Monday, June 28, 2004

Yeah? Yeah. Yeah!

I didn't catch all of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' performance at the MTV Movie Awards owing to an ill-timed bathroom break, but I was enraptured by it anyway.

It's strange, watching the Y3's not-an-act act for the first time. I mean, you know I love their music. I haven't stopped playing Fever to Tell since Margie brought it back from the US, and you know how I think "Maps" is one of the best love songs ever written. But the song was almost incidental to what I loved about their MTV Movie Awards performance--now I get what all the magazine articles have been saying about Karen O and her wondrous stage presence. Nick Zinner might be the musical genius behind their music, but it's Karen who draws you in. And what she has is not stage presence of the look-at-me kind that actors and Madonna might possess--it's not theatricality. What it looks like to me is sheer joy. She looked so awed by everything--by the music that they were making, by the words coming out of her mouth, by the stage design, by the audience--that she looked lost in way that was both naive and sincere.

I miss that. Truth to tell, I don't remember the last time I enjoyed myself at a gig that much. I don't even remember the last time I didn't leave a gig early. Maybe it has to do with my age and my now-aching-back, or maybe it does have something to do with the job and how I'm constantly on Reviews mode, assessing the music and giving it oranges in my head.

But last night, after dropping off Margie at her house, I drove around for about an hour or so, listening to some music. Wasting gas, I know, but it wasn't something I could do just plugged into my Discman at home. Music is still, to me, an event. It's important, and it's something I would find time and space for. I don't always understand it, and I don't always think about why I love it so--I just do, sometimes. I'm still able to listen to music and enjoy it just for being there.

What I'm saying is, I'm glad I haven't lost that kind of naivete when it comes to music. I like that, despite being a professional (ahem) in the industry, I'm still an amateur at heart, in the best sense of the word: "a person who engages in an art, science, study, or athletic activity as a pastime rather than as a profession." Looking into the etymology of amateur, we're reminded that it comes from the Latin root amare, "to love."

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