I get torn now and again on what my favorite band is. I’ve tended towards Genesis, allowing me both the pleasure of 70s prog and 80s pop in one convenient package. But the allure of The Smiths is inescapable. I suppose the nice thing about art is that is you can never have enough.
Both bands were a huge influence on me in college. Everywhere I travelled on campus I had my (then working) walkman, with The Queen Is Dead around all through that first fall. It took me a while to get into it of course. The album was a gift courtesy of a cousin of mine for high school graduation, and at first I found it rather impenetrable, but listening to it first in a sleepy daze before bed wasn’t an adequate introduction. I carried it with me around campus to try again, and it soon became a staple. The summer after freshman year, I got more of the Smiths new and old rips from libraries and it was all I listened to that summer. Much of my first summer was unfaltering habit, from having pasta every night, to watching anime until 5 in the morning, to playing The Smiths as soon as I got home form work in the lonely apartment on Calvin’s campus. It was bliss.
The same can be said for the next summer, except the band of choice then was Genesis. My dad was always a big fan, and I asked he make a mix for me before I left for college. He did, and it piqued my interest even more. Again, it was the same method of carrying around an album in that same walkman, growing to the love the sounds surrounding me. But this time, the album of choice was Selling England by the Pound. It makes for an indelible memory, listening to Genesis as my feet caressed the hardwood floors beneath me, the stereo equipment perfectly arranged to make a room worthy of pride.
When I signed up for last.fm (which never worked on my laptop again), it said my listen count for each artist was in the thousands. And that was just using my computer! Each summer was a prime opportunity to listen to each artist’s backlog, learn about genre and music history, and subsequently rack up a lot hours listening to music. Perhaps its a tradition I should keep up. It makes every summer unforgettable.