Saturday Late Morning Jukebox: How Did I Miss These?
There will forever be a great thrill in discovering music. I can remember the pleasure I took at 15 whenever the local college radio station played something I’d never heard before. I’m 31 now and still get a hop in my step when enjoying something that had previously been unknown. Frankly, I assume that the rush will remain just as potent when I’m 62.
That said, I’ve recently been having experiencing more of the following, something that’s close but not exactly what I described above: the revelation of music I should have already heard. The most obvious explanation to me is that this is a function of aging (it is awfully hard to hear music before it exists), but it does not make it any less frustrating to discover songs that I could have spent years listening to. So much time that could have been spent enjoying those songs has slipped away.
There is no sense dwelling though. These things happen, no matter how inexplicably, and it is better to have discovered late than to never have discovered at all. Here are two examples of what I’m talking about: Ghostface Killa’s “Daytona 500” and Daft Punk’s “High Life.” In both cases, they’re songs I should have heard (and enjoyed) much earlier, but for whatever reason, they escaped my attention. Whether it was my own indifference (likely) or a suspicious disbelief in the recommendations I had received for both (also likely), I can distinctly remember being taken aback when coming across both in recent weeks, and then, recoiling when I realized both were older works that could have been on my playlists for years.
There’s no good reason for me to only just now be discovering Ghostface Killah’s solo work. His performances have been praised since the debut of the Wu-Tang Clan and his 2006 album Fish Scale is amongst the most beloved of any of the individual records that the group’s members released. “Daytona 500” is off of Ghostface Killah’s first album (Ironman): it is four minutes of non-stop flow, and if you think that reads ridiculous coming from a 31-year-old white guy, let it be known that I’m standing with you. But how else would you describe it? The dirty, 1970’s sounding sampled bass line? The relentless delivery? These are the things that I would have considered right in my wheelhouse, from the age of 18 until today, and yet I had never heard the track until Ta-Nahesi Coates wrote of it several weeks ago. Since hearing it that first time, I made up for lost time and have now heard it at least 10,000 more times.
Here again, I struggle to generate any sort of explanation for having missed this. I should have heard this earlier. I would swear that I heard Discovery in its entirely upon its release. It may have been that it simply did not catch my ear at the tme. It may have been the fact that I was 21-years-old and became a father 18 days later. It may have been that I simply was not paying attention.
Whatever the case, I now have both songs in my life, and although I regret not having had the opportunity or awareness to enjoy either earlier, I am certainly doing my damndest to make up for all that lost time.
(This hasn’t been my only recent discovery of music that should have been heard long ago. I will also, as a jumping off point, note Beck’s “Go It Alone”, a great song that I missed largely because I generally miss Beck. The real world’s depressing enough without listening to him wallow in his own sadness, no matter how good he apparently is at doing so.)