Sharing [F/FB]

In a sense, doing this blog is a really strange thing for me. I’m more than happy to share my opinion with anyone about the music, movies, or games that I love, but I get nearly crippling anxiety when it comes to actually compelling them to sit down and experience the media I’m trying to recommend. It makes no sense, of course. Why would it matter if they like it or not, right? I mean, it’s not like it’s life or death or that they’ll stop being my friend, but I still get nervous.

The weird thing is that I don’t ever quite reach the point of comfort with even my closest friends. Recommending stuff to my brothers is usually pretty simple since I know them so well. It’s an uphill battle most of the time to even convince them that what I’m offering is worth spending time experiencing, but once they do, I’m right maybe 90% of the time about whether or not they’ll like it. There’s almost no stress involved unless you take away that family element…

If it was because of a specific, tragic event, I must have repressed it enough that I don’t even remember it, but I can honestly say that there are few things worse than that feeling you start to get in your gut when you can visibly see that they’re just really not feeling it. It was just a few weeks ago that I was in Chicago hanging out with a friend of mine who attends Northwestern.

“Duffy, you’ve got to hear these guys. This is the perfect music for warming you up in winter. They’re brilliant.”

The disc in question was Vampire Weekend’s latest, Contra. It’s this crazy indie rock album with these great worldbeat sounds. I don’t really understand why they call worldbeat worldbeat when they mean Afro-Caribbean, but that’s just me, I guess.

“Yeah, sure. Pop it in.”

It all goes south from there. Knowing myself, I know not to look directly at someone who is listening to something I’m making them listen to. It’s agonizing. The silence from her side of the car is deafening. I start counting the number of times that “Horchata” calls out that Koenig is drinking horchata in December. Her hands lower the volume knob twice during the first song. I try to shake it off.

“Eh…well I love it. It’s got a different sound to it and that’s really what attracts me to it, but I can see where you might not.”

She hadn’t even said a word, but I was defeated. The rest of the trip I let her control the radio as we alternated between country music, Lady Gaga, and Ke$ha (and the musical part of my soul died just a little bit).

I loved Sambomaster before I knew I loved Sambomaster, but when I read “changing the world in japanese“, a fantastic article about the band by tim rogers, I finally learned the band’s name and heard their best song. It’s hard to justify how much I love the band since I can’t understand a single lyric that Takashi Yamaguchi is saying, but the band’s music does mean a lot to me and I did my best to evangelize “Sono Nukumori ni Yō ga Aru” as best I could to my friends and family. Dave took to it instantly and even the difficult-to-please Duffy thought that the music was “alright”, but I was stonewalled when I sent it along to my good friend Min.

“Yeah, I just don’t like music in a language I can’t understand.”

I’m sure that part of the whole anxiety thing comes from your run-of-the-mill fear of rejection, but I think that it might also stem from the perhaps too extreme emotional connection that I make with my media. Many of my strongest memories are tied to the media I consume and I sometimes make these connections almost instantaneously.

One week before I went to Chicago, I was driving up to Ithaca with Min to meet up with some old friends. We were listening to podcasts and All Music Considered, one of NPR’s finest podcasts, came up with their Valentine’s Day episode featuring breakup songs. Each of the staff members presented a breakup song that had particular influence on their lives and one chose the Stars song “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”.

“Wow. That was amazing,” I told Min.

“Yeah. A friend of mine sent that to me in high school.”

I didn’t tell Min that the song touched me in a profound way, but I think he could tell from my reaction. If Min hadn’t been there in the car, I might have found myself crying. It just brought back so many memories about my long and damaging relationship with Ashley that it was overwhelming.

I’m not sorry I met you
I’m not sorry it’s over
I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save

It could be that my reluctance to share is preventing someone from learning about media that they’d never heard of before, (I think back to all the times I’ve successfully shared Arrested Development with friends), but then there are times when my nature is proven correct. I correctly balked at exposing my father to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, but he watched it anyway at the insistence of my brothers. He just didn’t get it.

There’s nothing like feeling that connection with someone over a shared experience. Having these interests in common gives us something to talk about and keeps conversation interesting. Maybe one day I’ll get over this fear of sharing. God knows I’m trying by writing this blog most days, even if I try to keep it a secret from most of the people I know.


