Friday, February 13, 2009

The world in my ears

One of the great things about getting older--other, than, ya know, being closer to death--is that you stop worrying about being "cool." "Cool" is a young person's game. It's the ultimate irony, really, because, once you get into the older person's club, you start learning a different truth: The only thing less cool than an adult trying to be cool is a young person --who, by definition, hasn't lived as long as the rest of us-- trying to tell you what's cool. (It's okay, though. Part of being a kid and then a teen and then young adult is redefining the world for yourself.) The secret truth is that not only are we cooler than you, but we actually don't even give a shit, which of course just makes us that much more cool. Truthfully, we just have more important stuff to worry about now. Like family, and bills, and, err, doing Heroic instances at Level 80. You know: grownup stuff.

I kind of never know what to say when someone in their teens or 20s is "amazed" that I listen to "cool" music. My inner response is something like, "Actually, I'm more amazed that you do." Because, at least in my own personal experience, I've discovered that my musical listening palette has only grown and broadened over the years, precisely because I got old enough to stop giving a shit what it said about me that I was listening to any particular piece of music. Also, some of the music you're amazed that I'm listening to was actually recorded by folks either my age or way older. Like Nirvana. "Wow, Jeff, you know who they are?" Well, yeah, dumbfuck. That's my peer group, not yours.

But, again, that's fine. You young people are stupid. We knew this already. No need to belabor the point. The point of THIS post is really to acknowledge how fun it has been for me, of late, to get over my own youthful stupidity about music, and embrace (or re-embrace) music that in my earlier life I rejected for reasons that mystify me now. Because, now that I listen, I can only conclude that the problem wasn't the music--it was me.

The thing is, I've always been a voracious listener and consumer of music. Some people are just like that. I'm one of them. I love music and admire and envy musicians. And, yeah, sure, I've played different instruments over the years--most notably trumpet for 10 and electric bass for about 4)--but the sad truth, which I'm okay with, is that I'm not a musician. I can be told what to play, and play it decently enough, sometimes, to not scare animals away, but I'm just a hack, without the necessary wiring to think and create and express myself on my own. (Which is why the bass was so perfect for me for awhile. Because as long as I could keep a beat and stay rhythmically in sync with the drummer, I could pretty much just hammer on the tonics and the 5ths all day and be unobtrusively serviceable. Not that I'm dissing real bass players. I still worship at the church of Mike Watt, Les Claypool, Paul McCartney, John Entwhistle, and the rest.)

"Let's one up from E should be...F?"

So, yeah. Not a musician. Just a lover of music. My ears have always been open to new sounds, but, in earlier years, I let that dumb game of trying to be "cool" distort my perception, or deny my own feelings. That is: While my ears knew deep down from the first listen that, say, Electric Light Orchestra's Mr. Blue Sky was some kind of scrumptious pop masterpiece, my self-identification forced me to deny it, to scoff at it. I blame punk for a lot of this. I was 16 years old when punk and new wave broke out in force in 1977, and as a dorky teen with self-image and confidence problems, I was ready for this music. I was ready to embrace something that didn't appeal to the jocks and "normal" people. I wanted to define myself as "different", as cool in my own way, and here was an entire new musical genre dedicated to this very proposition, being made by people who looked just like me. The first time I ever saw Elvis Costello in my life was when he made his infamous first appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1977--infamous because after playing a few bars of what he was "supposed" to play, "Less Than Zero"--he spontaneously shut the band down and had them launch, instead, into "Radio Radio," a ferocious jab at the American broadcast industry that pissed off the SNL producers so badly that he was banned from the show for 12 years:

It turns out that that SNL appearance was a defining moment in my life. Skinny, awkward, bespectacled, Elvis Costello became a rock hero for, to use a dreaded cliche, "the rest of us." He wasn't a blond Viking god like Robert Plant or Roger Daltrey. He didn't sing about his conquests with girls because it looked like he probably hadn't been on one date yet. In fact, I could relate to this! So the very next morning, I rode my bike over to Music Plus on Van Nuys Blvd, and plopped down $3.99 for my copy of Elvis' just released debut album, My Aim is True--and the rest, to use another cliche, is history. (BTW, just last year I had one of the greatest musical experiences of my life: Going with my pal Dan to see Elvis at a small club, reunited with the band he made this record with, playing the entire My Aim Is True record, in sequence.)

