What defines "good" music? Simply put, it's anything that moves me, literally. If I bob my head, tap my foot, or impulsively shake my hips... then the music MUST be good. If I have what I refer to as an "out of body" experience when a song comes on, the chords reverberate off of the walls, the singers voice travels into my chest and makes a home there, my eyes look up to the sky, turn to glass, and I can see me listening to the sounds of the song... then, it's GREAT music.
And, YES, this has happened to me numerous times. The first time, I was 11 and it was listening to Nine Inch Nails "Closer" blaring out through the walls of my sister's bedroom. The world blurred at the edges as I pressed my ear against the wall. I was scared and intrigued. Before that moment, I had kept my attraction to the "dark side" somewhat silent (I mean c'mon, I was 11 for chrissakes). But in that moment, hearing the grinding guitars, raw sonic noise, and those deliciously lascivious lyrics, I could see into the future, and it was me listening avidly to whatever music this man produced.
The second time was when I first played Nine Inch Nails "Pretty Hate Machine", and the song "Something I can Never Have" began with those first somber piano chords. I was 13, sitting crosslegged on the floor of my loft bedroom, and I looked up out of my skylight to the rainy world outside, felt the tears well up, felt a void inside me fill, and then felt whole. I knew I had just met the musical love of my life. He still is.
The moment of musical enlightenment would, can, and still continues to this day. I may not know of every band, may not be up to speed with every music movement ever... but I know what music can do for me, and I respect it in a way that can only be referred to as reverence. Other groups have managed to create that auditory ecstacy I've described to you at varying degrees, they went on to become favorites as well... Rasputina, Bauhaus, The Creatures, The Smiths, Siouxsie and the Banshees, etc. and most recently, Patrick Wolf.
OK, So, I am SURE ya'll have heard of these guys... but they were new to me when I had discovered them.
Also, I have only RECENTLY finally chosen to fully immerse myself in modern music culture... I have been a fan of Pandora for a while now, and just received Sirius XM Radio as a Christmas gift (does my family know and love me or what?!) So, if you're like me and looking for new (or maybe not-so new) tunes, check these guys out:
My Brightest Diamond
Antony and the Johnsons
They're cool, man. Who knows, perhaps my next out of body soundscape is amongst those names. I look forward to finding out.