I've always been a musical person. I took piano lessons from the age of 3 until I graduated from high school; I sang in choir in middle school, taught piano lessons in high school, and took a leap into a cappella in college. Strangely, though, I rarely fell in love with an artist or a band the way teenagers supposedly do, going crazy over new albums and spending all their hard-earned (barely-earned?) cash on concert tickets and posters and memorabilia. Instead, I tended to listen to whatever came on the radio, with a preference for alternative stations but taking plenty of guilty pleasure in Top 40 hits and catchy-trashy Pop.
Recently, however, I've finally fallen into my own taste in music. I'm sure it will change over time, it changes not only with my mood but also by season, by the timbre of my heart. All of the music I've been listening to for about the last year or so has been similar: female vocalists, plenty of melodic development, narrative lyrics, varied harmonies, and rhythms that make me conduct an invisible band as I listen.
Specifically, these artists are playing in my headphones or at least in my head: Adele, Florence + the Machine, Ingrid Michaelson, Hem (a very new find: thanks, Pandora!), Regina Spektor, Sara Bareilles.
Ingrid Michaelson just came out with a new album, Human Again, today: As soon as I got an email saying that my preorder was ready, I couldn't wait to download it and listen. Something about her songs make me want to close my eyes and let the narratives just wash over me; this album is no exception (I'm listening now!) and in many ways, it's her best so far. The sound is different than before, more textured and developed with a larger cast of instruments. In many ways, it feels like the perfect combination for my ears: a complex sound that appeals to my classical training (I'm always trying to anticipate the next chord change and they're not always obvious) but with the lyric and modern qualities of a good novel. At the same time, it pulls on my heartstrings, it strikes an emotional chord almost déjà entendu. (I feel inspired: it makes me want to write, to draw, to paint, to create something myself.)
I wish I didn't have to spend tomorrow studying. All I want to do is put on this album and absorb it, bask in it as I would the sun.