I have not been writing nearly enough and it’s bringing me down, so I’m going to skip the usual liner notes and jump straight to the album for inspiration.
1) “Straight in at 101,” Los Campesinos! I’m not sure how I feel about thinking in social media terms. I spend a good deal of time doing mental likes when I read or listen to conversations, and I become disappointed when I hear something tremendously entertaining that I can’t share here or on The Facebook (yes, I have boundaries, although they porous). Recently I had a hilarious exchange that ended with someone saying, “I couldn’t come in a condom if I fucked for 12 hours.” My first thought was that I wanted to go out and share the whole thing, but for confidentiality reasons I can only offer the punchline and not the setup. Other times I encounter something that I can share and immediately stop paying attention to the rest of the conversation because I’m trying to remember the wording for a status update. I fear this has already made me stupider than I was B.Z. (Before Zuckerberg).
2) “Pyramid Song,” Amnesiac. I like Radiohead, but I rarely find myself fired up to listen to Radiohead. Maybe some of the songs on The Bends and occasionally “Let Down.” Usually I’m more subdued, thinking, “oh, Radiohead, nice,” which makes me wonder if I actually like them or am just being a pretentious music tool.
3) “Let Them Eat Rock,” Upper Crust. I have mixed feelings about the Wall Street occupation protests. Not mixed because of the occupation—I feel like those protestors should have broken into the posh boardrooms and left behind some toxic assets of their own. But the whole thing feels too disjointed to be effective. Maybe it’s because my perception has been filtered through the media, which decided the whole thing was disjointed five minutes after it started and will hold onto that view like a dog chomping down on its favorite chew toy. But part of me wonders if there is an inherent disjointedness in liberal protest and grass-roots movements, a tendency to say, “discover your desks, children” instead of trying to focus on certain messages that would resonate more, because that would make it less grass-roots and more movement. Consequently, instead of these protests raising serious questions about wealth, money, and influence, we're listening to people discuss the presidential merits of the CEO of the worst pizza chain in the country who just unveiled one of the most regressive federal tax plans in history. All of this is making Canada sound more appealing to me, plus moving there would significantly increase my chances of meeting Rush, dazzling them with my wit, and being invited to join the band as an honorary fourth member (a fantasy that’s only slightly less realistic than “President Dennis Kucinich.”)
4) “Destroy 2000 Years of Culture,” Atari Teenage Riot. Of course, then I hear something like this and want to cut off the head of the Wall Street bull and put it in the bed of the Goldman Sachs CEO. Maybe we need more screaming Germans telling us what to do.
5) “All Right (Oh Yeah),” Local H. Pack Up the Cats gets on my list of Seriously Underrated Albums of the 1990s, but making lists like that also gets on my list of Tired Memes I Should Stop Doing. Except I can’t help myself. I make lists all the time, sometimes just for myself, and then argue mentally with what’s on the list of the order. Like, should Pack Up the Cats be on the Seriously Underrated list or on the Seriously Overlooked list because it was a pretty well-received album? The lesson here: You should feel sorry for The Lovely Becky for having to live with this.
6) “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” KT Tunstall. I try not to get too hung up on whether music falls into the dude or dudette category. After all, I unabashedly have proclaimed serious love for “Since U Been Gone” and at least one Paramore song—how much masculine shame could I possibly have left in the testosterone tank? But KT Tunstall does inspire a bit of guy guilt. I’m sitting home alone right now listening to this and I still feel a little bit wimpy for not just listening to this, but liking it. The worst part is that recognizing how stupid that is has absolutely no impact on how I feel.
7) “Changes,” David Bowie. So the Arab Spring has turned into the Arab Ass-Whooping. TLB asked me yesterday if I had seen the Quadaffi/Gaddafi/Raffi/Saltwatertaffy death pictures. Surprisingly I hadn’t, save for a brief glimpse of some blurry video on Anderson Cooper (which I shouldn’t bother watching because all I can think about is how dreamy he is instead of whatever catastrophe he’s discussing). This is another sign of Internet overload. Ten years ago I would have been online looking for grisly Dangling Chadaffi death video. Now it takes something more than just a bloodied body to catch my viewing attention, especially when there are so many cute pets doing AMAZING tricks to grab my clicks.
This is also a lesson to any kids out there thinking they want to be a dictator. Remember, someday you’ll be in a spider hole or an irrigation ditch or a Romanian funhouse/presidential mansion, being dragged to your (hopefully) quick death by the very people who once praised you for convincing them to confess their love for you after 37 hours of “enhanced” interrogation. In the interim, you only get to have endless wealth and complete power for three, maybe four decades, tops. So resist the urge to stage a coup and instead stay in school, get your law degree, and take oodles of PAC money so you can rise to power the legitmate way, lest you someday be cornered in a Tripoli port-a-john that gets turned upside down, drowning you in the most unwashed of masses. Although I would definitely watch that dictator death on Tosh.0.
8) “Is There a Ghost,” Band of Horses. On my list of Recent Album Openers That…, never mind, I’ll just click Like.
9) “#1 Hit Song,” Minutemen. Subversive 80s triple albums…those were the days. Mister, we could use a man like D. Boone again.
10) “Mrs. Robinson,” The Lemonheads. I know it’s such an alternative-by-the-numbers cover—take beloved classic song and play it faster, loudier, and sloppier—but I am always happy to hear this. Makes me want to dance at a Kum And Go with Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo while we complain about what a cobag Ethan Hawke is.
11) “Wasted Years,” Iron Maiden. If I had to pick one singer who I think it would be the most fun to sing like, the Bruce Dickinson would be one of the finalists. There’s something so entertaining to me about his Katherine-Hepburn-in-a-leather-codpiece delivery. Sure, I would love to shatter stage lights by channelling my inner Geddy or belt out sexual fruit metaphors like Robert Plant, but the Dickinson vibrato is hard to top for pure fun, especially because I’d be able to yell things like, “Scream for me, Sao Pa-u-l-l-l-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-o-!!!!” between songs. Again, feel sorry for TLB.
Bonus non-metal track for metal haters (because I care about leaving everyone with a feel-good song for the weekend):
“Battery Kinzie,” Fleet Foxes. If you take your speakers, point them at your car, and play this song through them, snow will melt off your windshield, guaranteed!
Have a great weekend.