ANYWAY: My musical course was now set. Punk and "new wave" were in; everything else was now discredited, irrelevant, embarrassing. My new musical heroes were David Byrne, Andy Partridge, Exene, D. Boon, Steve Wynn--anyone embracing the new aesthetic and rejecting the shit 70s. And, ya know, we weren't entirely wrong. Most of that music holds up mightily today, and I still love it, and I still totally feel like this kind of "counter-revolution" in RAWK was necessary at the time. The problem was--at least in my case--I took it too far. Because what I didn't understand at the time--because I was a teen still struggling to understand what "cool" was--is that good music is just good music, and what's "good" is whatever your ears approve of. That "cool" isn't owned by one genre. Obvious, yeah? But try telling that to an insecure teen with identity issues.

So what I did was this: I purged my record collection. I sold, for way too cheap, any vinyl records that didn't fit into my new identity: Led Zeppelin, Earth Wind and Fire, Aerosmith, ELO, Elton John, Queen, and on and on. And it's such a freakin' shame, because, come on! Led Zeppelin! Earth Wind and Fire! Aerosmith! ELO! Elton motherfrakkin' John! This stuff was GOLD. Cheesy at times, overwrought at times, full of itself at times--oh yes. But such wondrous ear candy. Such beautiful nonsense. And if I can't go back and actually reclaim that original Physical Graffiti gatefold record without paying a fortune now, I can at least appreciate it anew for the massive slab of monstrous awesomeness that it is, with no apologies.
I can proudly blast Tiny Dancer, comfortable in the knowledge that, yes, Elton John, no matter how "uncool" he seemed to me back when I worried about such things, wrote some lovely little pop masterpieces, and that that's okay.

All of which may be no news to you. You may, in fact, not have any such blinders or biases of your own. If so, I salute you. It's actually one thing I do admire about you younger peoples: you seem much more open-minded, in general, about music than we ever did. I look at my 15-year-old daughter's ipod and I see, among many others, Abba, AC/DC, Band of Horses, Belle and Sebastian, Grant-Lee Phillips, Damian Marley, MIA, PJ Harvey, Santogold, Talking Heads--that's good stuff!

I think the point of this long ramble is simply to say: Keep your ears open. Because you never know where that next great sound is going to come from. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to like what you like. It's just stupid. And life is too short. And the next time you feel like belting out "Dancing Queen" in public? Do it. If anyone gives you grief, go ahead and punch them in the face. And tell them that Jeff Green says hello.


R3vi3w3d said...

Your post immediately reminded me of my favorite quote:

"I am credibly informed that young humans now sometimes suppress an incipient taste for classical music or good literature because it might prevent their Being Like Folks; that people who would really wish to be-and are offered the Grace which would enable them to be-honest, chaste, or temperate refuse it. To accept might make the Different, might offend against the Way of Life, take them out of Togetherness, impair their Integration with the Group. They might (horror of horrors!) become individuals." -Screwtape (The Screwtape Letters)

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, but Mr Blue Sky is a great success again in France because it was recently used in an ad ( Numerous remixes float around now.

I was listening to this song a couple of months ago, and my mother just came by and gave me the EOL best-of. I didn't even realize it was a group from the 80's, the music was simply cool. the rest of the best of album is very good too, a lot of good known songs lost for years. Oh, I'm 21.

Unknown said...

Great post Jeff. I just came across a thread on the Internet that said every band that's ever received air time is overrated.

I laughed.

But really, thank you for the encouragement. Many people that I've come across holds a certain grudge against my favorite band. They detest their overwrought honesty and enlarged sense of self-worth over the years, which certainly is understandable, but when I click on "A Sort Of Homecoming" in my iTunes library, all of that just goes away. Thank you for saying out loud what really matters in music for all of us.

Michael Adamek said...

Regardless of arguements back and forth, I always tell kids I know to do what you love and want in your life and people will find you who think you are cool based on these things. These are your friends, instead of forcing yourself into an uncomfortable place. Sort of like forcing that square block through the triangle hole. Sure, you can beat the shit out of that block and eventually you'll make it through, but it'll be a fragmented version of itself when your done giving it the sledgehammer treatment.

What happened to your last picture with the beard. It screamed Old Salt!

J.F. Grant said...

In the words of one great comedian: "All children have brain DAMAGE!"

Music now. I have generally three criterion for buying music.

