my girlfriend at the time had told me a simple statement that, at the time, i thought was really controversial:
and at the time, i just wasn't buying it. Back when i was 14, i was mostly just into bands like the mars volta, (still love em, but that's besides the point.)
if anyone isn't familiar with mars volta, basically, the more dissonant, weird, radio-unfriendly, and off-putting you were, the better.
but every now-and-then we'd listen to the songs on her ipod, one earbud each, because admittedly she knew how to like more than one artist at a time, (a skill i'm not so sure i've picked up to this day)
and i had given in because the song salt pepa and spinderella was so unbelievably catchy, and the song our bipolar friends, guitar-wise sounded like nothing i had ever heard before.
i added them to the list of bands i had mad respect for and... joined their mailing list for whenever they would occassionally send out free b-sides and band news.
for whatever reason, i had never bought any of their albums, and so i was ignorant to the wonderful worlds i could have been exploring continually since basically '08.
i did get to see them live once in 2010. At a los campesinos!-headlined show of all things. (more on that later, for sure.) i even got to meet alexei and kelly! but i'm sure to them i was this weird teenager that kept following them around and making them uncomfortable. (now i'm probably an adult that does that.)
sometime in late-ish 2017, i was just a little burnt-out on all the bands i had been listening to. i had never used music streaming up to that point in any real capacity because i had always just used the audio file collection that i had built up. Then i got a music streaming subscription and everything changed for me.
i won't say what streaming service i got then (it wasn't spotify) because i don't want to advertise or endorse it. but it was like i had so many options that i never had before. i couldn't listen to everything, sure. but i suddenly had access to more music than i could listen to even in probably hundreds of lifetimes.
i don't know what made me pick johnny foreigner specifically in the crowd of hundreds of bands i respected but whose discographies i hadn't deep-dived into, but i did and i haven't been able to shut up about them since.
i naturally started with their proper debut* album waited up til it was light and that album was all i could listen to for months. listening to that album on repeat in late 2017 felt like i could suddenly breathe with ease when i couldn't before, and that air was fresh. it felt like the world suddenly had all these colors i had never noticed before, and those colors were gorgeous.
what's crazy is that i'm not going to pretend this is or was a grandiose artsy album with grand cosmic significance™, but the album is just pure fun. and maybe that's just exactly what i needed in that time in my life in late 2017. i suppose then, there's an argument to be made that this band wouldn't have affected me nearly as much if i dove in in 2008, but i honestly think i would have obsessed over them anyway. But i digress.
eventually, of course i moved on to devouring all their other albums and b-sides, and in may of 2018, i switched music subscription services to spotify. Johnny Foreigner has been my most listened-to artist on spotify every year since. i think for 2018 and 2019, i listened to them an utterly disgusting ~120 hours each year.
this band was so unbelievably good and catchy to my ears, i just had to share them with someone. And what an incredibly lonely inexperience that's been. Despite my best efforts, i have not been able to get anyone to fall in love or even really in like with this band. there's probably something to be said about craving validation so badly that i feel i need someone around me to like my favorite band, but again, i'd be lying if i said loving this band wasn't a really lonely experience
if i say that this band has been life-changingly good for me, there's a few reasons for that
this band has introduced me to a ton of tangential genres that i wouldn't have known about or tried otherwise.
this band has introduced me to two artists who have quickly also become some of my all-time favorites (NNAMDÏ and Los Campesinos!)
i guess what i'm really trying to say is my first girlfriend was right.
to be continued