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Davey Moore 07-24-2009 04:15 PM

100 Essays on 100 Albums: A Journey Through Music and Life
 
Foreward

This is without a doubt the most ambitious writing project I've ever undertaken. In terms of the body of work and reviews I've produced on this forum, this will be my magnum opus. In essence, it's 100 essays on 100 albums, each by a different artist.

Basically, I haven't been reviewing as many albums as I used to because I found I was being too much of a Brent DiCrescenzo. See, I guarantee you nobody would have had a problem with his work if he simply didn't call them reviews and instead put out his own articles and essays on music.

These essays won't be reviews, but I will be talking about the album in a general sense, as well as the band but most importantly I will be exploring the themes in each album as well as the memories and feelings these albums evoke in my mind. Basically, if you're familiar with the brilliant essays of David Foster Wallace and the writings of Hunter S. Thompson, journalistic efforts and their essays end up being about them.

Some of these won't even be essays. They could be short stories, anecdotes, and maybe some poetry thrown in. But rest assured, every essay will connect to the album.

Another thing I'm doing is I'm imposing a minimum word length for each of my pieces. 750 words minimum. That means a total of 75,000 words minimum, which is the equivalent of a 250+ page novel. If everything goes according to plan and life doesn't present any major obstacles, I'm pretty sure this will be the largest series of writing any of us have ever done on this forum, at least in terms of sheer length. My goal is to make it the highest quality series of writings as well, of course that's totally subjective. Shoot for the moon, landing in the stars, you get the gist. I hope I don't sound too pretentious, but alas dear reader, you shall be the sole judge of that.


And now I will give you a list of the albums I will be writing about, in order, and if I have a planned topic/theme regarding it. For now I'll only reveal the first ten, just to demonstrate what I'm trying to do.

Table of Contents

1. On Fire – Galaxie 500 --- "Albums as pieces of a puzzle to make someone whole"
2. Funeral – Arcade Fire --- "Funerals, death, and questions about the meaning of it all"
3. In the Aeroplane over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel --- "Based on a Steven Erikson quote which basically says the total sum of human history is summed up in the quote 'children are dying'"
4. Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan --- "Regarding Bob Dylan, and the issue of identity within all of us"
5. London Calling – The Clash "Revolution"
6. Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth ---"About a jaded and numb generation corrupted by media"
7. Remain in Light – Talking Heads --- "America and the American dream"
8. The Beatles(The White Album) – The Beatles --- "How the relationships between people deteriorate, using The Beatles as an example"
9. Exile on Main Street – The Rolling Stones --- "The meaning of Rock n Roll"
10. 69 Love Songs – Magnetic Fields --- "Love and it's many forms"
11. Kid A – Radiohead
12. Entertainment! – Gang of Four
13. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – David Bowie
14. Perfect from Now On – Built To Spill
15. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
16. Trans-Europe Express – Kraftwerk
17. The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground
18. Let It Be – The Replacements
19. Bee Thousand – Guided by Voices
20. Odessy and Oracle – The Zombies
21. Maggot Brain – Funkadelic
22. Loveless – My Bloody Valentine
23. Nevermind – Nirvana
24. Marquee Moon – Television
25. Slanted and Enchanted – Pavement
26. Deceit – This Heat
27. F# A# Infinity – Godspeed You Black Emperor!
28. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
29. Is This It – The Strokes
30. Songs of Love and Hate – Leonard Cohen
31. Ambient 1: Music For Airports – Brian Eno
32. Siamese Dream – Smashing Pumpkins
33. White Blood Cells – The White Stripes
34. Spiderland – Slint
35. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
36. In The Attic of the Universe – The Antlers
37. Repeater – Fugazi
38. Parallel Lines – Blondie
39. The Cars – The Cars
40. Zen Arcade – Husker Du
41. Pink Moon – Nick Drake
42. Merriweather Post Pavilion – Animal Collective
43. Dear Science – TV on the Radio
44. Weezer(The Blue Album) – Weezer
45. Tago Mago – Can
46. IV – Led Zeppelin
47. Who's Next – The Who
48. Blue – Joni Mitchell
49. Radio City – Big Star
50. My Aim Is True – Elvis Costello
51. This Nation's Saving Grace – The Fall
52. ...Endtroducing – DJ Shadow
53. The Perfect Prescription – Spacemen 3
54. Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys
55. Are You Experienced – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
56. First Utterance – Comus
57. Chairs Missing – Wire
58. Double Nickels on the Dime – The Minutemen
59. Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! - Devo
60. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Wilco
61. Kaleidoscope World – The Chills
62. Black Monk Time – The Monks
63. Unknown Pleasures – Joy Division
64. Histoire de Melody Nelson – Serge Gainsbourg
65. Sail Away – Randy Newman
66. Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? - Of Montreal
67. Starsailor – Tim Buckley
68. In The Court of the Crimson King – King Crimson
69. The Queen Is Dead – The Smiths
70. The Joshua Tree – U2
71. Psychocandy – The Jesus and Mary Chain
72. No New York – Various Artists
73. Nebraska – Bruce Springsteen
74. Dire Straits – Dire Straits
75. Second Edition – Public Image Ltd.
76. Crazy Rhythms – The Feelies
77. Sonic Boom – The Sonics
78. Dust Bowl Ballads – Woody Guthrie
79. Forever Changes – Love
80. Surfer Rosa – Pixies
81. Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
82. The Sun Sessions – Elvis Presley
83. King of the Delta Blues – Robert Johnson
84. What's Going On - Marvin G.aye
85. There's a Riot Goin' On – Sly and the Family Stone
86. Ramones – The Ramones
87. Horses – Patti Smith
88. Legend – Bob Marley
89. Turnstiles – Billy Joel
90. Straight Outta Compton – NWA
91. Electric Warrior – T.Rex
92. Automatic for the People – REM
93. Tea For The Tillerman – Cat Stevens
94. Kinda Kinks – The Kinks
95. Los Angeles – X
96. Kick Out The Jams – MC5
97. The Soft Bulletin – The Flaming Lips
98. Laughing Stock – Talk Talk
99. The Three EP's – The Beta Band
100. 1990 – Daniel Johnston

And finally, don't wish me luck, wish me determination, I'm going to need that a hell of a lot more :laughing:

Urban Hat€monger ? 07-24-2009 04:35 PM

I must like at least 90% of the albums you listed so this looks like it'll be an interesting for me.

Engine 07-24-2009 04:44 PM

Sounds really interesting (I'm probably at about 95%) but please note

*Nothing is more pretentious than addressing your readers as Dear Reader.

Davey Moore 07-24-2009 05:01 PM

'On Fire' by Galaxie 500 (1989)



The concept of a 'soul mate' is something that penetrates the very fabric of our collective consciousness, because in this age of science and secularism, most people try to find salvation through love. And love goes hand in hand with the idea everyone has a soul mate. Some may find it trite and some may even be so bold as to claim the search to be futile, but after hearing this album I can safely say that everyone's musical taste is like a puzzle, but instead of receiving every piece of the puzzle upon purchase, you have to frantically search a sonic wonderland on a crazed scavenger hunt until you find all the pieces to make you whole, at least, musically. You see, the music that sticks with us and become pieces of our puzzles are the ones we find in our adolescent years all the way through our early to mid-twenties. The music you are into and the music that will affect you most throughout life will be the music you find in that time period. It's almost like a race against time. I heartily recommend you find as many puzzle pieces as you can. You'll thank yourself for going down the rabbit hole.

