Friday, November 27, 2015

JK Rowling and music

I saw a clever meme today that said basically you can tell more about a person by their choice of music than you can by their race, religion or sexual preferences. That sounds pretty right on to me.

I just finished reading JK Rowling's latest book, Career of Evil (Ms Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith).  She quotes Blue Öyster Cult throughout the book in chapter headings and, well, elsewhere in the book - and that's all I'm saying about that. You'll get no spoilers from me. At any rate, I figure that Ms Rowling must like the band.

I closed the book and thought about it a moment. I could't recall a single BÖC tune, even though Ms. Rowling provided a list of song references and permissions at the end that should have prompted even my faulty memory.

If you know anything about me, you know that my musical preferences run towards the instrumental, specifically that of the genius guitarist, Jimmy Page. I don't dislike lyrics, but lyric-heavy at the expense of musical development just doesn't make it for me. Over the years I've gotten more and more picky about it. Back in the day I listened to my share of Arlo Guthry and Bob Dylan, but what really called to my soul was the melodies, the riffs, the rhythms of the instruments - with voice as instrument, not as conveyor of language. 

Real music. Not poetry set to a tune.

So over time I indulged myself more and more until now days and weeks can go by with nothing but music that features Jimmy Page coming out of the speakers. Obviously this means I haven't even thought about, much less listened to, BÖC in years. I liked the book. I figured if JK Rowling likes the band that much I should give them a listen. I tried half a dozen songs on for size this evening.

Oh boy. I won't be listening to BÖC for another 40 years or so. Maybe I'll like them better then. Enough said.

So about that meme. What does Ms. Rowling's musical choice for the novel tell me about her?

Well, BÖC is an American band, for one thing, and that means Ms. Rowling is not stuck on British music. That's nice but not earth shattering. No, what jumps out at me after listening to the band and thinking about her inclusion of their work in the book is that JK Rowling likes Blue Öyster Cult for their lyrics, not their music. 

But you probably figured that out before I did. 

Still, its nice to know this new truth about JK Rowling.  It's not earth shattering but it tells me something important about her that I didn't know before: I probably wouldn't want to be stuck in a car with her on a long trip if we had to listen to her playlist.