Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Synapse to the Beat: Mariah Carey's "Dreamlover"

Have you ever heard Cannibal Corpse? Horrible, ugly stuff. Or, let's put it in a kinder way: it's an approach to music that is really radically different from approaches that I prefer. To be dead honest, I can't really envision how someone can stand to listen to more than a minute of it of his own free will.

I have listened to much more than a minute of Cannibal Corpse, and not through my own free will (well, you couold argue that not cutting off my ears was a free-will decision). My second year of university, I shared a house with a handful of people, one of whom was what you might call a 'heavy metal aficionado'. He was a great guy, but he blared the heaviest of heavy metal music pretty much night and day.

I can remember looking through his CDs. This was, when I was of university age, a perfectly reasonable sign of cameraderie and not a violation of privacy. Now safely in my mid-thirties, the act of looking through someone's music collection seems akin to snooping through their medicine cabinet, but I guess things were different then. I can't remember all of the names there, but I do remember Metallica, I do remember Pantera. I remember Slayer. Megadeth. Sepultura, who did some Brazilian things every now and then. Cannibal Corpse, as mentioned above, the worst of the lot. And... Mariah Carey.

And not just one random CD, either, but a whack-load of Mariah Carey CDs. And not merely 'some CDs left over from a previous era of musical taste'. Mariah Carey was the only non-metal stuff he owned. The juxtaposition was comical, but I'd seen weirder. Another person I was living with at the time had all kinds of cool 'positivity' hip-hop like the Digable Planets but for some reason also owned a bunch of Allman Brothers CDs. That's probably even weirder.

No, what makes this guy memorable is his response when I asked him why he had the Mariah Carey CDs: "Are you kidding? She's hot!" I couldn't really argue with that: I don't know if she's the hottest woman in the world or not, but she's certainly pleasant to look at. But... look at. Not listen to. Wait... I'd sooner listen to Mariah Carey than Cannibal Corpse, but (a) neither are to my taste, and (b) thinking a girl is 'hot' is no reason I can think of to listen to her music. And listen he did - if the CDs were merely expensive eye candy for ogling purposes, I guess I could understand it. I'd find it weird (this was pre-internet but certainly a "Playboy" could be had for less money than a major label CD, and certainly Sears catalogues were easy to come by), but I could understand it. But he really did listen to those CDs. It would be something like this:
  1. "Under the Rotted Flesh" by Cannibal Corpse
  2. "Spill the Blood" by Slayer
  3. "Slaves of Pain" by Sepultura
  4. "Message in Blood" by Pantera
  5. "Dreamlover" by Mariah Carey
  6. "Vomit the Soul" by Cannibal Corpse
It was about as bizarre as it gets.

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