'On Fire' is one of the many albums I can safely say is one of my pieces to the puzzle, and I'm ecstatic that I found it when I did. It's a sad and bittersweet work of art with beautiful echoing guitars. The guitars especially evoked a sense that this band was on a mission, and it reminded me of Built To Spill in their seminal work, 'Perfect From Now On.'

I find it interesting that the title track and one of the best tracks is called 'Blue Thunder.' Let's analyze that for a second. Blue, let's say it's a synonym for sad. Sad Thunder. Thunder, it's the sound lightning makes, after it strikes. And a lightning bolt, well, it's been described as fire from the heavens. Interesting how the title of the album is called 'On Fire.'

The vocals throughout the album sound as though they've been buried inside the mix, the lyrics seemingly unimportant, voice being used as a melody instrument and to convey a certain mood. And what better instrument to convey emotion than the voice? And does it ever convey a mood. Depression. Alienation. Yet, Redemption as well. Hope. Perhaps the best example of the mood this album and the themes it establishes in it's lyrics, is in the fourth track, 'Strange'

Why's everybody actin' funny?
Why's everybody look so strange?
Why's everybody look so nasty?
What do I want with all these things?

I went alone down to the drugstore
I went in back and took a Coke
I stood in line and ate my Twinkies
I stood in line, I had to wait

Why's everybody actin funny?
Why's everybody look so strange?
Why's everybody look so pretty?
What do I want with all these things?

I went alone down to the drugstore
I went in back and took a Coke
I stood in line and ate my Twinkies
I stood in line, I had to wait

How does music fit into our lives? More than any other medium, music can affect us on a pure emotional and visceral way. Within a heartbeat, images, concepts and moods are conveyed and flood into your mind. Music can instantly make you feel differently. There's something animal to it, like being hypnotized by a snake charmer.

Can the aforementioned puzzle ever be whole? Sometimes I feel like Ahab, navigating the seas in an endless pursuit of that white whale. But in a way, I don't ever want to find the white whale. Because I don't think it's something that can be caught. You just try and do the best you can. And honestly, could any music lover ever comprehend the concept of “OK, I've found what I'm looking for, I can stop now.” I don't know what I'd do with myself if I ever found it. Insanity seems the most likely result. If the puzzle can never be whole, then why even try and find the pieces then? Maybe it's something within us that we have to do. An insane drive. Maybe each of us has a little slice of insanity. Insanity doesn't seem like the right word. Obsession.

Maybe we do it to bring a bit of clarity to the puzzle.

The lyrics of the final track sum things up quite nicely. Though they may seem a bit clichéd on paper, they are sung with such effortless sincerity it seems foolish to doubt the truth behind the words.

Isn't it a pity
Isn't it a shame
How we break each other's hearts
And cause each other pain?
How we take each other's love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity?

Some things take so long
And how do I explain?
But not too many people
Can see we're all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can't hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them
Oh isn't it a pity?

Isn't it a pity
Isn't it a shame
How we break each other's hearts
And cause each other pain?
How we take each other's love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity?

Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity?
Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity?

What a pity

SATCHMO 07-24-2009 05:21 PM

Well you at least have your plan outlined for yourself! Now all that's left is the typing. Get to it champ! * plays Eye of the Tiger*

Bulldog 07-24-2009 05:26 PM

Interesting slant on the list concept you've got going here. Quite a lot of albums I like on this list too. I'll be keeping an eye on this one.

Unknown Soldier 07-24-2009 05:42 PM

Know most on this list as well, especially looking forward to essays on the first Cars and Devo albums, even today both still sound outstanding and probably for me the 2 definitive American new wave albums.

Rickenbacker 07-24-2009 07:58 PM

Some really great albums here. I look forward to following this thread.

lucifer_sam 07-24-2009 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Urban Hatemonger (Post 708926)
I must like at least 90% of the albums you listed so this looks like it'll be an interesting for me.

samesies.

plenty of interesting choices mixed in with the classics that everybody knows, should be interesting to see how this thread plays out.

good luck.

Alfred 07-24-2009 10:08 PM

Good luck, I really like your essays!

Davey Moore 07-24-2009 11:23 PM


Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author. He said something particularly relevant and poignant during the book 'Cat's Cradle', and sums up for me why death is so scary. “There's nothing sadder in the languages of mice and men than the phrase 'it could have been.'” That's why we fear dying and spend our whole life trying to evade it. We're afraid of the regret we'll feel when our time is finally up. At least, I am. Some people say they live without regret. Some people are liars.

The girl in the red dress at the bus station I didn't talk to and will never see again.

Adaptation is a hell of a concept to wrap your head around. Doing what you gotta do to get by. It isn't easy being a human, the only species on the planet aware of their own mortality, of their own fleeting glory. But the concept of mortality never really hits you until you experience the death of a loved one. The first time I really experienced death was Sophomore year in high school. A friend of mine died. He wasn't the first person who I knew who died, but he was the first person close to me. Great Aunts and Grandparents I'd seen twice in my life, they'd died. But not a friend.

We were in the same guitar class in high school. He was sort of annoying at first, but he grew on me. He was a senior, a really out there stoner. He would constantly play Sublime songs. But we became friends.

There was another kid in the town over who, Andy, that was his name, Andrew, who Andy was friends with. He got his hands on some booze and decided to do something stupid. Did he decide that this was the night he would die? No. But he did decide to do something stupid, and he must bear some of that blame. The kid died that night. Andy, being the good friend he was, decided to trek out to the very telephone pole where his friend had lost his life merely hours previous and play a tribute to him. The last thing Andy saw were the headlights of a car coming towards him. Splintered pieces of his acoustic guitar were scattered all about the road. He died on impact. We can only assume he was killed by another drunk driver. The driver has never been caught. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to say 'So it goes', and I think that's one of the more appropriate things you can say in a situation as dark and needless as that.

Also, Andy had a girlfriend. She was pregnant. I've seen the baby. He has his father's nose.

Say whatever you want about this album, one thing's for certain, it isn't a dirge. Chopin's Funeral March is a dirge. Mozart's Requiem is a dirge. This album however, this is a celebration. A celebration of life and the possibilities it can hold. A warm embrace. There's a scope to this album, something I hadn't encountered before and something I've encountered only a few times since. When I say scope I don't mean 'scope' as in something as petty as a concept album. Concept albums really hold no weight in a marketplace flooded by bands who solely produce said albums. See the whole progressive genre if ye doubt my claim. The scope I'm talking about is something grander than shallow stories and poorly conveyed themes. I'm talking big. Grand like a symphony. Something that seems self conscious of the fact that it might get beamed out into the universe and wants to prepare accordingly so it doesn't make a fool of itself. You know, grand on a universal scale, like a nebula or two galaxies slowly colliding and messing up the gravity of entire solar systems. That's what I mean when I say this album has scope.

Is it weird to feel like you know an album so well it's like you've walked around inside of it? Because that's how I feel about this album. I know every twist and turn by now but I never get tired of it. I let it envelope me. Wash over me. A sonic deluge.

For the band this album was a sort of catharsis. An exorcism. I can see that. I can see myself listening to it for that very reason. To chase out my demons. There are many forms of catharsis. Of exorcism. Dance is one of them. And strangely enough this album is very danceable. It's grand tone shifts keep up an energy that is simply improbable for an album that's about such dark things.

