A link a friend posted on my fb wall eventually let me to the website of music writer Steve Almond, who just wrote a book called "Rock And Roll Will Save Your Life." After bopping around his site for a bit (www.stevenalmond.com) I came upon "What's In Your Ears?" a section dedicated to electronically wailing about personal music obsessions (or being a "drooling fanatic"). I wailed about a bit, and then decided I might as well share it with my minuscule blog following (aka my roommate Amanda), too.
When I was in middle school our family took a vacation to visit my mom's college roommate in Sacramento. I got housed in their daughter's old room, since she had recently left the nest for more collegiate enterprises. I had brought with me my beloved case of CD's which, I must admit, contained A*Teens, The Backstreet Boys, and both Spice Girls albums (yes, they are albums, because I listened to them all the way through over and over with sparkles in my eyes wishing desperately I had been born British, not French and Polish or whatever my parents kept telling me).
When I went to play them in her massive CD player (which blew my mind at age twelve, but which I now realize was only so massive because at that point the raison d'etre of music tech was to get bigger, not smaller), I found a CD already in there. Being the curious preteen I was, I I decided to delve into the world of my quasi-cousin's music repertoire, if only to feel "cool" for a few moments before popping in my personal anthem (because every twelve year old has one) "Never Give Up On The Good Times." My ears were quickly greeted by a punkish guitar riff and a mysterious cackle in the background, before the Police plunged into their barely-recognized-by-me hit, "Roxanne."
It was nothing liked I'd ever heard before, with the reggae guitar popping off chords and Sting wailing about an octave higher than God intended him to sing. I sat and listened, enraptured by this music I considered "Daddy music" (because I was too cool to listen to anything my dad liked on the radio, and that's where I'd heard this before). Then came "Walking on the Moon," and it was like my stomach fell out from under me. I'd heard it before, in car commercials and in the background at department stores, but I'd never heard it so distinctly or with such clarity.
I listened to "Every Breath You Take: The Classics" every morning that week, alone as I got dressed, hoping the call for breakfast would come later and later so I could hear more of the CD (because I, of course, had to start at the beginning every time). When I went home, I began looking the Police on my own. And I began to fall in love.
Four years of high school were spent preaching the Gospel of Sting, explaining why Stewart Copeland's innovative poly rhythmic drumming techniques revolutionized the genre, and defending Andy Summer's simple yet powerful guitar riffs. I was obnoxious, especially in a crowd devoted to Jason Mraz and Outkast. I cursed the fact that I was clearly born two decades too late, swearing that if I could see one band play live it would be the Police, who pretty clearly were never getting back together.
On June 9th, 2007, in the eleventh row of the Pepsi Center in Denver, I stood next to my dad as we belted out all the words to "King Of Pain" and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." It was, hands down, the greatest night of my life.