Highlights, lowlights, and in-betweens of a decade.
They’re popping up everywhere.
Every blog, every news site, even long-winded TV and radio spots.
Best-of lists, favorite lists, highlights from the past decade. DECADE. 10 years have come and gone, and I’m left wondering, where did it all go? Look how much has changed. I was inspired by lots of “100 best albums of the last decade,” and as music snobby as I am, have been incredibly disappointed. I wanted to write my own long winded rants about how these people don’t understand groundbreaking albums, or amazing songs that change lives. But, as aforementioned, these are everywhere.
So instead I’m going to wax oh-so-unelequently on something a bit more personal. *side note* I’ve been working like gangbusters to try and get this up before January 1st. Music has changed my life significantly. Saved it, really. It’ makes it possible to carry on, and the music one gravitates toward reflects what is going on in their lives, what they relate to, what resonates inside of them. So lets go into the way-back machine and see what has made yours truly into the quirky individual I am.
2000-2001 – Oh, the child-like wonder.
Junior and Senior year of high school. I was driving a black 1991 Mazda 626. I’d never been in love, except for with the most beautiful boy I’d ever laid eyes on, who also loved other beautiful boys. I wore bowling shoes constantly and, after losing all that crazy baby weight, wanted to show off a little mid-section before they became strict on the dress code.
I’d slowly gravitated from my constant wear-out rotation of Elvis Presley and various oldies to jam to (I warn you, this isn’t pretty) Backstreet Boys, 98 degrees, and Ricky Martin. Other highlights; Dave Matthews Band, Better than Ezra, Stone Temple Pilots, Hootie and the Blowfish, The Verve Pipe, Toadies, and Eve 6. Essential Top 40 love.
I worked at a local owned copy shop and another boy (who I adored) handed me a mix tape with The Juliana Theory on it.
2001-2004 – Living in Your Letters and other emotional stuff.
The biggest year jump, but then again, starting college places you in a type of time-space continuum where not a lot happens. I was driving a Red Honda CR-V which lasted me up through 2008. I was working at a print shop, then a pizza place. I experienced true heartbreak. I was creating real art for the first time, still longing for a real love of my very own.
I’d been chatting to a guy online and he sent me an mp3 of the band that changed everything for me, Dashboard Confessional. Don’t laugh, scoff or judge.I realized for the first time there was music beyond the radio and lusted after more. I’d discovered bands like Alkaline Trio, Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, Saves the Day, Hot Water Music, Further Seems Forever, Jets to Brazil, the Brand New, Modest Mouse. All of these solidifying my roots in Emo. They sang what I thought, each guitar riff playing the melodies that resonated inside of me.
Next to my wistful emotional side, I’d started to realize how jaded the world can be, I started listening to Minor Threat, Fugazi, Jawbreaker, Rites of Spring, Sunny Day Real Estate, Bouncing Souls, Operation Ivy, Black Flag, Youth Brigade and any other punk rock I could get my hands on. Music that was shunned by society,t he same way I’d always felt. Cast out from the normal group of people. I rocked Andrew W.K., and was commonly smiled at with pity, “Look at that middle class white girl who loves trashy rock about partying and getting wasted.” I didn’t drink. I just loved the music. She Is Beautiful is amazing song, and don’t you forget it.
I’d also become reacquainted with my old friend who out snobs me with music to this day. He opened the door for me with bands like Head Automatica, Oh My God, The Eels, and Murder By Death.
2005-2006 – Let the Mix Tapes Begin
This is where I discovered good music, or rather, good music found me. I was still working at the same pizza restaurant, and made a connection with a man which drastically changed my life for the better. It started with me asking the question, “What is in your CD player right now?” And he answered Blonde Redhead. WHO? “I’ll make you a cd.” And the next few weeks included cds and love notes left on counters between shifts.