10 responses to “Sharing [F/FB]”

  1. Danielle Avatar

    Sometimes it’s hard for me to like something right away. e.g. Dr. Horrible. At first I thought “ok, this is a bit weird” but then it grew on me and now I love it. So for certain things, you gotta listen/watch it more than once I think. But then again, there are other things where you see it once and think “oh hellz no, please don’t show me something like that every again.”

    1. Dan Avatar

      That’s definitely true. I still feel pretty awkward that first time if it doesn’t go over well, but I think I just need to lighten up.

  2. Min Avatar

    Well.. the way I see it, it’s a little like dumpster diving. I have to trudge through a lot of crap, but inevitably you’ll pass along something pretty awesome. :-p

    Joking of course. I actually really like most of the stuff(games, music, movies, books) that you send my way. Vampire Weekend was on the latest Sat. Night Live, and I was like “Hey! That’s the band Dan mentioned.” and didn’t skip over it like usual.

    And I totally agree with media being attached to memories. To this day, the smell of my parent’s basement still remind me of Starcraft(and vice-verse) because the summer it came out(when I was 12?), I spent pretty much every day down there playing that game.

  3. Eric Mesa Avatar

    I think everyone wants to share with others, it’s why there was copying to tapes before there were MP3s. I remember being bummed that Danielle, who I considered the closest thing to such a thing as a soul mate, didn’t quite get Five Iron Frenzy. It’s because I focused on the Pants Rock Opera. When she heard other songs, especially The End is Near, she really warmed up to the band. I get bummed when others don’t get the things I’m trying to share, but I’ve never seen someone as affected as you. In fact, the only time I get really bummed is if someone won’t at least wait until the end of the (video,song,etc) to tell me they didn’t like it.

    I don’t know why I have such an aversion to recommendations from you because at least 80% of the time, I end up liking or loving it. I think it may be the way you describe things to me. I can’t remember the exact words you used, but when you and Dave tried to convince me to watch Ali G, I thought it sounded like the worst movie that could ever be created. But, when I saw it a few years later, I thought it was one of the funniest low-brow comedies I’d ever seen. Other things like The Office or Arrested Development you just happened to be showing someone else an episode really far into the show, so the jokes didn’t work as well because I didn’t have a connection with the characters.

    1. Dan Avatar

      I tend to show people things assuming they’ll hate it. Maybe if I were more confident that they would love it then the recommendations would go through easier.

  4. inkyeagle Avatar

    I’d, personally, really encourage the sharing. I love getting recommendations because it’s too hard for me to be finding new music otherwise. But it’s a tricky process. I’ve got a friend in Madison, and pretty much every time we hang out it results in us playing music for each other. If you sit me down, explain why you like it and point out parts you think are cool, almost guaranteed, I’ll appreciate it if not love it. If I have to listen to it by myself, there’s a good chance it’ll be lost on me, especially the first time.

    Vampire Weekend is a perfect example. For some reason, I have an aversion to the actual band, so it took me a long time to actually try to listen to their music, and even longer to decide I liked it (at least what I’ve heard off Contra). Phoenix is another example – love their music but only after a friend forced me to listen to one of their songs.

    My current new finds: Big Pink (listen to Dominos) or The Black Ghosts (listen to Repetition Kills You)

    1. Dan Avatar

      I’m glad that you appreciate them. I won’t stop, don’t worry.

      Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll check them out when I get the chance tonight.

  5. Sambofc Avatar

    Well Dan, you can share your Sambomaster music to me because I’m a huge fan. Come and check out my Sambomaster fan channel. If you want to talk more about Sambomaster or Japanese rock, you can IM me at or daoFM (AIM).

    1. Dan Avatar

      I’ll definitely be keeping in touch because I love the Japanese rock scene, but I don’t really know what to check out without guidance.

      It’s great to meet another Sambomaster fan. You got your hands on きみのためにつよくなりたい yet? I might ask a friend going to Japan this fall to pick it up for me.

  6. […] listened to All Songs Considered. Their episode on break-up songs featured this track by Stars and it blew me away. Always makes me think of Ashley. Nearly makes me cry plenty of times. This song is brutal and […]

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