Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What's really hard about music ...

I can't think of anything else that feels as personal or creates as many rifts or sparks autonomic defensive postures as music (Keane fans, I'm talking to you). It's so individual in taste and in rock/rap/punk has a real sense or tradition of rebellious, damn-the-torpedoes-and-everyone-else-ethos (like the Doors, Eminem or the Sex Pistols). Yet at the same time, we desperately want the approval of a few others, whose tastes we deem worthy (especially indie rock snobs who live in Los Angeles, like me--whaddya mean you've never heard of Stars or Rachael Yamagata?), when we announce the discovery of a new band/song/album (you gotta check out Lily Allen).

Sure, everyone has fave movies, but we're all allowed a bevy of guilty pleasures and no one thinks you're so uncool that they might have to end the friendship because you could have a triple-header of The Core, American Pie and How to Make an American Quilt (yeah, that's me). Mainly, b/c each person knows that s/he also has an embarrassing triple-header inside them.

And sports teams ... well, a friend loving a team you hate can bring you closer.

Also, we keep an objective score in sports so we know who was better in a game or a season and there's always next year. But not in music. Sure there are awards and record sales and tour grosses, but who gives a shit. Music is more localized and personalized. Plus, the people in the media who have such a huge part in creating our heroes and gods, are fans of music by job, but not sportscasters or even columnists who are supposed to not root for individual teams or athletes, but instead the pure essence of fair competition and shit like that. But in music, of course you root for good albums, who wants to be paid to wade through only cliche-ridden drivel.

So when we find others who share our devotion to an indie rock starlet (like Jenny Lewis) or who have Canadian Amp and have been to the Hotel Cafe, it's more than being a member of a secret society. It's like being blood brothers/sisters--sharing a piece of DNA that makes you special.

My Jenny/Rilo obsession has cost me quite a bit of sleep looking for bootlegs and concert reviews and write-ups, especially searching for an mp3 of the Wiltern show in June 2005. It was in another futile effort to find a recording of their cover version of Lost in Your Eyes, featuring Debbie Gibson on guest vocals, that I stumbled upon mollyknight.com. It's now my fave blog. She works and writes for espn.com. Sports fan, check. She met Jenny Lewis and has her picture on her blog, Doublecheck. Went so Stanford, she's smart, triplecheck. Cute, too.

Perhaps, a soulmate?

But then there was her best music of 2006 list ...

1. Gnarls Barkley-"Crazy"
Any man, woman, or indie rock website that did not list this songs (sic) as the number one jam of the year is missing a few screws. Not since "Hey Ya" has a song been played so many times in so many formats that I have no doubt my grandmothers can sing along. And, not since "Hey Ya" have I heard a song enough time in three months to last me three lifetimes. It's strange for me to call a song I never want to hear again the Best of the Year, but that's just the way it is.

After going on a wild goose chase through the Lower East Side to obtain a copy of the Grey Album three years ago, we knew that DJ Danger Mouse had skills. We did not know he would team up with some other skilled dude to create a bizarrely popular record that's genre can only be defined as Outkastian. Is it pop? No. Hip-hop? No. Weird? Yes. It will not be as popular at wedding receptions as anything Andre 3000 does (Yes, I have gotten done to "Roses" post-ceremony), but it will be in the arsenal of every radio station for the next 40 years, and it will be one of the ten songs in rotation on your local oldies station in 50, along with "Hey Ya" and Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful." And by then I will still be so sick of it that I'll turn the dial. If for some reason you've never heard this song before you are probably going to need to return to the rock from under which you came, take the sorrow you gave and all the stakes you claimed. And don't forget the blame.

I never liked this song, even as literally everyone around me seemed to, including some of my fave musicphiles/snobs. I listened to it dozens of times waiting for the rapture, but it never came. I just grew to dislike it more and more. I honestly hate this song now. I actually think it's stupid. No soulmate for me, eh?

Btw, I used to think that if I ever were to create an online personal ad, all I would do is list every concert I've ever been to, with special emphasis on the shows in Los Angeles. If someone hadn't been to or at least like five of them (not counting seeing the same artist multiple times, like Jenny Lewis or Coldplay) or wishes they could've been to see at least a dozen of these shows, I wouldn't even want a response. This is why Kirsten Dunst might have to be my wife. I know she's been to three of my L.A. shows—Rilo Kiley, Sufjan Stevens and Hotel Cafe Tour closing show. All the other celebs I've seen at shows have been dudes: Jim Belushi, Morrissey, John Cusack, Keanu Reeves, Danny Devito, Adrian Grenier, "Jonathan" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, whoops, forgot about Sissy Spacek.

Now, I think that I'll need a negative list as well, like if you enjoy Gnarls Barkely, Keane or The Killers, please don't contact me or something.

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