1. I must hear it (or hear of it then listen to it on Youtube).

2. The lyrics must not be offensive/obscene/vulgar. I'm not saying it can't have any swearing or something like that, but I don't need to listen to something glorifying sex for some good guitar. There are too many other good songs out there that don't.

3. I must have money to buy it.

My iPod has some of the weirdest stuff on it. Johnny Cash, sitting next to Journey, next to some bands I've never heard of but had a good free iTunes download, next to U2. This past week I have greatly enjoyed listening to the Chariots of Fire soundtrack (give it a listen Jeff, I found it great background music for working.

If you like it, listen to it.

Erik said...

"Punk and "new wave" were in ..."

New wave was never cool. Loser!

Anonymous said...

Jeff, why couldn't you have told me that about Dancing Queen BEFORE New Years?

Anonymous said...

Stop trying to justify your awful taste, old man.

Carlton said...

Belt out Dancing Queen? No thanks. But I still can't stop my self from singing a bit of Barbra Ann whenever it comes on.

ezyville said...

Does this mean in a few years when I'm near death as well, I will start to embrace "In Da Club" and the musical genius of Lil' Wayne?

Anonymous said...

"Stop! Stop! ... I'm very sorry ladies and gentlemen, but there's no reason to do this song here... Radio, Radio..."

This is something that's always confused me - did Costello abort playing Less Than Zero because, on a whim, he just didn't feel like playing it that night, or did he abort because his preference was to play Radio Radio, a song he had been told, for whatever reasons, not to play?

Anyhow, that's a great line, which I've modified a bit and used a couple of times in my own life: "I'm very sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but we're not going to do it tonight."

On the topic of coolness, and musicians, I can only think of one thing at present: Hotblack Desiato, the lead singer of Disaster Area, who chose to remain dead for a year 'for tax purposes'.

Dead for tax purposes! That is just unimaginably cool!

And this next bit has nothing to do with anything that our blog master has blogged about, but because Jeff's blog is the only blog I visit in which you can write about gaming, and people will actually understand what you're writing about, I'd like to announce that after a month of pure frustration, I've cancelled the order on my Dell XPS 730 i7 build, and instead ordered a new Area 51 X58 from Alienware.

That's right, very soon now I'm going to be the proud owner of an Alienaware i7 build.

See ya later suckers!

The Goose.

Jim said...

Funny (to me) that you would post this. I've been feeling similar "old man thoughts"

I'm not quite as old as you, and probably a similar quality of musician.

I played in bands for years and was a musical snob.

I was very punk rock /indie rock / alternative biased for years. I would refuse to really listen to a lot of music, just because it was not in a style that I thought I would like.

As I've gotten older I've realized that there really is no such thing as "bad" music. Either I like it or I don't. Who am I to say it is good or bad. If other people like it, who am I to say I'm "better" than them?

As long as it is produced with enough technical competence (as in - in tune, on beat) Then how can I say "this sucks"? I might not like it, but that is only my opinion. If other folks like it, more power to them.

Music is not marketed, sold, and bought the same way it was when we were younger. the internet and MP3s have change the game. Radio is slowly dying, except for drive time talk. People aren't force-fed their music via radio and MTV - they get what they want on demand. Impulse purchases of music exist now. The game has changed.

I know these things have helped with my "awakening" and maybe "the kids today" will be just as stupid as we were, but at least they might have more diverse tastes.

Anonymous said...

This was a great read. Personally though, I feel it's fair to judge music taste as being good or bad. That's what music criticism is, essentially. My theory is that, if all of us listened to exactly the same music throughout our lives, our interpretations of the best artists would be very similar. 'Good' is, after all, based on past comparisons.

Level Up said...

So I'm barely 24 and I was well aware of more than half the bands on here but I had never opened my ears up for Costello. My first actual realization of his existence was on Austin Powers, (dumb fucking kid right lol) but I was like what, 14 at the time? As I've gotten older, I've had similar occurences. The only difference is I went way beyond my time and have been appreciating the 70's and 80's music for quite some time. You ever find the video where Costello comes back?

Anonymous said...

You sold away QUEEN VINYLS?

My heart weeps for this injustice.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, keep up the fine work.

Anonymous said...

