This is recommended reading. While much like the author of this article (found on a site called "Pop Matters" of all things) J.D. Salinger's much renowned novel had little impact on me during my angst-filled teenage years. In fact, I'd go as far to declare that The Catcher in the Rye was a terrible read for yours truly. To put it bluntly: I hated it. I didn't relate to the protagonist at all. While this book is required reading for most English speakers in North America, it has very little impact on a young Paul. Most of my peers, however, seemed to get quite a bit from the novel (which probably goes to show how strange I was as a teenager). I just found the whole thing phony.
Where this somewhat strange and lengthy article connects with my own youth is in the impact of Jethro Tull's early albums on my psyche. I did find the words and music that Ian Anderson penned in the early 70s spoke more honestly to my own troubles and fears than J.D. Salinger's prose ever did. Unlike this article's author, I was discovering this ambitious music in the form of used vinyl discarded when folks of his age were trading them in for shiny compact discs.
One thing to note is that Ian was in his 20s when he wrote of these rather mature and provocative subjects. It just goes to show that perhaps my own concern for such things isn't entirely unheard of at my present age. It all fits together. My music, my interests and my cynicism. Who knows?
J.D. Salinger and Jethro Tull: The Coming of Age Story Soundtrack < Features | PopMatters:
"As it happens, when I first experienced The Catcher in the Rye I was in the early (but intense) stages of what became a lifelong love of Jethro Tull. Which naturally coincided with my burgeoning obsession with all-things progressive rock, which happened to coincide with the release of so many classic recordings on that new-fangled technical revelation called compact discs. It would be near impossible for anyone who didn’t live through those days to imagine a world when you waited for anything: i-Pods and online access have made everything that has ever happened available, immediately."