One of those weeks when you realize how dependent you are on having an I-pod.

It’s not that I wanted to hurt you

I just didn’t care if I didIt is not that I just forgot you
Also, I forgot everything elseIt is not that I do not love you
It’s just that I hate everyoneIt’s not that I wanted to hurt you
I just didn’t care if I didWhat I did, I did–who I am, I am
Then a stupid kid, now a stupid man
And if I never got my chance to be young
Then what stood between me and making myself one?
What alien at my back and with what ray gun?
When I picked up this pen, it was twenty one one
Why was I scremaing, “Kill kill kill Ronald Reagan?”
Again and again, “Kill kill Ronald Reagan”
But I made my bed, now we’re fucking in it
You gotta be fucking in it to win it
Those are the lyrics from the Titus Andronicus song Tried to Quit Smoking, the nearly 10 minute track that closes out their new album Local Business. Earlier this week I found myself listening to the album, and in this case I found myself responding to Patrick Stickles dour and angsty lyrics. I was having a shitty day based on a comment I received, and I found myself questioning where I was, and if I was going anywhere. I was asking myself if I was really a selfish bastard who only wore this guise of being a nice guy as it was the easiest thing to do. You see where this song comes in?
I mean, it could of been any song about self-doubt that had a good rhythm to it, but this happened to be the day I decided to give Titus Andronicus’ third album another listen. I found that the song could be attributed to everything that frustrated me, from lowered expectations, personal doubts, and the lack of sincerity in contemporary life. Stickles vocals were screamed, and the lyrics were all about admitting what a fuck up he was. Still, the music itself was really upbeat even in it’s harder moments. It was relatable to my sorry state, but the lighter music suggested to me a more positive outcome. It made me think about hope, and also why not to give a fuck about what anybody says. I put of the Dirty Projectors song The Socialites as soon as the Titus Andronicus track was done, which is a elegiac song about how the grass is rarely greener, especially in the face of stuck-ups. I really took it’s words to heart.
I have to admit, I have a very particular way about listening to music, and I’ve actually never really talked about my method to anyone. Usually, I’ll decide to get a whole buttload of new music one day, listen to every last track of it in a week or two, and in the weeks that follow I’ll relisten to all that acquired music or at least the highlights from it. After that period, I usually have the most fun, as I’ll then spend the next few weeks listening to a hodge podge of different albums and tracks, before settling down on some more new music to listen too. Funny way to structure a month’s worth of audio listening, eh?
Fortunately, for this story I happened to be in the third phase of my music month. I decided that for the next day or two, I’d indulge myself in sadder songs, or at least ones sung from the point of view of a societal outcast. I listened to the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, Codeine, Low and (the granddaddy of dreary himself) Morrissey. Thing was that it didn’t seem to be helping that much. I was still feeling like shit, and my need to listen to music seemed purely habitual. I began to wonder if I was just listening to music on the way to work just for the sake of my perceived status as a music nerd. God, let me tell you what a horrible fucking feeling that is!
Don’t worry though, here comes the good part! Two days after I gave Tried to Quit Smoking a brutal listen, I finally got an uplift in spirit. A passing acquaintance I knew gave me a really thoughtful comment, that pretty much made all of my prior misgivings null and void. I decided to celebrate by listening to brighter music like Superchunk and Beach House and found myself high on my listening rituals once again (the latter was a band I previously didn’t quite get). It gets more fascinating too, as the next day I returned to listening to some of the sad stuff and found I connected with it all the better. I was able to have a better understanding of why Kristin Hersh Hated Her Way after I was over that ordeal, and I could concentrate on comprehending great music rather than let my self wallowing distract me from it.
I think Anthony Kiedis was the first person I heard say that music was the great communicator (doubt it was a very original line), and this was a week where that totally rang true. It really got in touch with my feelings, and reminded me why I can listen to Blondie one second and them go on to some Mastodon. Even if me and my I-pod made a spat of things for a little bit, we got over it real quickly, and then rented some real hot pornos to have make up sex too. Wonder what the next batch of new tunes will bring me? Guess we’ll see in another week and a half.
Highlighted Songs from the Week:
Tried to Quit Smoking – Titus Andronicus
Summertime – Galaxie 500
Hate My Way – Throwing Muses
Runaway – Converge
Happy Death Men – Echo and the Bunny Men
Other People – Beach House
Sons of the Silent Age – David Bowie
Ship of Fools – John Cale
Fur Felix – Julia Holter
Swimming Pools – Kendrick Lamaar
All the Way – New Order
N.O.U.S.P.T.D.A. – Nation of Ulysses
Change Your Mind – Sugar
How Long Have You Known – DIIV
Superball – Helium
The Socialites – Dirty Projectors
Next – Scott Walker

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