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Monday, March 31, 2008

April

In an ongoing attempt to understand why I'm interested (and not interested) in hearing new records by long-running artists, I present a timely example.

Tomorrow sees the official release of two albums by bands that were huge for me at certain points in my life. R.E.M. releases their fourteenth album, Accelerate, and Sun Kil Moon releases their third album, April. Despite some glowing reviews of Accelerate, April was the one I wanted to hear. But I wonder why, as I wasn't expecting Mark Kozelek to pull out some bold record that drastically differs from his solo work, Red House Painters or Sun Kil Moon. And plus, why give a cold shoulder to R.E.M.? Let me compare my stories.

I was too young for R.E.M.'s formative years as I was four when Murmur came out. I watched MTV's Rockumentary on the band plenty of times in the early Nineties, but never ventured far into their back catalog. Instead, I followed them closely between Document all the way to Up. '91's Out of Time and '92's Automatic for the People sealed the deal for me as a fan of the band, but by Up, I was starting to lose interest. Despite liking a few choice tracks from Reveal, I was pretty much done with wanting to hear new R.E.M. No jumping the shark nonsense or blaming the departure of Bill Berry as to why -- I just had enough.

It's not that I grew sick of Michael Stipe's voice, Mike Mills' harmonies and bass playing or Peter Buck's guitar playing. I just grew less and less enthused about each new album. Don't we all have listener fatigue -- even with our all-time favorite bands? I do.

In the case of Mark Kozelek's various projects, I don't think for one second he's gonna pull out something drastically different with each new record. Hell, I think the only times I've been surprised was when I heard the loud, distorted version of "Mistress" and the guitar-heavy album, Songs for a Blue Guitar, for the first time. His previous Sun Kil Moon record consisted entirely of drastically reworked Modest Mouse covers, and despite zero surprises in the instrumentation department, I loved it. Something about his voice mixed with his music keeps coming back, including new releases.

Listening to April, I keep thinking about Red House Painters' final album, Old Ramon. It builds and it's slow, and sometimes, there's a great payoff. Then there's a sublime song like "Moorestown," which I think is up there with the Vanilla Sky version of "Have You Forgotten?" It's a track like that makes me want to hear the rest of the album.

Maybe my fatigue comes from how long I've been listening to Kozelek and R.E.M. I've been listening to R.E.M. since 1987 while I didn't hear my first Red House Painters song until 2001. The person I was in 1987 (a third-grader) and the person I was in 2001 (a soon-to-be college graduate) were pretty different, but not drastically different.

I've heard plenty about how Accelerate is a return to form, but I've been skeptical. Reading Jim's review today, a number of my doubts are confirmed as he addresses this right away. "We've heard this before -- with Monster (1994), with Up (1998) and even with the dreadfully dull Around the Sun four years ago," he wrote. "It wasn't true then, and it isn't entirely true now."

If anything, I think I can come to this conclusion: I'm still very happy with a number of R.E.M.'s albums, but trying to cultivate an interest in their newest stuff would take a lot of prying by others to get there. Despite an interest in hearing more of April (and more Sun Kil Moon records in the future), I have yet to tire of them. Chalk it up to different strokes, I guess.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Until next week . . .

In hopes that the turnaround period between manuscript to book is short, I'm having to a lot of work I didn't forsee, including reformatting the entire manuscript. Since this will take a few days (and I want to do one more look-over of the chapters), blogging will return next week.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why I can't listen to stuff less than 192 kbps

Here's a side-by-side test on the difference between MP3s ripped at 128 and 320 kbps. And yes, there's a big difference.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Little Time

There are times when I question my habits in discovering great local bands. I argue that I love who I love and choose to see them frequently. If I happen to be exposed to an exceptional band via a slot on the same bill, there's no problem in that. If a friend who understands my tastes in music gently recommends me a band, I'm inclined to check them out. Otherwise, I just don't have the patience to listen to MP3s from bands I've never heard of. I'm busy enough listening to the bands I love (national, international and local) over and over. So when I come across a band that blows me away, it's a nice surprise.