Music brought me and him together, and music is the only thing that has stayed. He showed me Nick Cave and helped me get past my prejudices of the Beatles. He understood good music, and took my listening base to a new level, exposing me to Jazz and experimental music, the origins of Punk Rock with X and Bad Brains. We had a lot of overlap, but he had 4 years more adoration of music than I did. Most importantly, he showed me David Bowie, and it changed me life. I spent months listening to Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust. I tried desperately to gather his whole catalog.
I also finally understood Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and Led Zeppelin. On my own discoveries, I devoured Bright Eyes, Death From Above 1979, The Pixies, Wilco, Built to Spill. Built to Spill. Built to Spill. Oh how I adore There’s Nothing Wrong with Love. To feed my addiction, I got a job at a record store.
2006-2007 – The Sweet Spot
I graduated from college. Still worked at the record store. Saw live shows almost twice a month if not more. The Flaming Lips, Spoon, Mates of State (this band was rediscovered for me after listening to them in my Emo era), Sparklehorse, My Morning Jacket, The Arcade Fire. This was, as my friend puts it, the Sweet Spot in life.
Everything resonated unto itself. I also started as a Graphic Designer in Sacramento, CA. I was experimenting with Stevie Wonder and John Legend. Nick Cave became more prolific, I discovered Metacritic which aided in determining what would grace my cd collections. And Cat Stevens. I found Cat Stevens and listened and lived his music with a veracity unknown before Bowie.
Other bands of interest: Antony and the Johnsons, Placebo, Leonard Cohen, Gnarles Barkley, Frank Black, The Strokes, Interpol, and a lot of the Beatles including solo Paul McCartney and Jon Lennon. My tasted were now refined and solidified in Rock and Roll…and indie rock.
2007-2008 – Pain and Discovery
A profound break-up of a three+ year relationship left me with an amazing friend and a severe loss. Of note: Al Green’s album was amazing. I began to find myself again. Bands like Bon Iver and City and Colour were discovered. I finally realized what Bruce Springsteen was all about and I’d started listening to Elvis Costello again. I’d started to listen to more folk music and an ungodly amount of classic rock. Rifling through my now massive cd collection when the right moment hit. I was comfortable in my selections and worked slowly on building up the cd collection to encompass everything I adored, and sifting out the things I’d outgrown.
I met a new boy from Texas and he showed me a world I hadn’t known before. He also promised me everything I could have wanted. I often remember thinking sitting on my back porch “Are you here to save me, or sent by the devil to ruin me?” He showed me Alt Country, a genre I’d never heard of, but I’d previously dabbled in with Langhorn Slim and the aforementioned Wilco and My Morning Jacket.
After spending a summer camping and exploring the area of California I grew up around, I had a profound love for Lucero, bringing me something that Chris Carrabba had back in 2001. A band that created music that paralleled my life. I ended the year by giving up my job and moving with him to New Mexico.
2009 – My Second Life
I quickly left New Mexico for a variety of reasons. I was confused, dejected, and scared. I moved back to California for a month to re-establish my life. I wanted so badly to move to Austin, Texas but put laid out (and not to get too Jesus-y) my faith to God. He’d show me where I needed to go. I sent out close to 30 resumes a day, got several interviews. I finally got an offer in Memphis, TN. Home of Elvis Presley, whom I still love, and more recently, the band Lucero who I’d been ferociously listening to. In Tennessee I’d started listening to more Placebo, Langhorn Slim, and Ryan Bingham, the Drive By Truckers, and Murder by Death. My love of music still growing, I have a backlog of albums I still need to listen to.
After years and years of short hair, it was now growing out. I’d finally lost the weight I’d put on in the bad times. I was living by myself again. I finally felt like an assured adult. I was confident. I’d done so much, and I watched good movies, read intelligent books, I’d been drawing like mad, and found Paste Magazine, which has given me a springboard for so many other musicians I’ve yet to fully devour. Several months after moving here, I was at a housewarming party with a group of people I’d just met, and I sat outside and talked with a charming man about Nick Cave and Murder by Death. My love of music brought me here, brought me to him, and like the discovery of so many musicians (and I mean hundred and hundreds) have changed my life so has he and the amazing group of people he’s introduced me to.