One more thing: one of the most important statements I've ever heard in music, right up there with 'you can't always get what you want', is in the song 'Wake Up'. It says:

I guess we'll just have to adjust.

Adaptation. The meaning of it all. How can we deal with changes so profound? I have two answers, both courtesy of Arcade Fire.

Dance.

Adjust.

Astronomer 07-25-2009 12:34 AM

This journal is awesome and I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing. Especially the Arcade Fire one. It's a really unique and personal way to look at albums, which I love. Keep it up!

Schizotypic 07-25-2009 04:44 AM

Great album review/essay. You writing style is a bit out there for me, but I should be checking on this as often as you add to it as I thoroughly enjoy the read. Very interesting.

Engine 07-25-2009 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davey Moore (Post 708945)
You see, the music that sticks with us and become pieces of our puzzles are the ones we find in our adolescent years all the way through our early to mid-twenties. The music you are into and the music that will affect you most throughout life will be the music you find in that time period. It's almost like a race against time.

I don't believe this is a true statement. While nostalgia for that time in one's life shouldn't be underestimated, the fact that my old ass is (just as) highly affected by music that I found after my mid-20s is my proof. What's yours?

In any case, "On Fire" (as well as much of your list) is a gem that I found in my adolescence thru mid-20s so I'm interested to see what you will do with my puzzle pieces.

Davey Moore 07-25-2009 11:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Engine (Post 709343)
I don't believe this is a true statement. While nostalgia for that time in one's life shouldn't be underestimated, the fact that my old ass is (just as) highly affected by music that I found after my mid-20s is my proof. What's yours?

In any case, "On Fire" (as well as much of your list) is a gem that I found in my adolescence thru mid-20s so I'm interested to see what you will do with my puzzle pieces.

Well, fair enough. Considering I haven't left my twenties or even entered them, I guess I'll take your word for it. I said it because it was something my dad said, who said he loved music and loved music today, but no music could mean more to him than the music he grew up with.

Anyway, I'm so excited by the response here. I'll be sure to work extra hard, haha.

Davey Moore 07-25-2009 12:06 PM

Also, I just noticed this and found it quite humorous, look at Arcade Fire. They look down and surely approve of my essay. Either that or they are like, 'wtf is this guy talking about?'

dac 07-25-2009 02:15 PM

I have a new favorite thread. I think I may download every album that I don't have as you review them. IMO you're the best writer on the site. Looking forward to this x1000

Davey Moore 07-25-2009 06:21 PM

I'm about 2/3 through my third essay and I found this article online that seemed rather relevant to the album I'm writing about. If you know the album, as most of you probably are, it's certainly been talked about quite alot, you'll instantly get it and be weirdly fascinated like I was.

Two-headed boy born in Bangladesh - Telegraph

Davey Moore 07-25-2009 06:50 PM

'In The Aeroplane over the Sea' by Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)

http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/258...lmilkhotel.jpg

When you were young...the world was better, wasn't it? Nostalgia is a hell of a trick. Despite what your memory tells you, things weren't as great as they seemed, and for some, when they were young, it was hell. Ask Elie Wiesel.

If you've heard of Steven Erikson, you'll probably feel the same way as I do, that he has written the greatest series of fantasy books in history with his series 'Tales from the Malazan Book of the Fallen.' It isn't just quality fantasy, it can hold it's own against other epic literature. It's profound in the themes it introduces, it's staggering scope, and the beautifully rendered characters. I know, I'm supposed to be singing the praises of Jeff Mangum, the Thomas Pynchon or JD Salinger of the Elephant 6 Collective. But there's something that Steven Erikson wrote in the second book of the series, 'Deadhouse Gates', a quote which illuminates and reveals many themes within Aeroplane:

Quote:

Lull nodded. 'That's a succinct summary of humankind, I'd say. Who needs tomes and volumes of history? Children are dying. The injustices of the world hide in those three words. Quote me, Duiker, and your work's done.'
That's the central theme of Aeroplane. Children are dying. And Jeff Mangum is having a nervous breakdown because he can't save them. He wants to take the burdens of the world on his shoulder and make everything OK, but he can't. Nobody can. And that's the tragedy of humanity. Children are dying. I think a large part of Jeff Mangum is inner child. That's how he can sing with such sincerity, seemingly brushing cynicism aside. And this inner child has fallen in love with a ghost he will never meet.

And in my dreams you're alive, and you're crying, as your mouth moves into mine.

They call themselves fuzz-folk. I call them geniuses. Let's ignore the great songwriting for a second and just look at instruments. There isn't a single instrument or single studio effect that is unnecessary. In fact, this is probably my favorite use of horns, ever. Another thing is the simplicity of the chords. We've seen these things millions of times before, yet they don't seem stale or cliché, thanks to the conviction of Mangum's singing and the background instrumentation.

If Mangum stays a recluse for the rest of his days, I wouldn't mind. He can't top this album. And the final sounds on the final song of this album speak volumes as he puts his guitar down and walks away. Sometimes, letting go is better. He deserves happiness, away from any sort of spotlight. I don't want another Cobain.

There's nothing I can say about this album that hasn't already been said. But I'll try and give you a bit of the back story. One day Jeff Mangum found a book, the diary of a young woman. Her name was Anne Frank, and he hadn't heard of her before, despite the amount of attention the book received. That speaks of a naivete and innocence that seems to be lacking in most adults. Once again, that inner child aspect which is so important, a side of his personality he seemed to preserve. I mention these things only because I believe them to be absolutely essential to develop an understanding of Mangum, and as a result his magnum opus, or should I say mangum opus? Zing.

Anyway, as he read the book, he wept, he wept because he couldn't save her. The entire time he read it, he wished he had a time machine so he could go back and save her. Anything would do, but maybe the best answer is he wanted an Aeroplane, and he would sail across the sea, over to Holland, the year being 1945, and save her. She haunted him in his dreams. There are many clues that the girl he is addressing is in fact a ghost and nothing more than a voice in a book.

There's a question of narration in this album. I reckon the majority of the time it's from one perspective. However, I don't know exactly if the narrator IS Mangum, or if it's a composite that represents Mangum. Does it really make a difference? There are some things about Mangum's life that we know, things that give us big clues as to it being him. Jeff Mangum's brother killed himself. To quote Two Headed Boy Pt. 2, “Brother see we are one in the same, and you left with your head filled with flames”

Maybe the question of who's perspective is irrelevant. Maybe the only thing that matters is that the perspective is so unique. Mangum seems to have two struggling aspects withing him, fighting for dominance. Maybe some people can be pushed to the edge of schizophrenia through natural means. Mangum seems to have reached it. It's almost like he has two heads. Freud may have an answer to who the two headed by might be. You know the phrase, don't let your little head control your big head? Wink, wink. Maybe that's what the two headed boy is.

Something happens inside of us when we grow up. In a way, our inner child slowly dies and withers within us. Mangum sees that as a tragedy. I do too. Children are dying.

And when we break...

