There are purposeful posts and then there’s self indulgence. This one falls directly in the middle.
Every generation speaks (mistakenly) of how music was so much better when they were younger. It wasn’t. It’s just that, when people are younger, they tend to listen more intently; infuse songs with more meaning. They allow themselves to have more of an emotional stake in each record they buy. They fall asleep with their headphones on and a lifetime of dreams ahead of them. This is why they remember old records this way. For them, at one point, music mattered. It wasn’t just a soundtrack to get drunk by or the cultural by-product of a scene.
This week, amid all the other noise of life, I’ve been going back to records I’ve not listened to in a very long time. There’s been a world of memories flooding back to me and they’re all associated with very specific records. Everyone knows this phenomenon. A song comes on the car radio and you start crying, or getting angry, etc. Why is it, though, that most people, it seems, find this connection almost exclusively to records they listened to between their youth and early 20’s? It’s because they stopped listening. It’s not that new rock-n-roll (of any generation) is any less poetic it’s that people stop letting music speak to them.
And so it goes that this week I’ve been digging through the crates, so to speak, asking myself if I’ve accidentally fallen into this pattern of casual dismissal. As it stands, I don’t think I have. And one of these days I’ll get back to the business of writing about new records and the like. But, for now, I need to stay here.
MP3: Hurrah-Better Time (1987)
MP3: Teenage Fanclub-Everything Flows (1990)
MP3: The Church-Already Yesterday (1985)
MP3: Ride-Vapor Trail (1990)
MP3: Dreams So Real-(Maybe I’ll Go) Today (1986)
MP3: The Feelies-Deep Fascination (1988)
(PS: Tomorrow’s post will very likely be similar to today’s update. If you’re bored, go elsewhere.)
“Every generation speaks…”
That’s exactly how I feel; and I’m trying to keep that feeling alive too. Thanks for the great downloads!
I think you’re absolutely right. I try to remind myself of this all the time. Music can mean just as much once you become a “responsible adult,” you just may have to try harder to let it in the midst of getting by. I was also really looking forward to hearing these tracks (I only know the Ride and Teenage Fanclub songs) but it appears you have exceeded your bandwidth.
“Everything Flows” and “Vapor Trail” are in fairly regular rotation on my mp3 player. I’ve listened to both probably at least once in the past week. I was blaring “Twisterella” just the other day.
As for new stuff – I don’t listen to or hunt out new stuff as much as I used to – largely because the dynamic by which i used to listen to music is gone. Married w/ child means not hanging out in the living room for extended periods listening to music or going to clubs on a regular basis. I told Kevin recently that I would probably be a huge Deerhunter fan if it was the mid-to-late-90s and I still sat in front of the stereo all day with a bong in my hand. As it is, I really like a handful of their songs, like “Strange Lights” and “Like New,” but extended, spacey instrumentals just aren’t going to grab me as much nowadays.
I’ve really been enjoying Jay Reatard’s Singles 07 album, but it’s a pretty comfy place to be, right? It sounds like what I already listen to. The most recent Ravonettes is pretty good – but, again, I’m just reliving J&MC. I really like a good bit of the first RJD2 albums as well. Murs and some Aesop Rock are good, but none of these seem too far out of my comfort zone.
I use my emusic account to try out new things – whether it’s a Stax/Volt comp of stuff I’ve not heard much of, or something newer like Stars or the New Pornographers. Truth be told, I typically end up liking the old stuff, even if it’s new to my ears (“That Other Woman Got My Man And Gone” and “If You Think It (You May As Well Do It)” are two incredible tracks on S/V Singles Vol. 2). Probably still in my comfort zone.
But when it comes to music I associate with “The Kids” – Stars, New Pornographers, the Killers, whatever else I can’t think of… I can’t stand some of it. Some of the NP stuff is OK, but they don’t do much for me. The Killers are horrible. These are the moments I feel like “this generation sucks.” Are all these shitty Nickelback bands considered part of our generation or the next one? Because they’re a pretty damning indictment of how horrible music is nowadays.
Whatever. My comment is now probably longer than your original post, so I’ll stop now…
Links are fixed now.
HA! When I was posting those I actually knew you would be the only person in immediate area to routinely listen to Ride and Teenage Fanclub. (I thought about using “Twisterella” but decided against it.)
I AM a huge Deerhunter fan but, yes, and that may be likely owing to my situation which is decidedly different from yours. I’m not a real fan of New Pornographers and I think The Killers are utter crap, too. Although The Killers are already yesterdays news and better example would be something like, say, Dan Deacon or even Lil’ Wayne. Hate it!
Nickelback would be consider a generation after ours but we also had David & David, Cinderella, Enuff Z’Nuff, Seven Mary Three, etc. etc. Every generation is packed with 99% crap. Obviously, I’m not speaking of those bands.
Yeah, I know time is a factor as far as not really getting into new music. Most adults don’t have hours and hours to sit in their bedrooms listening to records. I mean, I still do it, but I know I’m not a typical sampling.
A big problem, though, with guys like you and me is that we’ve herd so many records, written so much about them, etc that it becomes difficult sometimes to listen to new stuff as a music fan rather than heading into everything with a critical ear. We fall into the trap of “instantly reviewing” everything because we’ve been informed by so much that came before. For myself, I’m trying to break that down bit-by-bit and, hopefully, when I decide I don’t like something it won’t be because I’ve dismissed it out-of-hand.
Although I certainly consider cultural criticism and context placing to be an important part of modernity ( I mean, look how I make my living) I also think that, as humans, there’s a need for transcendence and rapture. That’s what I’m trying not to lose.