The older I get the more I'm starting to notice the exact thing you are talking about here. When I was younger classic rock wasn't all that cool or anything, but I recently picked up Dark Side of the Moon on CD and was pretty much blown away. Why hadn't I been listening to this all along? I just ordered Dark Side of the Moon and Wish you were Here on Vinyl off of Amazon. I can't wait to start digging into more of these classics. Got any good suggestions?

Ken in Irvine said...

It's amazing how, as you age, you realize how little you knew when you were young. Not just about music, but everything.

Then, you can only laugh as the next crop of young adults wonder why all of the "older folks" ignore them when it comes to politics, religion, money, the environment, etc.

feitclub said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the notion that the older we get, the less we care about what others think, but I can't say I'm with you on the music. I love the music I've always loved, but it seems like with each year my tastes harden and narrow rather than expand. Aside from new albums by bands I liked when I was a kid, I haven't bought any "new" music in years.

Anonymous said...

On my iPod:
Talking Heads
Jason Mraz
Ben Folds
Led Zeppelin
Dire Straits
Doobie Brothers
Eagles of Death Metal
Eric Clapton
Harvey Danger
Jim Croce
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Rod Stewart
Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Tim O'Brien (A bluegrass musician)
Van Halen
Weird Al

I'm 16 right now, thought you might like to compare. And yes, almost all of these are real CDs that were purchased. My 'favorite' bands are closer to the top before it becomes alphabetical.

John Rivett said...

Having grown up with two uncles in the service who brought home all sorts of vinyl from Japan, etc, and three older siblings I was brought up with a rather varied musical taste. From old '78's and 45's from the Uncles, to whatever prog rock stuff my brother deemed me worthy enough to listen to on my pathetic little "record player". I just loved the fact that I could dig through steamer trunks full of these pieces of plastic and pull something out that I've never heard before. I guess that's why as I have gotten older, music means less to me than it once did, there just doesn't seem to be that sense of discovery there once was, I can't put my finger on it, but with physical mediums going away it just seems you no longer have the excitement of holding something in your hands that you waited forever for or when buying an lp, the need "zzziip" noise of tearing off the cellophane. I dunno...


i38warhawk said...

Reminds me of something a great whiskey distiller once told me when I asked him how to drink whiskey. He told me that whiskey was meant to be enjoyed and that you should drink it the way that makes you enjoy it the most. Good advice.

Unknown said...

I wonder what Johnny Wilson listens to back from his early youngin' years?

Stephen said...

You. Complete. Me.

Nice post.


Anonymous said...

Jeff, just a couple years behind you -- in '77 I was 14 -- but still close enough that I could have written your post. Started with the Clash's London Calling and was still busy memorizing the dialogue from Repo Man in the mid 80s. Still love it all, but nowadays it grudgingly shares spaces with everything from 70's disco to Cajun zydeco to Laurie Berkner's "Moon, moon, moon." Who woulda thunk it?

(And the saddest thing I ever saw was Warren Zevon playing a tiny club in upstate NY a couple years before he died. No one seemed to know who he was or really appreciated what he was playing. As the saying goes: pearls before swine. /sigh)

garion333 said...

"I look at my 15-year-old daughter's ipod and I see, among many others, Abba, AC/DC, Band of Horses, Belle and Sebastian, Grant-Lee Phillips, Damian Marley, MIA, PJ Harvey, Santogold, Talking Heads--that's good stuff!"

That may be, in larger part, due to you. Possibly.

Albums aren't as hot as they use to be. It's about the single or a few songs, so while tastes may run wider patterns, it can also be argued that they don't run as deep.

I'll take the wide, however, because it educates and then you can focus where you want as opposed to obsessing over one band or type of music, pigeonholing yourself and missing out on a ton of good stuff.

But, I'll take your advice. Go back and see what you missed when you were pretentious about said things.

*goes and listens to New Kids on the Block*


2 Tough Hubby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"If it sounds good, it is good."
- Duke Ellington

TimLaws said...

Awesome post Jeff! I too have noticed as I've gotten a lot more open mined with the music I enjoy. When I was a 16 year old punk I wouldn't have even though of listening to half of the shit I listen to now.

Unknown said...

We could learn a thing or too from you, old man.
Beyond habing open ears, you got to have an open mind.

Anonymous said...

yo jeff-o!

i'll go now and start dancing on the streets till i piss some one off and i'll start a fight and kick his ass. and after i'll make sure he knows JEFF GREEN SAYS HELLO BRRAPPP

CallMeSarge said...