Music has guided me and brought me into contact with so many amazing people and experiences. My best friends in California who I love with my heart and soul I met through exchanges of music, and my friends here in Tennessee as well. I think if I went more in-depth, this could go on forever. There’s a lot I had to leave out as well.
While working on the above, I’ve noted on “The Twitter” how strange it is drawing little time capsules of yourself can be. It’s giving recognition to who you were and who you are now. A time line of growth. I really suggest taking a look back on the past 10 years of your life and looking at how you’ve changed. I’d love to hear about it.
Living inside a moment of cliché.
I had the most bizarre Thanksgiving weekend.
To summarize, my grandmother died. Around 2 months ago. Remember this post?
The funeral was the day before Thanksgiving.
So my loving boyfriend took me to the airport before the sun came out and I flew all the way to the sunny state of California for a funeral several weeks past due. When I arrived at the service, I was washed over with this strong feeling of Deja Vu. I was walking on the fake, uneven grass which covered the real grass right by the plot where my grandfather was buried almost 23 years before. I was two at the time, and still the memories of that funeral burn like an eternal flame in my mind.
It’s quite strange seeing your 98 year old grandmother as ashes in a small box. It’s even stranger to try and say goodbye to a pile of dust. (insert Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes here)
The last time I was home was over July 4th weekend, seeing family and packing up belongings to send back to Memphis. My life was still up in the air. So many things have managed to change since then, and it was only close to 5 months ago.
So I’m visiting with my family, discussing life and professions and my darling boyfriend and how he’s been this glowing light shining on my life, illuminating everything and making it better. Discussing and contrasting life in California and life in Tennessee. Playing with my nieces, holding my nephew for the first time since he was born almost 3 months ago.
And then my loving family took me to the airport before the sun came out and I flew all the way to Tennessee, with a very extended layover in Dallas. And this is really where the story starts.
After walking and taking the sky tram in circles around the same wing of terminals, I settle down to wait several hours until I can board my flight and be in my love’s arms again. As the lines of chairs fill with people awaiting their flights home, I overhear talk of places in Sacramento. The Powerhouse Pub in Folsom, The Golden Bear in midtown. I had to get up and walk over to the arrivals and departures monitors to make sure I was sitting at the right gate, and it wasn’t randomly changed with out my notice. I traveled across the airport, and here I was, waiting in between the two places that I’ve called home. At any point, I could have boarded one instead of the other (discounting technology and security). I was somehow at the crossroads of my life. The security of where I grew up and my close friends I’ve shared years of my life with in A18, and my new life and new friends and new potential in A19.
You may not see the significance, but I did. It was like being in some bad reality TV show and I had to choose between two bachelors whom I loved deeply.
And the boarding calls happened at almost the same time.
And I abandoned the safety of home once again for new possibilities and a new life.
With that decision, which wasn’t really a decision, I walked down the makeshift hallway, buckled myself in, prepared for takeoff, and flew into the future.
I turn 26 today.
Spoiler Alert: This post is about Evil Urges.
I started this post at the end of September.
It started as an album review and somehow turned into a bit of bitching. So I decided to let it be what it is.
Lets go back in time to the morning of September 23, 2009.
I have a normal morning routine. Get in my car with a cup of either ices tea or coffee, plus in my ipod, spin the dial and find the perfect melodies to infect my brain while I travel the 20 minutes to work. As most of you know, this routine can have a different feel every day, so music must be picked carefully and accordingly. Sometimes this can range as widely as Andrew WK, the Beatles, Broken Social Scene, Murder City Devils. Yesterday, I was listening to Nick Cave’s Nocturama.
But this morning was different.
I didn’t know what I felt like. So I randomly spun the dial and it landed on a band I enjoy but don’t spend a lot of time with. I notice one album, which came out June 2008 and I never got around to listening to. Thinking back, I was having a music drought at that time. I was going through a lot of emotions with one relationship coming to an end, and a new one emerging. I can only blame this oversight to being swooned away by the Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, and City and Colour.
