Monday, June 29, 2009

we recommend this upcoming week to you

I thought about giving some structure to this blog, because my life lacks it lately. Therefore, this upcoming week - loosely defined, temporally speaking - I'm going to re-recommend and revisit some albums that I'd, you know, like, recommend to you and stuff.

I don't really consider myself a music writer in the traditional sense. That's the purview of my better half and everyone I know.

But lately I feel pretty discouraged by academia and academic film / media writing, so I'll escape back to my old reasoning, which is that the best writing, all good writing, has a natural rhythm, cadence, and tone to it which relates it so closely to music that there's no real difference, if there's anything good about either of them. That's media, that's patterns. That's light on a screen, that's narrative - that's stories; that's chiaroscuro lighting; that's all art. It doesn't matter by what medium you call it or what studio you enter.

Wow, that was pretentious.

I might have synesthesia.

Firefox doesn't know that word.


I'm not really an album person.


I suppose I am a dreaded, hated "millennial" in that until I discovered Ye Olde Internet, music, or what I understood music to be, did not affect my life much. Music was the crap on the radio that the really dumb kids at school listened to; even I could tell, at the age of 13, that top 40 was contrived by corporations and nothing was spontaneous or populist.

I grew up in a town with no book store and no record store.

It was a town 100% devoid of any culture whatsoever, like a mark of pride, or maybe the mark of the beast. The town library had shelves & shelves of purple prose romance novels, but not one book by Faulkner. Everyone there knew who I was, because, in a crazy bizarro version of the village idiot, I was the Village Smart Person. I am not saying that to be smug or arrogant. i am saying that because that's how it was.

We did have a mall. It grew and grew, like a cancer, a crazy, gauche, grotesque microcosm of America, or maybe because i'm from The Real Amerikkka or something.

I went away to college; now that mall has to be visible from space. There's an Olive Garden there now. And a Borders, even. That is the most unthinkable milestone I could think of, for the town in which I grew up (note deliberate lack of use of term "hometown") to suddenly have a place where you can just walk in and buy a book, culture as handed down from the executive suites of corporate conglomerates. Oh, and a latte. Crazy. I don't know what the other three horsemen are.



It was only when, in the cold basement of the McMansion of my adolescence that I began to devote hours of my life to hunting down songs with 2400 baud spears that I discovered things other than the pabulum given me by post-apocalyptic, post-Reagan corporate homogenized culture. So like my attention span, my understanding of the concept of the album was post-haste assembled, not quite natural. It was really only in college that I began listening to music as discrete albums or wholes. Perhaps it is a mark of my uselessness as a human being, my place in time and history as a member of the most post-apocalyptic generation. The fact that despite my many useless degrees, I still honestly cannot afford to download albums from iTunes or buy them in stores.

Therefore, this week's selections will reflect that, so I ask you - discerning blog readers of excruciating taste! - to bear with me a little bit; I grew up in the cultural equivalent of like Ethiopia or something.

Thus, so this week I'm going to try to revisit, from a purely textual standpoint - because honestly, most music writing annoys me (sorry, everyone I know. YOUR writing is okay) - 5 albums that I Recommend To You (TM). The reason this is different is because:

1. They're not new albums
2. I don't think I'm coming at it from a typical-music-writing-perspective
3. I need to tell myself this because I have nothing else going for me right now
4. As a failure of the music education system, despite ?9? years of music education, I don't know the right ways to use music terms to talk about music anyway and I know just enough to want to die after reading the first 5 pages of Music Theory for Dummies.

That was a really long introduction, wasn't it?

So, I think I'll leave it at that.


Thus, right now's recommendation is that You Tune in later (what the hell do you say on a blog? Blog in later? Eyeball in later? Focus your gnat-like attention span in later?) for the first recommendation.

I may forget about this whole thing by Wednesday, but, again, in the repurposed words of Will Sheff, put to better use by my better half, its flaws are what made us have fun, right?


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