Great post. I am very interested in your opinions on music. If you were to make a playlist now, what do you think would be on it. You should have one of those playlists on itunes so people can check out what your listening to. Post a mixtape playlist with amazon or itunes links - pretty please? C'mon, it's not like you are busy or anything! j/p

Unknown said...

Never have I enjoyed being insulted this much.

darvoid said...

Jeff, you are one of the best writers on Blogspot. Thanks for putting into words what some of us old folks could never do even with a gun to our head.
Rawk on!

Steve the Squid said...

Nice post Jeff! I too went through the same phase, skinny ties and all. Though I didn't sell my collection, just added to it.

Saw the Dead Kennedy's at the Whisky.

What about the Motels and the Pistols?

Alex said...

With such a love of music, why choose to devote your career to digital entertainment? Did you never consider writing for a publication like Guitar World or Rolling Stone?

Anonymous said...

Fun post. About two years ago, I taught my kids and a few nephews/nieces Mr. Blue Sky and we performed it living-room-stylee during a family vacation. Wildly underrated song, along with most of that crazy, goofy-ass, fantastic lp.

Anonymous said...

The odds of even the most talented writer landing a gig with Rolling Stone magazine - and getting paid full time to do it - are zero to none.

Maybe in your dreams...

Unknown said...

Jeff, you have been watch Elvis' show on Sundance, "Spectacle"?

Great stuff. He has had some great conversations with some of the masters of the last 40 years. His conversation and music-making with James Taylor, whom I thought I was too cool to like, re-adjusted my prejudice.

reflection said...

Jeff looks sexy with his bass =)

Javier said...

Don't forget Flea and Victor Wooten!

Fred said...

Whoa, you just made a pun. "World in My Eyes" is on the Violator album that you've been listening to. Are you a Depeche Mode fan now?

Anonymous said...

Green, write another blog - I'm spooked out because of the date.

Friday the 13'th.

It's just hanging there, mocking us.

This can't be good.

Also, I've just discovered that EA is distributing Dragon Age Origins... are you going to cash in one of those EA tokens of yours for this title? Boy, I know I sure would.

We've only got five weeks to go now 'til Dragon Age's release... imagine it, in just five weeks we'll be ripping open the shrink wrap on an actual Bioware RPG that was designed chiefly for the PC... we haven't done this since the release of Neverwinter Nights back in the summer of 2002... whoa! that was a fast eight years, boy!

(And I've just discovered as well that Dragon Age has a genuine DX10 mode in it - I wonder what DX10 effects Bioware could possibly have included in Dragon Age? I'm a bit surprised by that, actually.)

The Goose.

Anonymous said...

Ugh... and now I've just discovered that Dragon Age has been delayed until the Fall.

What a letdown.

Oh well, I'll just have to replay Fallout 3 then.

The Goose.

(See what happens when we no longer have the GFW podcast to keep us up to date on what's happening in the gaming business.)

Anonymous said...

Oh noes!

The Sims 3 has also been delayed!

Oh the agony of it all!

The Goose.

(Hey, did that have anything to do with the low score that Jeff gave it in his in-house review... so it's all Jeff's fault then!)

Anonymous said...

Belle and Sebastian IS good stuff indeed, and as a 15 year old I'm proud to say you'll find Stuart Murdoch and Co. sitting inbetween Avenged Sevenfold and Billy Talent in my iTunes library.

Brian said...

I'm 34 and this week I downloaded Suburbia (Rihanna) and Let's Dance (Lady GaGa) on iTunes.

Life is so much better when you know how to say "I don't give a ****".

And I hope no one I know is reading this.

Anonymous said...

hey jeff, I'm only 24 but related to your post.

from time to time some kid asks me if I know nirvana, or soundgarden, and I'm like "fuck yeah, I rocked to this with my older brothers!"; and also denied to like a lot of cool music because I didn't want to be associated with their fanbase.

now that I'm just too tired of people to care about what they think of me, I managed to throw away my musical prejudices.
I chuckle everytime I see one of my old buddies still listening to the same bands, going out to the same places, having the same conversations, doing the same exact stuff with their lives; unable to open up their minds and move on, grow up.

and yeah, many of these kids that ask me if I know some cool band from the 90's also dig some very different, very cool tunes =)

MSUSteve said...