I've never read the diary of this girl, but looking a series of quotes, they send chills through my spine. Empathy flows through me as I see what Mangum saw in her, her eloquence combined with the circumstances of her life are haunting. And yet I am slightly disturbed as I wonder if Mangum's obsession over Anne Frank was paternal, wishing nothing but her safety, or was it romantic? Look at these lyrics:
Quote:

And in my dreams you're alive and you're crying,
As your mouth moves in mine, soft and sweet.
Rings of flowers round your eyes and I love you,
For the rest of your life (when you're ready).
Those final three words especially raise questions in my mind. She was only 15. But she wrote as an adult. Atrocity can age you awfully fast. I quickly shake the question from my head. Part of me doesn't want to know, and the other part of me realizes that right now in China, children are being kidnapped and sold on the black market. In Africa, warlords inject children with drugs and use them as expendable soldiers. Warlords are chopping off the hands of children as an example to an entire village. I think of Apocalypse Now, and a speech Marlon Brando made, about the Vietcong and how he walked into a burning village and in the center he was a pile of hands. Tiny little hands. Hands. Children are dying.

And when we break, we wait for our miracles, God is a place where some holy spectacle lies. And when we break, we wait for our miracles, God is a place we will wait for the rest of our lives.

And then I think of the words of a young girl, frantically scrawled in cheap ink, in a precious little diary her mother bought her as she hides from monsters, the pages lit by a little candle almost at it's end, a whole family trying to hide from something which was inevitable. Trying to avoid an atrocity. Children are dying.

Quote:

I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.
Quote:

It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.

jackhammer 07-25-2009 06:51 PM

Can I please ask that you finish this bugger? You have made some awesome posts on MB but you then seem to disappear for months :(

Davey Moore 07-25-2009 08:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jackhammer (Post 709527)
Can I please ask that you finish this bugger? You have made some awesome posts on MB but you then seem to disappear for months :(

I swear to god, I will finish this.



IT IS MY QUEST.


Starting on Highway 61 Revisited Now.

Davey Moore 07-25-2009 10:08 PM

'Highway 61 Revisited' by Bob Dylan (1965)

http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/1139/dylanr.jpg

He sits there, staring smugly down at us, smoking a Pall Mall, his eyes hiding behind those twin black veils. Every question asked of him he either evades or makes a joke out of. Why? Why is he so afraid of answering? His movements, the timbre of his voice. Those glasses are appropriate I guess. A wayfarer indeed. I scribble a few things in my notepad, get up and leave the room, right in the middle of an answer.

'Evidently that man doesn't like what I have to say.'

The crowd laughs. My colleagues, laughing, trying to suck up to a man who is obviously playing them like that damn harmonica strapped to his neck every night. I look back at him and shrug. 'I'm not getting any answers, so I figured I'd get a bite to eat.'

Dylan is silent. He ashes his cigarette and smiles. 'What's your name?'

'Jones.'

I wink at him and exit, hoping I've given that smug son of a bitch something to think about. Maybe he'll write a song about it.

***

The city disgusts me. Pimps and thieves populate every corner. Pushers and hookers. Homeric sirens. Sorry, but I'm on a different sort of odyssey. Steam rises from the sewers as if hell resided just below the cracked, dirty pavement. I'd believe it. I pass a kiosk. The headlines are about him, of course, about how he just blew into town.

His name change is public knowledge by now. Zimmerman. I find it strange he constantly avoids his past, how he avoids the entire topic of the past entirely. It's not like it's of great importance, but it is interesting. Says a lot about who he is. How a history and an identity are things you can simply invent. It makes me wonder how many people I know are simply invented personae. Maybe Dylan is just one of the few people who are aware of their own charade. A strange admiration of the man grew inside me.

I pass a park bench and decide to sit down. Behind me are the inevitable pillars made of rock and stone, life teeming. A man with a shopping cart passes by me. In it is a shovel and a pile of masks. He stops relatively close to me and starts to dig. I get up and approach him.

'...just got my mask on, yes sir, don't bother me none I got my masks and got em here so's I can get em whenever I wants em, yes sir.'

I stand behind him and watch as he fills the hole up with different identities. One of them is a clown. One is a lion. One looks like the president. Another resembles a superhero.

'Good luck with that.' I say.

The man turns around and tips his hat at me. 'Don't need luck when I got my masks, sir.'

A smirk emerges on my face. 'Masks.' I start to walk away.

What was that one thing he said in that concert once. Another journalist told me. 'Don't be scared. It's Halloween. I got my Bob Dylan mask on.'

His Bob Dylan mask on. Maybe there's a bit of a mask shop inside all of us. In this impersonal modern society, it's essential to be someone else. The risk of being yourself may be too great.

Look at Dylan. That isn't him. Look at every celebrity. That's not them. Even if they act crazy, even if they act like individuals, that isn't them. We all are actors. Shakespeare once said that all the world's a stage, and we're all players. Truer words have never been written. And I won't improve on them.

Piss Me Off 07-26-2009 02:20 PM

These are some brilliant reads so far, especially the Funeral one. Definitely keep at it.

someonecompletelyrandom 07-26-2009 03:55 PM

Yes I'm really enjoying this thread. More please :)

Alfred 07-26-2009 05:15 PM

I really enjoyed the "Funeral" essay and I haven't even heard the album. :D

But I may be convinced to do so after reading that.

Davey Moore 07-27-2009 08:14 PM

'London Calling' by The Clash (1979)

http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/6643/londoncalling.jpg

An anecdote before I begin:

My father's parents were crazy. Absolutely cuckoo. There's no telling what they'd do. By the way, if you get that reference I just made, good for you. If not, it's alright, it was pretty damn obscure. Anyway, my grandparents on my father's side. Once a week they would send him to the woods outside their house to a prominent boulder atop a hill, in a clearing. You can get there by a little path that starts at the back yard. My father named it 'Catastrophe Path.' I would pretend I was an army guy with my friends on that path. He and his father would go out when my Dad was a kid. Kind of a weird father-son bonding thing. They'd bring with them a shovel and a backpack full of non-perishable food items and such. You know, the kind of stuff you'd find in a bomb shelter.

What were they doing out there? Well, my grandparents were really into the Cold War. Let's just say they still don't trust anybody to this day whose nationality is that of a former Warsaw-Pact nation. Basically any 'commies.' They were burying food supplies in case of an attack. There's about twenty years worth of canned goods somewhere in the woods of Rhode Island.

The paranoia of the Cold War is a strange chapter of American history. But that sense of paranoia hadn't just infected the United States, it pervaded the entirety of the West. In the late 70s, Britain was going through massive social upheavals, riddled with unemployment and social unrest. Punk had arrived like a meteor hurtling from space. The Sex Pistols were well on their way to imploding, and it was up to another band, led by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, to take up the torch. But these guys weren't the off-their-asses drunk kind of anarchists that the Pistols were. Instead, they were the manifestation of a righteous fury, railing against the injustices they saw in the world.

In 1979, destruction was looming over The Clash, just like the threat of nuclear destruction loomed over the world. Their next album would be make or break, a final roll of the dice. It made them. That album was called 'London Calling' and it would be an apocalyptic gospel railing against mass consumerism, police brutality, the church, and the plight of the lower classes and selling yourself and working for the man. Giving up your young ideals and selling out to the system that you so fervently defied. It'll eventually happen to us all. The Clash understood that, yet still fought against it. A noble effort. The death of punk years later would signify that 'the only band that matters' lost the war. But God bless them for trying.

These nineteen songs build off of the momentum of each other until by the end, you truly feel like you may be on a hellish train, leading off the edge of a cliff, falling down into oblivion, and for some reason you're welcoming that because you've just been brought on a tour of society which proves that this whole fight may be in vain, which justifies the title of the song 'Train in Vain', possibly the catchiest song on the album and one of my favorites. What a better song to signify selling out and cashing in your ideals than a serenade to a lover who has betrayed you. You didn't stand by me, no not at all.

