My Songs (original compositions and
Music of China
My musical tastes have changed a lot through time; as with books I'll
try to make up a sort of timeline sometime. Here's a very rough start.
- The earliest songs I remember specifically liking were "Your Mama Donít
Dance " by Loggins and Messina and "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" by Jim Croce.
These came out in 1972 and 1973, so I would have been around 7 or 8 years
- I listened mostly to mid to late 70's pop until high school. A
particularly favorite album was Billy Joel's Glass Houses. I
also loved Fleetwood Mac and Steely Dan.
- In junior high a nun played Rice and Lloyd-Webber's Jesus Christ
Superstar for us in some class (probably religion) and I loved it.
My parents had the album and I played it over and over, something like 100
- During high school, mainly thanks to the influence of my friend Larry
Sparrow, I discovered art rock which would become the mainstay of my musical
taste into early college. Pink Floyd became my favorite group, and
The Wall my favorite album, which I played even more than I had played
Jesus Christ Superstar earlier. I bought all of their albums
and listened to them often. I also loved Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Roxy
Music, Brian Eno and most of the other art rock groups and artists.
Larry also introduced me to Todd Rundgren who would be a lasting favorite.
- At some point in college I discovered Philip Glass and Steve Reich, and
Einstein on the Beach became my new favorite album (I was later able
to see it performed in Tokyo twice, which was an incredible experience).
Thanks to MIT's Tech Show 85: Estate of Mind I became an instant fan
of musicals, a genre I had disdained before, and in particularly found I
loved Sondheim. At some point I became a big fan of Burt Bacharach as
- When I started exploring Japanese culture in the late 80s I discovered
Japanese music as well, and in particular loved Yano Akiko, but there were
plenty of other artists including Matsutoya Yumi (Yuming), Yamashita Tatsuro,
Kina Shoukichi, and Ohguro Maki, Speed, Tanimura Yumi, and so forth.
Shiina Ringo would become a favorite much later.
- Japanese pop, along with some Western pop, would sustain me for quite a
while. I also would be interested from time to time in other genres such as
salsa, Irish music, Chinese and Taiwanese pop, Chinese traditional music
(especially Beijing Opera), and much more. I tried from time to time
to listen to jazz but never managed to find it interesting. I also
flirted from time to time with classical music.
- Finally at some point I ran out of new popular music that I enjoyed.
I stopped listening to music at all for a while, I think, and then around
2005 started to explore both the ethnomusic ensembles at UCLA (joining Music
of China, and later Music of Korea) and western classical music. I
finally dove into latter whole-heartedly, listening to and learning about an
enormous amount of music in just a couple years. I've found I seem to
like music in the German tradition the most (Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven,
Brahms, Wagner, Mahler and Schoenberg). Wagner took a lot of time and
effort to like, but it was well worth it and he's one of my favorites.
After that it was surprisingly easy to enjoy Schoenberg once I actually
tried listening to him, and he's one of my very favorite composers now (late