I reached that sort of music epiphany when I was in college. The girlfriend I had in my freshman year (1999-2000) was awesome in that way. She liked all kinds of music, which put me at ease with my own particular tastes. Yeah, I loved Nirvana and Foo Fighters, but she made me realize it was cool if I liked songs by George Michael or Janet Jackson. That was a big revelation for me and it made me realize that trying to be cool is pretty much the stupidest and biggest waste of time there is.

trip1ex said...

Greatest column Ever!!! Well the first half was the best along with the last line.

Anonymous said...

I'm 17 and I like Nat King Cole, and some kids my age called me "gay" because of my musical taste.
I think that this is the point Greene was trying to get at, no?
Hell yeah!

Spirit-of said...

I'm pretty sure whatever Joaquin Phoenix records is gonna suck.

Anonymous said...

I'm so bad - I don't even know how to post links.

Maybe somebody could properly link this U-tube video for me.

Here's a Frenchman singing that Elvis Costello smash hit:

"Everyday I Wabaloo."

(He obviously doesn't understand the lyrics and is attempting to... attempting to... sing this song phonetically. This is laugh out loud funny. I've listened to this five times now, and now I think I like it ever more than the original by the man himself... everyday... everyday... everyday I Wabaloo... this is just great.)

Gentry said...

Nicely written. You know, I'm 30 and I still find it hard to be completely honest with myself about what I want and whats best for me.

Worrying about what other people think of your music tastes is just one aspect of it. If you aren't careful you can end up living someone else's life based upon trying to please other people or what other people think you should do.

doom4307 said...

I really enjoyed this post. It made me think a little about my musical tendencies. I won't listen to anything on the radio, I automatically assume it's garbage. I think I am biased against any pop music released in the last ten years. Yes I am a metal fan, but i am do enjoy quality punk, rock, pop, country and especially classical music. Your post made me think, will I appreciate the music that is coming out now, years later? Maybe, but it feels like most of it is processed garbage. Anyway, Jeff I am a huge fan, looking forward to the sims 3. Holy crap I am typing this while listening to an old GFW, remember this quote "I can't beleive they had luke get back together with Lorelai, Amy Sherman-Palladino never would have pursued that relationship!" Ha Ha!

Fred said...

@The Picard

I turned 34 this week and my wife's introduced me to her Lady Gaga CD, nut usually my cup of tea. It's just fun music I guess.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of good music... Mother of God! Sasquatch Festival this year:

Sasquatch Line Up 2009!

Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, of Montreal, Jane's Addiction, The Decemberists, etc. etc. -- I know what I'm doing in May!

Joel Godwin said...

What delicious irony and synchronicity that I should read this particular post of yours at this moment in time.

Just last night and earlier in the day I was making similar comments to some peers and co-workers about how I'd spent most of the 80's and 90's being a musical snob, eschewing ANYTHING to do with the top 40, looking down my nose at those poor feeble sheep who so blindly danced away without appreciating the true genius of "new wave/progressive/alternative" music.

I was also probably fairly insufferable outside my immediate circle of friends by giving over information as to which members of which band had been in other bands, etc, etc.

And then you get older, and I mellowed and I realized that a lot of those songs I was poo-pooing were actually pretty good, etc. Anyway, as I said, the timing of this post and my own focused thoughts around this seem to be more than coincidence (but of course, they're not)

Anyway, Keep on, keepin' on!

Anonymous said...


What the hell is this?

Are you suggesting that you and Green are functioning on the same wavelength? Is that what synchronicity means?

Look, Green's a cool guy and stuff - and I'd have to agree that his blog is well written, and interesting, and entertaining, and even informative on the odd occasion (for example, apparently, game design is hard) but let's face it, he isn't Bob Dylan or anything. I mean, I wouldn't follow the guy anywhere. If he were to run for office (not that he'd ever run for office) I'd probably not vote for him (not that I'm American anyhow). For starters, I wouldn't want my president reading the Harry Potter books. There's just something very wrong about that. I'm sure that The Founders would've agreed.

I really like reading these comments, in this here section of the blog thing, but when everyone starts going into 'suck up mode' it just gets irritating. This is what ruined Rufus Wainright's forum - the members made it so that you weren't allowed to say anything critical about the guy. If you weren't constantly lavishing Wainright with praise then people made it clear that it was time for you to move on.

So why don't I just stop reading the comments then, if it makes me so miserable, I hear you ask?