There are a few other highlights on this album, that is, in truth, filled with highlights. I could see any song on this album being someone's favorite song of the album. For me, the highlights are 'London Calling' a hellish proclamation, 'Lost in the Supermarket' a song against consumerism, yet sung in a sadly resigned way that seems to indicate that Mick Jones knows he can't stop the machine, 'The Guns of Brixton', possibly the coolest bass line of all time and a hellish sounding reggae song about police brutality. If you play guitar, you'll know how when you play reggae you play on the upstroke so that it sounds happier and upbeat. The way The Clash play it, add in some studio effects and the upbeat upstroke sounds like a cocaine addled sound from hell. Another highlight is 'Death or Glory', a story about an old punk who traded in his ideals(were they ever ideals to begin with, or did he just trade in one life of being a criminal to being a bitter lower class man filled with resentment against a family who resents him just as much) to become a father who hits his kids, love and hate tattooed across his hands. Death or glory? There are many ways to die, I guess. Slow ways. Then there's 'The Card Cheat', I don't want to describe it, it's just beautiful. Finally there's 'Train in Vain', a romantic song about being betrayed by a lover.

So, in the end, what else is there to say about this album, except, revolutionary?

gotjuice 07-27-2009 08:27 PM

This thread needs more posts.

Seriously though, great work. I particularly enjoyed the Arcade Fire review, I grabbed the Galaxie 500 album and will be giving it a spin in the next few days. Great job on this, I really enjoy your writing, and to quote jackhammer, FINISH THIS THING!

lieasleep 07-27-2009 08:28 PM

this needs to be finished

333 07-28-2009 01:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davey Moore (Post 709167)

Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author. He said something particularly relevant and poignant during the book 'Cat's Cradle', and sums up for me why death is so scary. “There's nothing sadder in the languages of mice and men than the phrase 'it could have been.'” That's why we fear dying and spend our whole life trying to evade it. We're afraid of the regret we'll feel when our time is finally up. At least, I am. Some people say they live without regret. Some people are liars.

The girl in the red dress at the bus station I didn't talk to and will never see again.

Adaptation is a hell of a concept to wrap your head around. Doing what you gotta do to get by. It isn't easy being a human, the only species on the planet aware of their own mortality, of their own fleeting glory. But the concept of mortality never really hits you until you experience the death of a loved one. The first time I really experienced death was Sophomore year in high school. A friend of mine died. He wasn't the first person who I knew who died, but he was the first person close to me. Great Aunts and Grandparents I'd seen twice in my life, they'd died. But not a friend.

We were in the same guitar class in high school. He was sort of annoying at first, but he grew on me. He was a senior, a really out there stoner. He would constantly play Sublime songs. But we became friends.

There was another kid in the town over who, Andy, that was his name, Andrew, who Andy was friends with. He got his hands on some booze and decided to do something stupid. Did he decide that this was the night he would die? No. But he did decide to do something stupid, and he must bear some of that blame. The kid died that night. Andy, being the good friend he was, decided to trek out to the very telephone pole where his friend had lost his life merely hours previous and play a tribute to him. The last thing Andy saw were the headlights of a car coming towards him. Splintered pieces of his acoustic guitar were scattered all about the road. He died on impact. We can only assume he was killed by another drunk driver. The driver has never been caught. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to say 'So it goes', and I think that's one of the more appropriate things you can say in a situation as dark and needless as that.

Also, Andy had a girlfriend. She was pregnant. I've seen the baby. He has his father's nose.

Say whatever you want about this album, one thing's for certain, it isn't a dirge. Chopin's Funeral March is a dirge. Mozart's Requiem is a dirge. This album however, this is a celebration. A celebration of life and the possibilities it can hold. A warm embrace. There's a scope to this album, something I hadn't encountered before and something I've encountered only a few times since. When I say scope I don't mean 'scope' as in something as petty as a concept album. Concept albums really hold no weight in a marketplace flooded by bands who solely produce said albums. See the whole progressive genre if ye doubt my claim. The scope I'm talking about is something grander than shallow stories and poorly conveyed themes. I'm talking big. Grand like a symphony. Something that seems self conscious of the fact that it might get beamed out into the universe and wants to prepare accordingly so it doesn't make a fool of itself. You know, grand on a universal scale, like a nebula or two galaxies slowly colliding and messing up the gravity of entire solar systems. That's what I mean when I say this album has scope.

Is it weird to feel like you know an album so well it's like you've walked around inside of it? Because that's how I feel about this album. I know every twist and turn by now but I never get tired of it. I let it envelope me. Wash over me. A sonic deluge.

For the band this album was a sort of catharsis. An exorcism. I can see that. I can see myself listening to it for that very reason. To chase out my demons. There are many forms of catharsis. Of exorcism. Dance is one of them. And strangely enough this album is very danceable. It's grand tone shifts keep up an energy that is simply improbable for an album that's about such dark things.

One more thing: one of the most important statements I've ever heard in music, right up there with 'you can't always get what you want', is in the song 'Wake Up'. It says:

I guess we'll just have to adjust.

Adaptation. The meaning of it all. How can we deal with changes so profound? I have two answers, both courtesy of Arcade Fire.

Dance.

Adjust.

Kurt is my favorite author, too. I saw the influence in your writing before I read this, though. You've a nice list going and I can't wait to read the rest. As for your writing - I like it. At some parts, I got confused and/or cringed, but as a whole, it was well-written.

Davey Moore 07-28-2009 02:18 PM

'Daydream Nation' by Sonic Youth (1988)

http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/9930/daydreamo.jpg

I was at a party the other night, with a bunch of friends from high school. We're all going to college soon and it was one of the last times we'd all be together. I remember a moment, we're all huddled in my friend's basement, and I'm sitting in the corner of the room, smoking a cigar. I still don't know where I got that cigar. For a few seconds we're all silent. And through the haze of marijuana smoke and the almost angelic halogen light atop the ceiling, I gaze at the faces of my friends and members of my generation and see a blank, bittersweet stare. An epiphany hit me right there and then. We are the Adderall Generation. A jaded group. I have three parents, my mom, my dad, and media. Media takes many forms. Music, TV, but especially the internet. I've seen things that kids from previous generations wouldn't even be able to imagine. And as a clinically depressed person, perhaps I experience more of the apathy than is usual among my generation. But overall, we are an apathetic generation. The Adderall Generation.

When I listen to this album from 1988, I see a similarity to my own decade, with the excess and decadent culture. The eighties were a time of excess under a Republican rule which tried to reverse the effects of the sixties culturally. That was impossible, but what the Reagan administration brought about was essentially, a giant party. The economic struggles of the 70s were behind us, and the nation collectively let loose. Racial tensions were high, and if Spike Lee is to be believed, a trashcan through a window could have turned an angry mob into a full on riot. The rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer. Culturally there was a giant split, especially in music. This was when the first real unified indie community formed, and Sonic Youth had a lot to do with that. Bands like Sonic Youth took the lead and gave the indie community a sense of purpose and direction. But without the shallow mainstream to rebel against, perhaps the indie community wouldn't have become so unified. And for that, I thank you Hall and Oates and Poison. This album is without a doubt the product of a jaded generation. Even the title says a lot about the era it was made, and to be honest, perfectly applies to this generation as well. However, our flights into reverie are of a digital nature.