This album is one of the first albums I’ve listened to in a long time where it hit me right away. Every song brought forth emotions in me that just fit. It took me up and down and around. I was fully kidnapped into the lyrics, sounds, and gentle guitar riffs. Before I knew it, I was at work and I so badly wanted to continue listening. I craved to hear it all again and again.
And what album could this be? What could move me so much within just moments of hearing this bliss?
My Morning Jacket’s Evil Urges.
So I get to work and do some quick research before starting my day. My go to, of course, is Metacritic. I excitedly typed in the album name, and there was the score right in front of me. My heart dropped.
I quickly scroll through the various reviews. Spin magazine says:
Evil Urges is easily MMJ’s most accomplished and ambitious record, masterfully sifting through genres.
Ok, I agree with that.
But Pitchfork says:
There are few fiery guitar freakouts, folk-influenced melodies, soaring space-rock bridges, or psychedelic flourishes here; instead, the empty space is mostly filled with serviceable falsetto funk and glassy-eyed yacht-pop.
Even the user reviews aren’t stellar. How is this possible? Am I completely musically out of touch? I pride myself on my eclectic and profound music tastes. I can’t be wrong on this one. Maybe they’re being conceptual, as in “If you like this album, you are succumbing to evil urges.” But somehow I doubt that’s what they were going for. They know what they’re doing. They had been around 10 years by the time Evil Urges was released.
Instead this musical masterpiece allows My Morning Jacket to really enjoy the spotlight of fine production admiration of masses. And I’m not saying this as a bad thing. It worked for Modest Mouse, sort of. Well, if I may digress for a moment, I do feel Modest Mouse has grown a bit boring since Good News For People Who Love Bad News. But again, a rant for another day.
My Morning Jacket managed to be quite obvious with their inspirations throughout this album, But like a fine wine, these different flavors meld and entangle themselves to create a rich, fulfilling experience. As the album starts with it’s title track, it feels slow. Some listeners desire their albums to start with a bang. Most mainstream pop albums start this way. However, Evil Urges creeps up on you, setting an introduction to the story about to unfold with just the right sprinkling of the late Jeff Buckley. Once you get to the third track
Highly Suspicious you’re thrown into a Prince flashback. Well more of if Prince and The Talking Heads had a love child. Followed by I’m Amazed, a more folk rock tune which seems to fit My Morning Jacket more than the others with it’s throwback to 1970s rock and The Grateful Dead.
This is a masterpiece album. They managed to incorporate such a variety of different musical influences which any person with discerning ear for fine music can easily pick up on.
I truly adore this album, and still listen to it on a relatively regular basis.
I guess it ended up a music review.
Pitchfork, can I have a job now?
All the best secrets are kept.
I am crazy about my boyfriend.
Head over heels, float on air, swoon on a daily basis crazy about him.
Just seeing him puts my heart at ease.
I remember having this conversation years ago with a previous interest of mine. We talked about secret things that you just love about the other person, because these things are sweet, happy, comforting, sexy, etc. But telling them about the little nuances of their every day personality would ruin these unique moments that other holds so precious.
I didn’t understand this at the time. I was young, of course. However, my mind set was “If you love it, why not tell them?” I didn’t factor in the thought that perhaps mentioning these small jewels of moments could somehow change them. Now, instead of them smiling to themselves when they received something in the mail, or stretch their wrists, or sing softly as they prepare a sandwich* because that is who they are, they don’t do it honestly anymore. They know you’re watching. Now they’re aware that you notice these things, instead of just doing them because that’s what they do.
I think mostly, the fact that there was something secret about me that some one else wouldn’t fill me in on bothered me more.
But I understand it now.
My boyfriend does some things that magnify my adoration of him. And it’s these routine things that he doesn’t realize he does that makes my heart sing. Just like a home isn’t a home unless there’s something familiar there, he just isn’t himself without these little idiosyncrasies that make my day special for so many different reasons.
And I’ll be damned if I ever tell him the specifics of these sacred moments I hold so dear. I wouldn’t dream of tainting the purity of them.