Okay, good point.

Maybe it's because I like to write posts like this one?

Meanwhile, please don't use the word 'eschew' - if one more person eschews at me I'm going to be sick all over them.

'Eschew' - that's got to be the most pretentious word in the english language, yeah? That and 'assuage'. No seriously, don't get me started about 'assuage'. If one more person assuages at me then I'm going to be sick all over them too.

Update: Alienware delayed my order again. I can't believe that I'm presently going through the same thing with Alienware that I went through with Dell.

They tell you, when you order your five thousand dollar pc, that it will take five days to build it, but then as soon as they get your money they tell you that it will really be more like ten days, and ten days later they tell you that it will probably be closer to a month - a month later you find yourself hanging upside down from a tree in Tanzania, with a mobile phone in your hands, attempting to get through to a Customer Service rep. whose office is located somewhere in Mumbai, India.

Why has it suddenly become so difficult to order a PC? Dell in particular has really gone down the tubes since I last ordered from them (I eschew Dell). I'm now starting to have second thoughts about Alienware too, although I love the look of the Area 51's case. I covet that case.

Oh my god, I got the word verification thing wrong again! God this blog stresses me out. I thought, for a second there, that I was going to have to re-type the entire 'comment'.

Anonymous said...


You know how when you've landed your first job and you do the responsible thing and take your paycheck and/or savings to the local branch to open up your first checking account, and the teller suggests that it is a good idea that you deposit at least $100 in the account to get started? Well congratulations! Your comments to this post have more than qualified you to open your very own Blogger account!

When you segued to Alienware computers from pretentious words, I thought to myself "Wow, that would've been so awesome to read in a blog post!". Then your closing comments on word verification.... epic my friend, epic. You can just copy and paste that post into a new Blogger account post and you'll have dozens of followers and comments in no time. In fact, count me in as your first official fan, man. You had me at "wavelength".

Anonymous said...

Was it really the band on My Aim is True that you saw? Most people at the time felt that that British country band Clover didn't really click with Costello and that his best work was with the Attractions (starting with This Year's Model).

In the past I've mentioned that your history could be my life. One difference here: I never felt cool. Listening to those bands in 1977 made me a weirdo. My best friends wouldn't go to decent shows with me and I had to take near strangers to the Police and the Clash at that time. I did do the album purge of course, but one other difference: I got rid of all my Led Zep except for Physical Graffiti. Another difference: I have no interest in re-acquiring my Queen or Foreigner albums. To your main point, yes I did learn to forget "purity" for the sake of things which simply sounded good to me, but for me that meant opening up to Jazz, Blues, old standards, even some Classical and Opera. Maybe my renaissance with 70s pop is still to come.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Foreigner, Anonymous, there's a song from their 4 album, titled Urgent, which if I hear it today takes me right back to 1981 and my first girlfriend when I was in the eighth grade - very powerful stuff.

Man, it's spooky the way that certain songs, if you've been away from them for a long enough time, can transport you back to a certain time or place.

There's another song called Tainted Love that reminds me of the time when I broke up with that same girlfriend.

And remember that wildly popular album by The Cars from the mid 80's? That album, along with Born In The USA, marked my passage from the eleventh grade into my senior year. I can remember one Friday night sitting in the backseat of my best friend's Mustang listening to The Cars playing 'Drive' while my best friend, standing outside the car, broke up with his girlfriend, whom he'd been dating for five years, since the eighth grade. I remember that at the time I was thinking: this is going to be one of those memories that I'm going to carry with me through life - I don't know why, but this is going to be something that I'm just never going to forget.

Even today, when I hear 'Drive' being played I'm transported right back to that cold spring evening, and there I am again, back in the back seat of my best friend's Mustang while he's leaning on the hood of his car breaking up with his girlfriend.

I think this is why you can't really appreciate music which pre-dates you. You won't have the corresponding memories. The music just won't have the same emotional impact on you.

The Goose

Xrosstalk said...

