Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. After watching a few music videos, I wouldn't be surprised if that band made you think mary jane or just plain creepy. Seriously, most of the videos I watched consisted of either a portrait shot of Tom Petty while the background changed or Tom Petty doing something creepy like filming people or dancing with a corpse. It's almost ruined my admiration for his music. Almost.
But I hear the first chords of American Girl or Free Fallin' (John Mayer should not have touched that song) and I feel grounded and safe. I remember my dad teaching me to sing "yer so bad", his black pick-up truck, and being asked if my grandpa's truck was better than my dad's. I think about summer and roadtrips and nights around a campfire. I wouldn't say that my life views are anywhere similar to Tom Petty's, but for some reason, I connect to his music.
I'm betting most of that connection has less to do with lyrics (I have no idea what a dance with mary jane would be like) and more with association. I associate Tom Petty and a lot of older rock music with my dad and since I generally like my dad, listening to that music makes me happy. It's not a new idea. But it made me wonder how much of my musical taste has been shaped by associating memories with music. Could my ipod be a history of my life? An autobiographical act? I think so, but then what story does my ipod tell? I'm still figuring that one out.