For instance, as I write this, I am sitting in my bed with shorts and a shirt, listening to Daydream Nation on my iPod, laughing at how the lyrics of Teenage Riot totally apply to me. It really would take something akin to a teenage riot to get me out of bed right now. What I love about the underground is the brainy brainlessness. Sonic Youth sounds like chaos, like an unplanned, sneering punk, but in reality it's the total opposite, precise, planned tuning, requiring a great knowledge of music in order to break it's rules. A Velvet Underground aesthetic where it sounds really easy to play but when you sit down and try you realize it takes a good musician to play something like that, with precision yet with a tone of 'I don't care how I play.' Whenever I try and play Sonic Youth on the guitar it always sounds lifeless, like I'm doing something wrong.

I like to think of the majority of my generation, my associates and partners in crime with the analogy of the Roman candle. If you don't know of the Roman candle analogy, it's okay, because I thought of it. A lot of us are like fireworks, shooting up into the sky, looking pretty and inciting oohs and aahs from the spectators below. But when we peak, when we explode, we're naught but a burnt husk landing on the ground, a shadow of our former glory. People peak too early. Think of the jocks and the high school stars, who will spend the rest of their lives as insurance salesmen or working at the Pep Boys in their hometown. They're Roman candle, they are fireworks, never again to see their fiery youth but everyday hoping to relive it. But we're not unique in this tradition. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said there are no second acts in American life. For a large section of the populace, that's true. And they will forever be stuck in that cliché if they don't wake up from the daydream.

Falling out of sleep, I hit the floor
Put on some rock tee and I'm out with the door
From Bowery to Broome to Greene, I'm a walking lizard
Last night's dream was a talking baby wizard

All comin' from hu-man imagination
Day dreaming days in a daydream nation

Smashed-up against a car at three A.M.
Kids just up for basketball, beat me in my head
There's bum trash in my hall and my place is ripped
I've totaled another amp, I'm calling in sick

It's an anthem in a vacuum on a hyperstation
Day dreaming days in a daydream nation

Engine 07-28-2009 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davey Moore (Post 710867)
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said there are no second acts in American life. For a large section of the populace, that's true. And they will forever be stuck in that cliché if they don't wake up from the daydream.

Brilliant conclusion there, man.
And, yes, you should believe Spike Lee - even a peaceful mob will riot when they feel they should.

Davey Moore 07-28-2009 03:47 PM

An interesting note I won't put in my next essay but will be a sort of prequel to it since if I don't want images breaking up the continuity of my essays:

Here's an interesting thing, look at the cover of The Great Gatsby and the cover of Remain in Light. Look at each cover and the parts of the face that are exposed.

http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/4538/greatgatsby.jpg

http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/4852/remaininlight.jpg

Davey Moore 07-28-2009 03:48 PM

'Remain in Light' by the Talking Heads (1980)

http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/4852/remaininlight.jpg

Take a look at these hands. The hands of a government man. How did we get here? The days go by. How did we get here?

The Great Gatsby is the greatest manifesto on the failure of the American dream. Does that big house, do those five cars, really bring you happiness? It is the story of a man who came from nothing, joining the Army and falling in love with a rich girl. She obviously didn't know he was just living in a tent, and he projected an air of wealth about him in order to impress her. They fall in love. For a while, every day seems like bliss. Then, the Great War, World War One, which the book calls 'that great Teutonic migration' intervenes and he leaves. She waits for him but eventually marries off to another rich man. Gatsby is filled with determination to regain her love, to regain her, and so he gains a fortune and eventually becomes rich enough to win her back. He stands outside his house and looks across the sound to her house and a green light at the end of her dock. That green light represents everything he's been chasing his entire life. By the end of the book we realize that the green light is behind him, in the past, and the image of the girl he has in is head is gone, destroyed by time, and as he realizes that what drove him his entire life was nonexistent, nothing but memories of the past and how people were, he gives up on life. In the end he was just a dog chasing his tail. There are other characters in this book like that. There is the man that Daisy, the object of Gatsby's desire, marries. His name is Tom and he is a rather big man, and he used to play football in college. The book describes him as wandering the world, always in search for that one last football game.

Other pieces of American artwork express these themes. Citizen Kane tells the story of a rich man who searches for Rosebud, which I won't spoil it and tell you what it is, but it is the representation of his lost childhood innocence and he spends his entire life trying to relive those years. In 'The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, a mother spends her days trying to reunite her family for 'one last Christmas in St. Jude', their mid-western hometown, with an image of her family back in the good old days where everything was okay and her babies were all with her. All of these characters are trying to recreate their presents into a past that only exists in their minds. It's a uniquely American theme and I find it tragic in a way. In comes 'Remain in Light', which I think is in that tradition.

Unprecedented. There was no album like 'Remain in Light' before it hit the scene. There really wasn't even a lead up to it, a logical progression to the album, it just appeared. I mean, no other album from this band was as united as this. And sure, they explored the tech aspect of music before, but those were just stabs in the dark. Even the claimed influences didn't really prompt this album. For instance, with the last song, they claimed to be influenced Joy Division without ever hearing a Joy Division song before making the song, they just looked at press releases and made a sound of according to what Joy Division was described as and tried to translate that into sound. A weird sort of story, but it shows just how unique this album was, even when it borrowed from other bands, there's a good chance they'd never even heard the band and just based that borrowed sound off of a one paragraph summation of that sound. How can you translate words into music? The Talking Heads tried to do that. Unprecedented.

Who'd have thought that the artsy, nerdy, literary band of the CBGB crowd would toss their hat into the ring of higher art, trying to create something akin to 'The Great American Album', and coming pretty damn close? Out of all the albums I've heard, this probably comes closest, and I think is in the same league of Gatsby and Kane,, in the same spirit as them. It combines a sort of techno-anxiety, the anxiety of punk combined with the sensibilities of new wave, a theme similar to the great American works of art like Kane and Gatsby, all in eight tracks and forty minutes. Seen and Not Seen demonstrates these themes greatly, but only after you have that theme in mind first, then things that don't make sense all of a sudden connect. However, this is all speculation, because unlike all those other pieces, this is very vague about it's themes, and the only times it really solidly conveys a theme is during 'Once in a Lifetime', maybe the best song on the album. Can 'The Great American...' even be achieved? If it could, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Orson Welles and the Talking Heads got pretty damn close.

Wasting away, that was the policy. Molding your face according to some ideal. Same as it ever was. Letting the days go by. Take a look at these hands. The hands of a government man. These hands speak. I've lost my shape. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

Davey Moore 07-28-2009 06:22 PM

'The Beatles(The White Album)' by The Beatles

http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/2452/0258e.jpg

The above picture says a lot about how the relationships between the members of the most successful band in popular music deteriorated in their final years. In one snapshot it captures the relationship of the four Beatles in the latter years of the band. Lets analyze it a bit.

All the way to the left we have George Harrison, barely in the picture and the most isolated out of all the members in spacial terms in the photograph. Notice the white beam literally separating him from the others. George was definitely the most isolated, treated like the 'little brother' despite his talent in songwriting being practically equal to John and Paul. This was reinforced by the fact he was the youngest, and John and Paul had known him since he was 16. George Harrison had to fight tooth and nail to get his songs onto the album and done the way he wanted them to be done. For instance, while recording 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', lots of people know that the guitar solo was actually played by Eric Clapton, but what is less known is the only reason Eric was brought in was when Paul and John played on the song, they put no emotion into it and could care less about the song, each one consumed in their own personal lives and songs. So George brought in Eric, because the theory was a family puts aside their fighting and tries to act nice, if for no other reason but to prevent embarrassment when company is there. Even if a family hates each other, none of them would like it if other people knew they didn't like each other. The result is one of the classic songs by The Beatles, atop many fans favorites lists.