I had mentioned this earlier before on your blog Jeff back at that other place that rhymes with; I can't remember it off hand though. But being 33 now I stopped caring about classifications of "cool" at about 26 or so; having said that, I mentioned The Descendents as one of my older records and you brought up Milo Goes to College I think. GREAT album btw. Anyway punk unfortunately stunted my listening tastes for a LONG time as well. Although I never considered myself a "punk" cause I have never been anti-establishment really; but I loved the music and almost exclusively. After playing in a punk/hardcore band (Sounded like Minor Threat pretty much which was hardcore at the time, like Black Flag was.)for about 5 years we ended in 1999 I think. Not a big crowd for hardcore at the time. In any case what you are saying is dead on, I am the only band member that kept playing and I love playing such a variety now besides my own stuff. Elton Johns' Daniel is one of my favorite songs that unfortunately didn't fit into "punk" at the time, and my family being musical (Mom is a piano/voice instructor; Grandmother was a piano teacher.) I heard all this stuff from my parents but was easily dismissed. But due to that my sister now listens to the same stuff I did and even more as she's discovering newer bands for herself to love. I don't think people like you ever lose the passion for music but you definitely are feeling the same about music now as I do. It's an awesome feeling to appreciate music in all it's forms regardless of classification. I'm just saying it's people like you who help influence music tastes of the generations under you...just like we were and THAT is something that is definitely "cool". Now if only anyone ever cared what some anonymous douche-bag like me even cares. Course that would mean that I care about other anonymous douche-bag comments which I don't.

PS: Long live the Greenspeak column in CGW my favorite magazine of all time since the Wasteland was added to the all time best games list.

Anonymous said...

Oh christ, I didn't see that other post - okay, I get the hint: Get my own blog and stop crashing other people's blog posts.

Okay, I hear ya.

The Goose.

Patrick O'Brien said...


Anonymous said...

Great post, Jeff! Haven't seen you on GAF lately, Black Dragon. ;)

Anonymous said...

I think its great that you have rediscovered some good music, the music that I quite frankly only listen to. Im not of the 60's-70's but I do only listen to classic rock. My only complaint is that even though today's music has its own style, I wish that more bands would carry on what classic rock bands started. Is there any recent band that has done a Roger Water's solo of the same caliber as comfortably numb. Is there any bands that created a theme surrounding the album, not only in a lyrical concept, but a sound. I don't think its "uncool" to listen to today's music, but there just is no new music that makes me think: "wow, how the hell did they come up with this?". I mean I can name many songs that never get old: Led Zeppelin's Fool in the rain, Yes' Yours is no disgrace, Allman Brother's Jessica. Everyone is entitled to listen to music that suits there tastes, but I just wish new bands would take more influence from older bands. And one more thing, do any of these new bands have concerts that are of the caliber and excitement of classic rock? My father always tells me of the times he was younger and how the shows were completely theatrical, encompassing lighting, imagery, and overall good performance from the bands (ie. George Theorogood sliding across the floor as he plays "Bad to the bone"). There is a reason that the past couple of Superbowl's have been classic rock: Tom Petty, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen. I mean you even mentioned your self, ELO (ELECTRIC "LIGHT" ORCHESTRA).

Unknown said...

Not sure if you get to reading this, Jeff, but have you read the book This is Your Brain on Music? I read about 2/3 of the blog post, but I must be off to bed as its 2 Am east side, but I heard Shawn Elliott mention it on a GFW and I am reading it now and its really amazing. From the position I'm in (10 months of drumming lessons) which is less than a musician, it has been fascinating. If you haven't tried it out yet, its and absolute must-read for anyone interested in music or interested in playing music.

Anonymous said...

I used to be one of those slightly less annoying indie kids. My answer to what kind of music I used to like would have been "indie".

Point is, I've expanded. Is this still pretentious? Anyway, anyone who asked me that now, at the age of 16, I would have to say i like good music. Jazz to electronica to even some (only some) rap.

Hopefully, I've discovered what you have a little bit earlier, and boy am I happy.

Sam said...

This post would have been way cooler if it had stopped after the second paragraph ;P

Unknown said...

My grand father was a musician, he was a composer, a conductor, a pianist, an organist, scored films and hung out with Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. He danced to swing before the bombs fell in Britain and wrote hymns that are sung today. I could never be as cool as him and I wish I could have been half as talented as him. One thing I learnt early on was never discount any music. There is music I don't like but I respect it because those people who created it worked hard at it and even if it's not my thing they should be respected for that. I just wish I didn't drop out of piano lessons or cello lessons as a kid.

Oh, btw, there's a show that just started last week. Spectacle, it's Elvis Costello interviewing and performing with different people. His first show was him and Elton John. You should check it out.

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