I just enjoy them for as long as he enjoys mine.
*The above mentioned innocent acts do not apply to any actual person, they were made up as examples. Any similarity to an actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Nothing Feels Good.
I’m channeling my inner Emo-Kid.
My world has sort of been rotating out of control. Which means I’m rotating out of control.
Details of which are a mix of “I don’t know why I feel this way” and things I don’t want to really divulge at this juncture. But suffice to say, I pretty much want to wrap up in a ball and cry for awhile.
I told you I was being emo.
So I’m “dealing” by closing myself off in my house and watching bad TV. This is in no means healthy for anyone. I’m, for the most part, a very optimistic person. Your very own Pollyanna as it were. So when I’m like this, I don’t feel like myself. I feel gross. The thought of people makes me anxious. Especially groups of people. And I’m torn between wanting to be held and being repulsed by the thought of anything touching me.
It reminds me of being seventeen and repeatedly heartbroken by the football player whom I crushed on all senior year. This has nothing to do with that kind of heartbreak, but I will deal with this sadness inside me the same way. I’m going to put on The Promise Ring. Listen to Nothing Feels Good over and over and over again. Hoping to somehow lift my heavy heart enough to go see the people I care about tonight.
And I don’t know if anything at all will be all right.
I don’t know Billy Ocean and I don’t know the ocean floor.
I don’t own any albums, I don’t know anything.
I don’t go to college
And I don’t know if anything at all will be all right
I’ve got my hands on the one hand,
but I don’t know where to put them.
It’s a great album. You should buy it.
A little conversation.
Back when I worked at a pizza place a co-worker and myself used to play a game. This consisted of allocating a word to each of us and we had to keep track of how many time we could fit that word into every day conversation. These were normally of a sexual nature, but varied from time to time to words which we just loved to hear.
Top 5 Words I love to hear used in every day conversation:
What are yours? I know you have them, whether they just make you giggle or love the way it makes your moth move. I’ll throw yours in my conversations, if you use mine.
Of heartbreak and horn sections.
Last night my heart was broken.
Before you start offering condolences, it wasn’t my amazing boyfriend who tore it apart.
It was Ben Nichols. Well, more appropriately, Lucero.
Let’s go back in time a bit. I love Lucero. Since I was introduced to them, they spoke directly to my soul. I spent a summer driving up through Northern California playing Tennessee over and over again. Sweet Little Thing, Nights Like These, and Chain Link Fence on a constant rotation until I knew all the words by heart. I link this album directly with driving through the massive redwoods and to the smoky campfires. It didn’t hurt I’d seen Ben Nichols perform live earlier that summer during one of his solo shows.
I can name exactly where a fell in love with each of their albums. When they stopped being just random songs to affecting me deeply. Nobody’s Darlings I was listening to when I first bought my manual car. I was driving down to San Jose for a conference, and my heart skipped a beat when I started to listen Angelee and The War. I proceeded to tumble into pure adoration with this album while sitting outside my hotel on a misty evening. Rebels, Rouges and Sworn Brothers, I was driving down to one of my best friend’s houses in Sacramento for Fakesgiving. That Much Further West, sitting out on back patio in Sacramento enjoying the warm summer evenings, barbecuing and drinking Lone Star beer. And most recently, flying back home to California for the Fourth of July I gazed out the window at the tops of passing clouds and finally their self-titled album playing in time with my heart. It took my breath away to the point of me repeating Raising Hell over and over, the riff at 2 minutes and 58 seconds making it to my top 5 favorite guitar riffs ever list.
I didn’t fall for these albums in chronological order, but instead let them hit me when they were destined to. I’ve touched previously on music affecting you most profoundly during specific times in your life, and Lucero music has indeed done that. You may or may not know that earlier this year I moved to Memphis for a new job. I was venturing into the unknown to a location where the only person I would recognize would be Elvis Presley, and if I were lucky maybe steal a glance at Ben Nichols in his natural environment. Rebels, Rouges and Sworn Brothers was the soundtrack for me uprooting and driving from California to Tennessee, listening to San Francisco as I drove past the city for the last time, serenading my goodbye. The Mountain on constant rotation as I started my life over.
