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Indulging my inner teenager

Tamara Miller

It’s been a long time since I bought a CD, popped it into my stereo and liked every single song on the album.

The first time I ever felt that way was when I bought The Cure’s “Disintegration.” I was 13, and was just beginning my love affair with modern music. That album didn’t just strike a chord with me musically, it became one of the most defining experiences in my life. I played it everyday for months, and never grew tired of listening to lead singer Robert Smith’s wail, the thunderous bass line on track 7, “Fascination Street” and soon developed an affinity for wearing black all the time, even in the middle of a Kansas summer.

I was an avid fan of new and progressive music and used to stay up until the wee hours of the night to watch MTV’s alternative rock show, “120 Minutes.” Knowing the latest and greatest (and weirdest band) wasn’t just a hobby, it became part of my identity in high school. I was Hutchinson High School’s source on alternative music.



Ah, but age and maturity has ways of tempering such passions. Over time, my obsession became more of a general awareness. Favorite bands seemed to be putting out disappointingly lame albums. Everything on the college radio sounded the same. My once-reliable source for learning about great, unique bands, Spin magazine, put pop princess Natalie Imbruglia on the cover. And MTV quit playing music all together.

A semester spent covering the Lawrence music scene for my college newspaper sealed the end. Who knew that rock musicians were so boring, so predictable so … not that cool? I became convinced that the industry quit producing good bands around 1993. I was no longer on top of what was new, what was great, because nothing seemed new and great any more. I picked up other hobbies: hiking, wine tasting, hair dyeing. The love affair was over.

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Years passed. I graduated from college, got a job, got married, bought a house. Became a real adult.

Then, about a year ago, my husband brought home a CD. Seems he had ripped a few songs off of the Los Angeles NPR station, KCRW – a reliable source for unique music in its own right. He popped it into our CD player and the opening strains of Interpol’s “NYC” came through the speaker. And suddenly, I was in love again.

There’s something about adulthood that forces you to lose that ability to become truly excited about anything anymore. New experiences – a trip to an ethnic restaurant, meeting someone from a different country – just don’t have the same charm. Maybe it’s because we kid ourselves into thinking that being blase and unaffected is somehow more sophisticated, more mature. Well, I forgot all about that when I hurried down to a music store and picked up Interpol’s first album.



Call it a rebirth, call it whatever you want, but I’ve started a new, yet more restrained, interest in modern music again. Lately our spending habits have included trips to the grocery story and trips to Amazon.com. In the last year I’ve bought more CDs than in the previous six years combined.

It’s almost like I’m 16 again. Lately, I’ve been taking the long way home from so I can listen to the entire length of Interpol’s second album, “Antics.” It’s been out for months but I still haven’t grown tired of lead singer Paul Bank’s baritone, the almost sing-song melody on track 5, “Slow Hands.” We even went so far as to drive down to Denver Sunday night to see them play at the Fillmore. A Sunday night! And I had to work the next day!

Don’t worry, I don’t plan on changing my wardrobe anytime soon. Though, I have been wearing a lot more black lately.


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