Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Musical Malaise

Birth School Work Death - The Godfathers (mp3)
I'm Not Okay (I Promise) - My Chemical Romance (mp3)

Friday, March 4

Dear Diary,

When it comes to music, the last few weeks can be summed up by a single word: MEH.

Musically, I’m somewhat bipolar. In my manic times, I’ll download 40-50 songs submitted to our BOTG mailbox, listen to them and my many other new purchases voraciously, and then post a “Music Bonanza” of my favorites. I’ll make mixes for people. I’ll be sitting in my office or a meeting, and a song will pop into my head because of some random comment or dialogue. When I’m musically manic, the 9,000+ songs on my iPod are like non-corporeal entities swimming around me at all times.

The downside comes in the depressive phases like the one I’m in now. For the last week, I’ve barely listened to my iPod. I’ve acquired half a dozen new albums over the past month, but none of them are getting spins. One might be inclined to think this is due to the lack of quality of said purchases, but in times like these, who’s to say?

Saturday, March 5

Dear Diary,

As a test, on my way home yesterday evening, I turned off NPR and put on my “Five Star Playlist,” the list of some 300 songs that should never, under normal circumstances, stop playing once they’ve begun. The most important 3% of my collection. And what did I do? I skipped past the first five. I skipped through half a dozen more in the 23 minutes it took me to make it home.

This, people, is dire. It is musical malaise.

Sunday, March 6

Dear Diary,

Things are so bad that tonight I actually sat next to my wife on our couch and disintigrated almost two whole freakin’ hours of my life watching the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Miserables.

I realize that thousands of music-loving souls think Les Miz is just about the greatest piece of artwork since the Sistene Chapel, but I ain’t one of ‘em. What’s more, it wasn't the entire musical. It was just the actors half-acting, but without any of the stage movement. Just standing in front of mikes singing the songs.

While my dear wife drifted off on a heavenly cloud of “One More Day” and “On My Own,” my daughters asked dozens and dozens of machine-gun annoying questions, all justified, because being young girls, they desperately wanted to know WTF was going on so that they could like and understand WTF they were hearing and WTF was making their mother so orgasmically joyous.

The only explanation for me enduring this estrogen-stirring spectacle with my female family was that I’m in a deep, deep musical depression.

Monday, March 7

Dear Diary,

I think I’ve figured it out.

The National, The Civil Wars, Lori McKenna, Justin Townes Earle. These are the highlights of my recent acquisitions. It’s all great music, but it can be a little somnambulant at times. The albums I bought attempting to perk me up failed. "Perky" isn't really what these bands are shootin' for.

Once in a while, the gravitas of my preferred musical leanings wear me down. It’s like the hangover our society felt after the grunge overload of the early 1990s. And at times like these, I need Eric Stoltz to raise up that adrenalin needle and slam it right down into my heart. A few years back, it was The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance.

I know most True Music Fans detest MCR, and I ain't about to go trying to convince anyone of their musical genius. But when you’re drowning in the quicksand of folk acoustic singer-songwriters, nothing pulls you out quite like the seething screamy electric war. MCR were my Dread Pirate Roberts diving in after me and pulling me out of my quagmire of musical malaise.

So last night, in a desperate attempt to wash the taste of Les Miz from my ears, I bought the latest Dropkick Murphys album Going Out In Style for $5 at Amazon.com. (If you must know, The Boss makes a guest appearance on "Peg 'O My Heart"; that fact, plus the discounted price, plus the awesomeness of their song in The Departed all combined to make this a no-brainer purchase.)

I still love my pop music, but increasingly an acoustic guitar, a little harmonization, and some straightforward production quality sends an arrow through my heart more effectively than bombast. But like any drug, too much of a good thing leads to serious consequences, and I was drowning in the wonder of too much heavy dirge and too little superficial lightness of being.

In come a bunch of punky Irish laddies from Boston, driving their Irish car bomb 120mph into my droopy ears, jolting me back into reality faster than talk of tiger blood and rock stars from Mars.

Thank you Dropkick Murphys. You can't sing well, and your songs kinda all blend together in my head, but you rescued me, and you have therefore entered a small but select group of bands capable of curing my musical malaise.

Just in time for St. Patty's Day.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Boss has good taste.

troutking said...

The Boss has good taste.

BeckEye said...

Les Miz is fantastic. YOU ARE WRONG.

Billy said...

Beck -- You, my wife, and about a bazillion other people are in agreement. Believe me, my life would be sooooo much easier if I could like Les Miz...

Trout -- Agreed. And the song he guests on is a whole lotta fun. I woulda posted it, but I assumed the DMCA lawyers would clamp down on me.

Daisy said...

FWIW I don't like Les Miz either....

Thom Anon said...

Lately I've been digging on the new Bright Eyes and Lykke Li albums. And Todd Snider's live "Storyteller" album is a ton o' fun.

-T

TommyD said...

Birry, a full pint of Cake and a shot of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club should do the trick too (no arguments with the the Dropkick Murphys). Wash it down with some Alabama 3 and you're blues will surely melt away.
(or just wait for a few Hand Grenades, Mechanical Bulls and a Cats Meow)