June 2nd, 2009

Just give me the music

One of the most terrifying things I’ve heard recently was, “Isn’t the music today awful? There were so many good albums when we were in high school and university, and now it’s all crap.” This was from someone my own age!!

Now I’m sure the music scene has boom and bust years, but there’s always someone doing something interesting. Moreover, there’s always “crap”–you tell me how Tiffany‘s better than Britney. And there will always be a place for powdered-sugar pop–for me, that place is at the gym or when I’m mopping the floor.

I am not too worried about getting older–if my motto is “Smarter every day” (and it is, mainly) then any more days I accumulate must be to the good. I do worry a little about *acting* old–nostalgic, reactionary, inflexible, all those good stereotypes. This “It’ll never be as good as it was” thinking will give you arthritis, absolutely.

Thus, one more reason to stay open-minded, or at least to keep listening to the radio. My trip to Japan gave me lots of exposure to fun music, although little of it actually Japanese. I did hear The Cigarettes playing in the street in front of Kyoto station, but they didn’t have an album for sale, so I won’t be hearing them again (sidebar: I wanted to go toss some change in their guitar case, but Ben restrained me; apparently that is *so* gauche in Japan. But…they busk for fun??) They did give me an English flier with a website on it, which I foolishly believed would allow me to find recordings of their music. But the English site is so incoherent and linkless as to be useless. Cigarettes, where are you?

Ok, for recommendations one can actually find, I scrolled happily through the Air Canada inflight entertainment options, and found some pretty good stuff (although I was semi-insane after so many hours in an airplane, so take that with qualifiers). One such good was Eva Avila. She’s definitely in the Tiffany/Britney sphere, but quite catchy and untrashy, in my opinion. I expect the song that gave this post its name has been all over treadmills and high-school dances this year–it’s a chaste song about dancing, but not *that* chaste (“just let me do it just let me do it”). Oh, and she’s cute and *Canadian*. Nice.

A little higher up the pop-music hierarchy, we have Taylor Swift. I ended up picking Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet to mention in my Pages interview response about bookish love songs over Swift’s Love Story. But it’s still a warm and charming mainstream country love song, and she’s written lots of’em on, as I discovered on the plane. It does seem that this is a popular artist who has some real talent, both vocally and songwritingwise. I feel confident saying that about a popstar people mock me for liking (you know who you are) because Sasha Frere Jones agress with me.

On a non-top-forty note (note, ha!), my brother and I did an iPod exchange on the Shinkansen and I thus discovered the cheerful histrionics of The Films. I was trying to think what they remind me of, and it’s probably lots of things, but maybe a shot of The White Stripes and a mixer of Franz Ferdinand. Or something like that…

Also on Ben’s iPod was my best musical find of the trip, Bright Eyes. I’m actually not sure that this qualifies as the newest music, as the band’s website hasn’t been updated since 2007, the same year their last album was released. Nevermind, it’s still cutting edge weird, two years on.

Of course, I am a writer (thought that’s not been so obvious on this blog of late) and when I say a band is brilliant I often mean they have brilliant lyrics. I actually think Bright Eyes is up to it musically, but it is the lyrics that make me stand still and close my eyes to listen. Here, for you, “When the Curious Girl Realizes She Is under Glass”:

Tomorrow when I wake up I’m finding my brother
And making him take me back down to the water
That lake where we sailed and laughed with our father
I will not desert him. I will not desert him

No matter how I may wish for a coffin so clean
Or these trees to undress all their leaves onto me
I put my face in the dirt and then finally I see
The sky that has been avoiding me

I started this letter, I’m going to send it to Ruba
It will be blessed by her eyes on the gulf coast of Florida
With her feet in the sand and one hand on her swimsuit
She will recite the prayer of my pen

Saying, “Time take us forward, relief from this longing
They can land that plane on my heart, I don’t care
Just give me November, the warmth of a whisper
In the freezing darkness of my room”

But no matter what I would do in an attempt to replace
All the pills that I take trying to balance my brain
I have seen the curious girl with that look on her face
So surprised she stares out from her display case

You see what I mean?

Of course, new music can be exhausting–you have to pay so close attention! I must say I was shockingly glad to find Closer, Sarah McLachlan’s Greatest Hits on the airplane audio menu–the soaring “Vox” was like a magic portal back to 1999 and I listened to the whole album a great number of times (the good/bad thing about 12-hour flights is there’s time to do *everything* a great number of times). Also on the airplane was a new album by Oasis, which seemed reasonably good. However, after a few minutes I had to turn it off because it was just to different from What’s the story, morning glory?. Then I hummed a little of “She’s Electric”, which cheered me, but I also felt my knee joints creak a little.

She’s got a cousin / actually she’s got bout a dozen / she’s got a bun in the oven / but that’s nothing to do with me

Leave a Reply

So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

Now and Next

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Me

Good Reads

What People are saying!


Search the site