From California to Tennesse. Good Fourtune has not yet found me.
And even The Weight of Guilt becoming the soundtrack and inspiration for my novel which is still unfinished.
So last night, I’m sitting on a picnic blanket waiting. I was just as excited to see them this time as the previous four times. This band, Lucero, which has moved and inspired me. A new album recently released (and, alas, still not in my collection) with songs I still can’t wait to devour. They come on stage and start with a new song and they are accompanied with the new addition of a horn section. I was excited. I was thrilled. I’d heard tracks from the new album, and I’ve been a sucker for horns in the past. Everything from Burt Bacharach to random ska bands. Used correctly, horns are amazing. And with their new songs, they are amazing. They add something new and different. And then they started playing the well known track That Much Further West.
And this is where my heart breaks.
It wasn’t until hearing the horns come in, with all their cheesy glory, that my heart sank. It was like the Boston Pops doing Lucero covers. And no, that’s not a good thing. I think you could actually hear my fragile heart breaking, over the horn sections, over the screaming crowd, over my loud tantrums and frustration.
Adding horns has somehow taken out the earnestness of their music. What made Nights Like These amazing was the heartbreak you could relate to. Picturing a broken man singing about the girl who’ll never quite give up the ghost of her past love. And somehow, adding a horn section where it doesn’t belong seems to tarnish the raw emotion.
This is where I need to get specific. I don’t hate the “New Sound” with the horns. I think it’s actually quite fitting and I’m really glad as a band they’re looking to expand and grow. Granted I didn’t anticipate horns in the beginning, but I should have seen it coming considering on the last album I Can Get Us Out Of Here Tonight has uncanny similarities to Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run. Why not fully embrace The Boss? Except Bruce has abandoned that sound. He’s scaled back, now creating song utilizing that indie sound. Something simpler than the E Street Band, because that’s not where music is anymore. But again, I digress. The horns work with their new tracks because they were intended. You can tell when you listen, they were expected and the music was created with a horn section in mind. Their old songs, however, were created with blood and tears. They had music that played at your heart because of basic nature of it, not the new sensational rendition you hear now.
“Why so much angst?” you may ask. “They’re just horns,” you might say.
Let me put it this way, it’s like when George Lucas decided to re-do the original Star Wars movies. He went and messed up the films that we grew up with, fell in love with, and created fan films dedicated to them. Or was that just me?
It’s like adding too much spice to your food to the point where it’s no longer palatable.
This new horn section on classic old tracks is that young hussy your dad just married with too much makeup. Or that breast augmentation of that 60 year old who now has the rack of a 20 year old stripper.
I had to have my boyfriend take me home. I couldn’t stand to listen to one more song by one of my favorite bands. A band which I saw only a few weeks before play a secret show is what everything I could have wanted it to be. And I danced and sang along to the parts that mattered. My soul just couldn’t take hearing them ruin every song of theirs that’s mattered to me.
I should be used to bands breaking my heart, it’s happened more than once. But for now I’ll be content to listen to their old albums, cleanse my brain palate of the atrocity that happened last night. I will metaphorically sift through the boxes of all our good memories. I’m not sure I’m ready to say goodbye yet, but I’m not sure I can stand seeing them face them for a very long time.
It would just hurt too much.
Stuck in a storm, we’ll do a rain dance.
Let’s have a little High Fidelity moment, shall we?
It’s been raining like crazy here in Memphis. They sky a perpetual grey approximating Hex #666666. Let’s hope it clears up by Thursday evening so I can can go see Lucero play at the Levitt Shell. Otherwise, I fear, it will be a muddy dance party. One thing is for sure, Memphians never let the rain get them down.
My Top Five Albums to Listen to when it’s raining
1. Cat Stevens – Mona Bone Jakon
2. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
3. Beta Band – 3 EPs
4. Yoko Ono – I’m a Witch
5. Pete Yorn – musicforthemorningafter
What do you play on a rainy day?
