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The Past | The Previous

The Mistakes I've Made

It began, I figure, when I downloaded Michael Jackson's Thriller.

I was having a conversation with someone, though I'm not sure who know, about how Jackson had been a pretty decent pop musician in the eighties, but what'd we'd all remember him for now would be the zoo, the whiteness, and the children fucking allegations. After that, I had an itch to download the album, which promptly turned out to suck like you would not believe, and left me wondering if I did indeed know what I was talking about. I mean, sure, Billie Jean isn't a bad song, but all I could think while hearing it was how I wished there was an Alien Ant Farm cover of it like there was of Smooth Criminal. I missed that video clip with the monkey and the tracksuits. In searching for covers, however, I did come across Chris Cornell's version of Billie Jean, and was reminded that I shouldn't wish too hard for covers, because when Cornell hits that chorus, you can't help but laugh.

Anyhow, it began there, this period of bad music. Well, perhaps bad isn't the right word: ordinary music. Music that bored me. Music that I listened to once, maybe twice, and left it where I found it. My lowest moment was the Gnarls Barkley album I downloaded, thinking that, yeah, sure, the millions of people who dig them can't be wrong... but you are. All their songs sound the same. Also, they're boring. I couple of runs through the Odd Couple was enough to convince me that I needed to escape this horrible cycle I was on. Sure, it wasn't costing me money, because I was downloading these albums, trying before I was buying, but I hadn't yet hit anything with that buzz in it. I got the third Bloc Party album, Intimacy, hoping that it might capture what I loved about the first album, and not what bored me about the second, but instead I got this thing that opens with sounds vaguely reminiscent of fire alarms, and doesn't go anywhere interesting with it at all. From that, I had a brief moment where I thought Death Cab for Cutie for reasonable, until I came to my senses and realised it was just my soft rock pop thing that I fall into occasionally misleading me. The new Mogwai album, Hawk is Howling, is the same Mogwai album that they released last, and it sounded vaguely familiar to the one before that, and sure, it'll be okay to put on while I write, because anything without lyrics is good for me when I'm writing, but I was starting to feel as if that Jackson album had tainted me, and I couldn't escape what was, at its core, an emptiness.

None of the albums were bad, you see, they just weren't very good, they just didn't matter to me, and neither did they want too.

The Drone's new album, Havilah, which I bought, was much the same as these, though it has a few stand out tracks like 'Oh My'. But mostly, it lacks the sense of whole that was in their previous album, and the roughness that was in the ones before that. I like it because I like the band, but I know it's not anywhere near their best, and I suspect they're just cruising on this one, rather than pushing themselves. At the very least it's better than the new Augie March album, which I'd forgotten I'd heard until I was going through my playlist just a moment ago. Apparently, I heard the album four and a half times, and couldn't begin to tell you one interesting thing about it.

There have been brief moments, however: the new Mercury Rev album isn't bad, and A Silver Mt Zion's 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons, which I finally got around to buying, is pretty damn decent, and proves that I should've got off my ass ages ago.

But I'm painfully aware I've become lazy throughout the year, that I've just relied on old albums, on bands I knew, and that I am in need of something new, something with that catch that makes you go, 'Fuck, yeah.'

Personally, I blame Michael Jackson for this state I'm in.

(crossposted)

Comments

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paulhaines
Nov. 12th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
Try these bands:
- The Phoenix Foundation.
- The John Steel Singers.

Big bands (ie 6 plus members), all multi-intrumentalists, and half of them have beards.

But you still might not like...
benpeek
Nov. 12th, 2008 02:20 am (UTC)
checking out now, man. thanks.
benpeek
Nov. 12th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)


lol. that's funny.

any album you recommend?
ironed_orchid
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
Your problem was downloading Thriller. Off the Wall is by far the superior album (and even that has a couple of sucky songs). Of course, it's pure disco, which people either love or hate.
benpeek
Nov. 12th, 2008 06:40 am (UTC)
hate.

disco is dead is a t-shirt i might have once owned, but didn't.
jody_macgregor
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:48 am (UTC)
I was disappointed with The Odd Couple as well. Have you heard their (yeah, Gnarls Barkley isn't a guy) far superior first album, St Elsewhere? I love it, but I don't think you can ever go wrong with a pop love song about necrophilia.
benpeek
Nov. 12th, 2008 06:39 am (UTC)
it's really the band?

i swear everyone i've heard has referred to it as a him, though i'll take your word for it, given your day job. as for the first album, just parts. i was going to try it out, but the new one has kind've soured me on it.
jody_macgregor
Nov. 12th, 2008 06:57 am (UTC)
Gnarls Barkley is two guys. Cee-Lo does the singing and rapping and Danger Mouse makes the music. You might know Danger Mouse from the last Gorillaz album or that Jay-Z/Beatles mashup album? The Gnarls Barkley collaboration was only supposed to be a one-off, but it was so successful that they got greedy and churned out a sub-par second album to cash in.

Lately I've been listening to The Saturday Knights, who crush together '60s pop harmonies, '90s rap, loud guitars and a big horn section in an agreeable way.
benpeek
Nov. 12th, 2008 07:34 am (UTC)
ah. i see where i picked it up. when i first heard of their first album, it was told told me as a danger mouse project, but somehow i took cee-lo to be barkley. most likely because i wasn't paying proper attention.

ah well.
deborahlive
Nov. 13th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
My youngster played me a track by an Israeli psychedelic trance group called Infected Mushroom this morning. "Cities of the Future" was the track. It was kinda fun.

http://www.infected-mushroom.com/
(Anonymous)
Nov. 17th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
Havilah
give it some time- this is one hell of a record- perhaps the best album i have heard in years.
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