Poor Ringo. Out of all the people in the picture, he looks the most melancholy. Many people don't give him enough credit. It was his personality, easy-going way and peculiar phrases that inspired their songs(some phrases of his: eight days a week, a hard day's night, and tomorrow never knows) kept the band together. You could always count on Ringo being the one trying to break the tension and crack a joke. If not for him, I doubt the band would have lasted as long as they did. Notice those things behind him, rolls and loops of tape, overwhelming him. In interviews, Ringo would comment that he learned to play chess during Sgt. Pepper's, that's how much free time he had. He would lay down a drum track, and then sit back as the other three obsessed over dubs and such. After they stopped touring, the amount of work Ringo would put in would literally be the amount of time it took to play the drums, then they'd shove him aside and start dubbing, importing exotic instruments, etc. Sure, during this the other three were busy being pioneers, but that left Ringo out in the cold. A warning sign that the band was cracking up was when, during the White Album sessions, Ringo quit. In fact, on the song 'Back in the USSR', Paul played the drums. Eventually, the members got him to rejoin as they flooded his mailbox and his doorstep with notes like 'Ringo is the best!', until finally he relented. Why did he quit? He felt like the other members didn't like him, that the other three were really good friends and he felt like he wasn't apart of things. Amazingly, as he admitted that to the band, they all admitted that they felt like the isolated one and that the other three were really good friends. A bad omen if there ever was one.

Then there's John. People blame Yoko too much. Although, Yoko's arrival was what unleashed all of their pent-up tension and resentment, if Yoko was never there, they still would've broke up, because once Brian Epstein died, it was only a matter of time. But, I'm not trying to say Yoko wasn't a manipulative person. She was. During that time period, John had a real problem with heroin(later talked about in his solo song, 'Cold Turkey'), and while they both shot up, Yoko would tell him how much better he was than the others, that they were holding him back, all that, almost cliché sounding jazz. Isn't it interesting, how Yoko seems almost to be growing out of John, and how his glasses and posture make him look like a kid, and her an overbearing mother. I'm not even going to get into the whole John and his mother issues thing. That would warrant an entire essay by itself.

Next is Paul. Look at how he's the only one with his hands on the console. In the latter years, Paul took on the role as leader and for a while they stayed together just by Paul's sheer force of will. It was Paul who wanted to invite the cameras in and film a documentary about them, and coincidentally, Paul looks like the only one interested in giving the fans a good show. Look at how annoyed Paul looks too. When Brian died, they had two choices for a manager, there was one who Paul supported, and one guy who the others supported, a friend of John's, Allen Klein. Allen did things that Epstein refused to, such as rerelease the Beatles songs as compilations. Paul felt that this was diminishing their artistic accomplishments, the death nail was when Paul sued the other three Beatles, in what he called a 'divorce'. The Beatles as a business unit were dead.

As an album, The White Album is their most dis-unified, it almost seems like a bunch of songs they had thrown together in the form of a double album, and contrary to the logic of the first two things I just mentioned, it's probably their best. It's size was an ambitious statement back then, and it's reputation has become almost monolithic. If Ahab had a white whale to chase, then I submit a theory that bands these days chase a 'white album', with the challenge of: can you make a giant, ambitious artistic statement and keep the quality of material consistently excellent? Most bands don't have a 'white album', and in my mind only two albums really hit that mark of sheer size combined with quality, 'The Wall' and '69 Love Songs'.

Look at the lines on the wall, they almost look like prison bars. The Beatles were trapped inside their own fame. It was a good thing they broke up. My grandma says that you like your children much more when they leave, and they like you more. The Beatles were stuck together for ten straight years. They had to be. Their fame came pretty quick, and stayed that way until they broke up. They couldn't go outside without being mobbed by people, and as a result spent most of their time together in the same rooms. When the band started, they were boys, and they couldn't really reach that last step of growing up unless they went out on their own, away from the 'family' if you will, and carve their own paths. And the band had to break up for that to happen. I personally find it to be a miracle they had such a consistently high quality of songs during their time together, and it's probably a good thing they didn't keep on making records. For all we know, they could have turned into The Rolling Stones. I'm glad they weren't together long enough for fans to go: God, these guys are way too old to still be doing this, just give it up.

I guess the only thing you can say is, ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on.

Astronomer 07-29-2009 03:43 AM

This latest entry is fantastic. You have a sound knowledge of The Beatles and I learnt lots here that I had never known before. I've always really loved that picture and the millions of words it speaks.

Piss Me Off 07-29-2009 06:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davey Moore (Post 710867)
I like to think of the majority of my generation, my associates and partners in crime with the analogy of the Roman candle. If you don't know of the Roman candle analogy, it's okay, because I thought of it. A lot of us are like fireworks, shooting up into the sky, looking pretty and inciting oohs and aahs from the spectators below. But when we peak, when we explode, we're naught but a burnt husk landing on the ground, a shadow of our former glory. People peak too early. Think of the jocks and the high school stars, who will spend the rest of their lives as insurance salesmen or working at the Pep Boys in their hometown. They're Roman candle, they are fireworks, never again to see their fiery youth but everyday hoping to relive it. But we're not unique in this tradition. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said there are no second acts in American life. For a large section of the populace, that's true. And they will forever be stuck in that cliché if they don't wake up from the daydream.

You make me feel so lazy, i always saw the candle for what it is, a shining beacon standing out from the music at the time that didn't aim as high as Daydream Nation did. The lyrics to the song Candle kind of allude to this as well, as well as their image of a stoner band who were just playing shit for the fun of it. There were a lot of bands doing just that but none of them could make a masterpiece like this, as you said it's a hugely complicated album.

Fruitonica 07-29-2009 08:03 AM

This is probably the best collections of writings on the site, elegantly written, touching and often insightful, and a clarity of ideas that is impressive. It actually makes me wish I contributed more to the sight, and makes me determined to start writing here again.

And kudos for the Deadhouse Gates quote. Fantastic and tragic book, (and series).

NumberNineDream 07-29-2009 06:29 PM

the last paragraph says it all ...

Davey Moore 07-30-2009 03:12 PM

'Exile on Main St.' by The Rolling Stones (1972)

http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/7903/r0121ll.jpg

It's rare if you encounter an album with less bullsh*t and frills than this. The bullsh*t levels would have to be negative because this album has none. And negative bullsh*t? Well, that's just a bullsh*t concept. This album is literally a tour across the Rock and Roll landscape and clearly illustrates that: Rock and Roll will kick your ass, get your girl and then do a funky dance with her, steal your money and gamble with it, then win and use the proceeds to buy drugs, getting your girl addicted to heroin and when she overdoses and dies, will do a sad bluesy ballad as a tribute to her(after all, Rock and Roll isn't soulless), making you watch the entire time, and after it's all over, Rock and Roll will buy you a beer, because he's that kind of a guy. He's like the Count St. Germain of Music. If you don't know who that guy is: Saint-Germain: The Immortal Count

Pretty crazy, about that Count guy, eh? Immortality. Even though I mostly despise ACDC, I share their scholarly views regarding Rock and Roll, and Exile on Main St. is a great example. Rock and Roll will never die, mostly because of albums like Exile. Ballsy, roots and raw, speeding along the tracks at three hundred miles an hour. The songs tend to cut off abruptly, a staggering effect which is used effectively, although at the time it was because Jagger decided he wanted to edit the album although he wasn't very skilled in a technical sense. That's a very Rock thing to do. Or arrogant. But then again, Rock is arrogance. Also, isn't that album cover pretty damn crazy, too?