Things Just Getting Awful (yes, that’s a The Promise Ring reference).
I have the best boyfriend in the world.
I expect lots of posts to start this way, so get used to it.
He sent me this article the other day. It made me laugh and cry a little inside. I’m a big fan of The Get Up Kids. I own several shirts of theirs, all their albums, know every word to every song. What brings this all up? I was singing 10 Minutes to Downtown on my lunch break. It flashed me back to being 17 again. Summers driving around the small town where I grew up in my red CR-V.
“What’s your favorite music?” People ask. And I answer, “Elvis, Bowie, Classic Rock, and circa 1995-2002 emo music.” I like a lot of other stuff too, but these are by far my favorite. I have a love of dirty dirty punk rock, the occasional baby-makin’ music (minus the baby-makin’ of course), 1960’s french pop, some random indie stuff… the list goes on. I used to work in a record store. I have eclectic tastes. And I’ve rambled off track again…
What happened to Emo music? How did it go from a branch of punk rock, only passed from person to person on mix tapes to whiny songs from some too pretty skinny male who spends way more time on hair and makeup than I do, wears tighter jeans than I do, cuts himself on a regular basis and was touched inappropriately by his dad? This new “Emo-Core” has lost everything “Core” about it.
For all my chart loving readers, here’s a time line of the brief history of The Emo:
A snapshot of the History of Emo
When interviewed by Sean Michaels of The Guardian, Get Up Kids guitarist James Suptic stated:
“If a band gets huge and they say we inspired them – great. The problem is most of them aren’t very good. What does that say about us? I don’t know. Maybe we sucked.”
Get Up Kids didn’t suck. But I want to know what got lost in translation to the new crappy bands inspired by them. I could list all the crappy New-Emo bands, but I’m sure you already know what circa I’m referring to. And it’s not just new bands, I’ve watched as the band I liked disintegrated into the mainstream crap-fest they call Emo, but is really a bunch of hacks who have watered down the heart and soul of what made the Get Up Kids, Jets to Brazil, Saves the Day, and The Brand New great. They’ve infected bands with so much promise like Head Automatica and Taking Back Sunday to fall to the shit-fest of the New-Emo Cesspool. (The first Taking Back Sunday album was good. I don’t care if you talk shit about it, I know you’ve spent some time singing “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team).”)
I’ve, for the most part, moved past the Emo thing. Whatever it was. I know it was there for me at a point of my life when I needed it. When nothing made sense, and they sang about the way I felt. It introduced me to something more than the mainstream. Allowed me to enjoy the unknown bands surrounding me, just like the Beatles helped me appreciate the mainstream bands surrounding me that are actually good (and for the most part were from the 70s). It doesn’t mean I don’t still play some classic Jimmy Eat World at top volume while I’m driving down the interstate from time to time.
The Get Up Kids recognize the crappiness of the scene they helped develop. And it tells you something else when the musical genius of the birth of Emo-core, Blake Schwarzenbach, would rather teach at in the Department of English at Hunter College than be associated with the scene. According to Wikipedia though, apparently is back on the music scene after a 5 year hiatus. I’m hoping he comes out with an experimental Jazz album.
Now excuse me while I go try to find downloadable Get Up Kids content for Rock Band.
Mommy, I Want To Be An Astronaut When I Grow Up..
What do I want to be when I grow up?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’m 25 years old, and this is the one question I ask people when I first meet them, regardless of their age. Their answer inevitably tells a lot about their mentality, their goals, and their desires. Some will answer “I’m already a grown up.” I call bullshit.
