If I were to organize my record collection based on when I get each record, it would start with a copy of The Doors, make its way through 45s of The Everly Brothers’ “All I Have to Do is Dream” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and end with my recent acquisition of Sleater-Kinney’s Dig Me Out, a reissue of a 90s riot grrrl classic, but new nonetheless. One thing I’ve learned is not to judge a record collection by the first Tina Turner album you come across. As main character Rob admits after his newly returned girlfriend Laura has forced him to look at the CD collection of a friend’s, “Maybe, given the right set of peculiar, freakish, probably unrepeatable circumstances, it’s not what you like but what you’re like that’s important.”
The book High Fidelity tells the story of former DJ, current record store owner Rob as he recounts his relationships, including his current trouble with Laura, and tries to find meaning in his job of selling records at a largely unvisited record shop. Lots of pop culture references and tongue-in-cheek music snob jokes – probably why I liked the book so much and finished it very quickly.
Not sure if I should admit this, but I identify with Rob. I not only see myself in him because his life revolves around music, but also because of how anxious he is when it comes to socializing and expectations for him and his life. I, too, have questions – nay, doubts – about love and relationships. I, too, see the world and the people around me based on the music closely associated to it and them. I, too, do not know what will come next for me. But in the meantime, I’ll throw on a record.
My Top 5 Songs of All-Time
“Use Me” – Bill Withers
“Black Dog” – Led Zeppelin
“Graceland” – Paul Simon
“Holland, 1945″ – Neutral Milk Hotel
“Gloria” – Patti Smith