It was post-Beatles, Bob Dylan had went off and done his own thing and would occasionally go the way of JD Salinger, and the people were looking for a leader, and a member of the Old Guard stepped up, The Stones, and carried the torch and passed it on when they saw fit, which came a few years later when Springsteen emerged. But, until then, they rocked out, and they did it better than any of the Americans who claimed to have invented the form.

This album is the opposite of innovative. It is a composite. An amalgam of everything that made Rock and Roll what it was, and Mick and Keith and the others were simply marionettes, interpreting a vast catalog. They pulled in Mississippi Delta resources, British Invasion sources, Jazz, New York bohemianism, basically every strand of Rock and Roll existing back then. And then they created a masterpiece. You know how in an earlier essay, I talked about the 'Great American Album'? This would qualify if it wasn't made by a bunch of limey bastard geniuses.

Sweet Virginia and Loving Cup are big highlights. Loving Cup has that classic Rolling Stones moment where they all of a sudden kick into gear. Think about in “You Can't Always Get What You Want”, where it starts soft but then goes into high gear: “You get what you n-e-e-e-e-d” and the drums pump up, etc. The same thing happens in this. It's near the beginning, and it, of course, is on the line: “Gimme little drink, from your loving cup!” Classic Stones. They really know how to build a song up and let it progress.

Not only is it a bad ass album, it's not afraid to be sensitive. The album runs the whole gamut of emotional range. The best Rolling Stones song on the album, by far, is a song called Let it Loose, a sad ballad with perhaps Mick's best vocal performance. The rhythm and progression of the song is brilliant. It might even be the best Rolling Stones song EVER. It's certainly my favorite. It has that sort of effect on me. Other songs in the same vein include Shine a Light, which I feel should have ended the album, putting Soul Survivor on a different part of the album.

A lot of friends of mine talk about how there can be no new genres, only subtle variations on what already exists. There has been so much innovation. Get a group of people together and try and combine random and disparate musical idea together and if someone's got enough of an encyclopedic knowledge, they'll tell you it's already been done. So where would we go from here? Perfection. Let's stop focus on being the most innovative, and lets focus on perfecting sounds and genres instead of trying to break them in half. The Rolling Stones didn't reinvent the wheel here, they just made a hell of a damn good wheel. And that's why this is one of the greatest albums, ever. It doesn't make any pretentious claims, it just admits that it is, what it is. And that's what Rock and Roll is all about. Being who you are and saying 'f*ck you' to anyone who has a problem with that.

Davey Moore 07-30-2009 05:55 PM

'69 Love Songs' by Magnetic Fields (1999)

http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/253...eticfields.jpg

It might seem strange to wax poetic about something a comedian said, but studies have shown that statistically the most intelligent profession when give IQ tests were comedians, and in this age, we don't have activists like Thomas Paine, considered to be the voice of a revolution. We have people like Jon Stewart, Lewis Black, Patton Oswalt, Chris Rock and rest in peace, the late George Carlin. There are no better social commentators than comedians. And, to be honest, I don't even know if he came up with this concept, but Russel Brand can be a mini-philosopher up on that stage. He was making a joke about threesomes and said something about how we live in a secular age and as opposed to in times past, most try to find salvation through love. I've never been in love. I've had some girlfriends and some one night stands that we both regretted the next day while our heads were throbbing and we got dressed. And the fact that I've never been in love scares me, because I am a sentimentalist at heart, despite being a pessimist and a fan of entropy and seeing society break down and riots form, I am a sentimentalist. Steven Spielberg films touch me, his best ones anyway. Yet I still face the facts, that I'm not certain whether or not I believe in the concept of a true love. Of fate and you having no control over it. The concept of true love is really ingrained in our society, but I pose you this conundrum, if there was truly someone out there meant for you, why would it be so hard to find that person. After all, if you're rational and believe in science, we're in essence animals. Our DNA have such miniscule differences that it's hard to comprehend so many divorces.

Vonnegut posited that the reason marriage is breaking down is because there is a break down of the family and extended family all staying together in the same area, all living near each other. Most of my family is in Seattle or New Orleans. Vonnegut said that in the old days, when you got married, the man had more people to have beers with, tell jokes to and play cards with. And that the woman had more people to talk to and have more friends. Essentially in the olden days when you got married, one of the great benefits is that there were more friends for each spouse, and you could confide in them, hang out with them, essentially taking a break from your spouse, but still being in the same family. And these days, in marriage, you essentially gain one more person to talk to, and being with the same person every day for the rest of your life is really damn boring and can make the most personable and rational person frustrated. Another interesting thing, Chris Rock, one of the great social commentators of our time, said that you haven't been in love with a person unless you've seriously contemplated murder. And though it was meant as a joke, I see a grain of truth in that.

But what about Magnetic Fields? These guys believe in love. And to them, love is brilliant, painful, but most important, essential. This is an album that could have easily succumbed to hubris, but fortunately, it is unpretentious and heartfelt, throughout the entire album. And let's be clear, even if this album wasn't as good as it was, it would still be worth a listen, because of the sheer accomplishment. 69 songs, all mostly full length songs, so they don't do the Guided by Voices thing, with 29 songs but being about 40 minutes long. This album is eight minutes short of being three hours long. In fact, the highlights of this album could make a double album. For instance, here is what that double album would look like, based just on my personal taste Another thing that is interesting, is that the singer reminds me of Leonard Cohen in his tone, but he's a better singer. All the songs on this album are great, but some aren't just my type. All of them I respect, but I'll point out the particularly best ones:

Disc One

1.Absolutely Cuckoo
2.I Don't Believe in the Sun
3.All My Little Words (I love the, banjo I think, such a great melody)
4.Reno Dakota (absolutely amazing 1 minute spitfire of a song)
5.I Don't Want to Get Over You
6.Come Back From San Francisco (beautiful, should have been written in the late 60s, really reminds me of the era, except for the word disco, but oh well)
7.The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side (great song, great lyrics)
8.I Think I Need A New Heart
9.The Book of Love
10.The One You Really Love
11.Punk Love (something about this is insanely catchy.)
12.Parades Go By
13.Boa Constrictor
14.A Pretty Girl Is Like...(absolutely wonderful and catchy, and sort of humorous)
15.My Sentimental Melody (I'm sucker for any instrument that sounds like a carnival or a circus instrument, and the main instrument sounds exactly like that. I don't know what it is.)
16.Nothing Matters When We're Dancing
17.The Things We Did and Didn't Do (absolutely one of my favorites on the album)
18.Roses
19.When My Boy Walks Down the Street
20.Time Enough For Rocking When We're Old
21.Very Funny (classic short little pop ballad sound)
22.Grand Canyon (brilliant)

This list can go on, I haven't even reached some of my favorites, but, you know what, I think I've proven my point.


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