I can rant and rave about what a grown up is, but that is an entirely new post unto itself. But I think the XYZ generations don’t ever really grow up. We’ve never had to, not really. We still play video games, read comics, doodle in the margins. We still play hide and seek, truth or dare, and freeze tag. I’ve talked to the baby boomer generation. They are grown ups, and more power to them for that. They had to deal with more things at younger ages than we have to now. They had limited choices and different life goals. I don’t want to hear anyone argue this either. As a woman, what careers could you have? Many were teachers, nurses, or secretaries until they decided to have children and stay at home. Vacuuming in pearls and having dinner on the table. I think this is awesome, amazing, fantastic. I’m actually quite hurt that this isn’t as prevalent as it used to be. And here I am going into a diatribe over something I mentioned would be devoted to a different post. But, ah, things needed to be said.
So I bring it back around, what do I want to be when I grow up, because I’m definitely not a grown up now. As mentioned previously, I’m at a sort of crossroads with my life. Remember that lovely Venn Diagram? Where do I go? I can tell you I’m vastly uninspired at the moment with my career. I love my job, and what I do, but I’m following the Head/ Wallet trail, wistfully gazing at the Heart road meandering away in a different direction. But what career choice would make me happy and fulfilled?
When you read the articles, fill out the quizzes, and delve deep into your psyche to find your meaning in life, it essentially comes down to, “What what the first thing you remember wanting to do when you were little?” I liked to draw. I drew a lot. I colored a lot, too. First I had this trick-or-treat plastic pumpkin filled to the brim with crayons. An unending cauldron of colorful delights. Then I left it outside and it melted into a solid brick of color. I later grew into a lunch pail full of markers. This was my “fun pack.” I drew all the time and on everything. I was an artist before anything else. As I grew older the thought of being an artist thrilled me, closely followed by the fears and doubts of not being good enough. Not being abstract or creative enough. I had no direction but was told if you’re an artist you’ll struggle the rest of your life. I know they meant financially, but how true those words ring. I could mutate this post into the my thoughts of the mentality of artists, but I think this train of thought really needs some time to flourish on it’s own, and not be crammed into a summary of a few sentences. I eventually gave up on drawing, and instead went for a more lucrative career in graphic design. I love being a designer, but it lacks a little of the… shall we say, razzle dazzle? So I stopped drawing. And I stopped for years. I knew I wasn’t good enough, everyone was always that much better at a much younger age. I just stopped trying. I put the hopes and dreams of being an artist in a little box and locked it away.
About a year ago I decided to make a graphic novel, so I picked up my pencil again. I started writing my grand tale. This story, by the way, is now trapped on a hard drive on a dead computer. And it’s no longer a graphic novel, but just a normal one. I gave up the idea of illustrating it myself because I didn’t have the skill set to keep it going, and somewhere in my brain I thought I might be a semi-decent writer. After reading my rants, I think we can all agree I’m not a great writer either. I don’t really excel in sentence structure. I found, after a five year break from drawing, that I had reverted back to the same level of ability as middle school. I couldn’t make anything look right, not even a form look three dimensional. How could this be? I used to actually be able to draw something and it look like that same something, not a scribble on a page. Something caught fire at that moment. I wanted to draw. I wanted to get better, so I started to draw again. Not a lot at first. A small doodle here, a face there, a mentally disturbed girl huddled in the corner with a hatchet…I was drawing again. I had dreams of being an artist again. Well, if not a full blown artist, someone who would get to draw a lot and be good at it.
And now I draw, but it’s still not very good, but have yet to give up on it. And isn’t that the key, not giving up? Especially when it’s so easy to give up on something when it takes a lot of work. I feel like I stunted my potential 5 years ago by taking the easy road, and now I’m serving my penance. At 25 I’m most likely too old to make something of myself in the comic industry or the illustration market. My skill set at the moment is too limited, my understanding of light sources too rudimentary. But something in my soul is keeping me driven. Can I deny that feeling? Do I give up something that doesn’t completely fulfill me to really concentrate on something that does make me happy? That I really want to be good at? I know you can’t answer these questions for me, but they nag at my brain. So now I try hard to not fall victim to letting this handicap of time discourage me. The fear alone of giving up everything and it not working seems to paralyze me from giving it my all.
I don’t know what I’ll end up doing when I grow up, if I grow up. But I can tell you one thing, I won’t be an astronaut.