asleep and dreaming, you gotta listen to the whole album. There are cuts that would never work as a single that might tell you way more about who they are, or about who you are. And the song progression is a story, too, like spending a whole summer with them, taking a road trip together.”
She liked it. Her eyes twinkled. Maybe she didn’t like it enough to actually go listen to the whole album. I haven’t checked.
But I don’t care. Saying that type of thing reminds me how lucky I am to have an attention span that knows how to listen to a whole album 3 or 4 times in a row till I start to really get it. Not all great music puts out on the first date. In fact, most doesn’t.
Enough of my long winded longing for long form. If you’re under 30, you probably already got bored and stopped reading.
She’s just lucky I didn’t start in on why track 7 is always the best one. That could have taken hours…
Check out 23 Skidoo’s music HERE!!!!!