A recent case in point is Denton's the Marked Men. I've heard about them for years, mainly due to the fact that I know the brother of one of the band members. He might have played them for me before in his record store, but I can't remember. Hearing "A Little Time" on Sound Opinions this week, I'm very, very interested in catching their next show and hearing more of their recorded material.

So, it's a good time to ask: what took so long?

I argue that we, the listeners, do not choose when or how a band rocks our brains. There are so many factors that factor into why we are blown away, intrigued, indifferent or turned off at any given moment. I trust and respect Jim and Greg's views on Sound Opinions, so I'm more inclined to listen to what they have to say than say, an anonymous, disgruntled commenter on a We Shot JR post.

In the case of the Marked Men, I have to admit to some prejudices. Since they are signed to a label owned by a former member of Drive Like Jehu, Rocket from the Crypt and Hot Snakes (three raved-about bands that I've never really gotten into), I've never been all that inclined to check out their roster. Plus, there are thousands upon thousands of bands playing the exact same style as them. That mix of garage rock and punk rock describes so many bands -- a style that I don't care to really dig into that much. I dig the Nuggets box sets and a number of modern bands that came out earlier in the decade, but there's only so much I can take of them.

If anything, what sells me on this band is their melodic hooks. It sounds so simple, but that's it. A lot of garage/punk bands turn me off because it's all "whaa-hooo!" boogie with very little tasty melodies. I know I'm generalizing here, but when I hear poignant melodies in songs like "A Little Time" and "She Won't Know," I want to hear more.

So there you have it. As stubborn as I am, there are reasons for the stubbornness. I want to be moved by the music I choose to listen to -- not feel like I'm listening to mediocre blah. So the surprise element is very nice.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Stumblin' Man

Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places on the Internet, but I tend to hear more about proposed/in-development DVDs, movies, books and CD reissues more than the actual products. Where's that four-disc Ryan Adams box set? Hell, where's that Replacements box set? What about Bottle Rocket on Criterion? I've just learned to not get all excited until it comes out. But I've also experienced getting excited about stuff that I didn't know existed or heard was worth checking out.

Case in point, a relatively recent post on Buddyhead mentioned a documentary on TAD. Reading the words, "is actually more about the whole Sub Pop scene than it is about TAD," piqued my interest. Watching Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears over the weekend, I found it to be a great look at the critically-acclaimed/lauded by popular bands Seattle four-piece. It's pretty straightforward, well-shot and is full of great interviews with band members, Nirvana's Krist Novoselic and Chad Channing, Mark Arm from Mudhoney, Sub Pop's Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Ponemon, engineer Jack Endino and writer Charles R. Cross. A number of these people were featured in Doug Pray's excellent documentary Hype!, but this documentary centers more on a single band.

Also over the weekend, I came across Dean Wareham's memoir, Black Postcards. Even though I've never really heard much from Galaxie 500 or Luna and wasn't that compelled to check out Luna's material after watching Tell Me Do You Miss Me, I was curious about this book. Something really interests me about critically-acclaimed bands that never quite "made it" in the traditional sense of success in the music business. Once I finish Rock On, Dan Kennedy's memoir of working at Atlantic Records, I plan on reading Black Postcards for the band member perspective on the Nineties alternative gold rush.

Adding to all of this was a recent screening of the DVD that comes with the reissue of Alkaline Trio's Goddamnit. A friend of mine reviewed it for the magazine he writes for and gave it a very enthusiastic review. Figuring I'd enjoy this, I picked it up and liked what I saw. I have to say it's weird to hear Dan Andriano briefly touch on Slapstick, a ska-punk band who many hold as high as Operation Ivy, as his "old band." But, it's nice to hear about a great record be talked about (a record I've always liked start-to-finish more than any of their other records) in this way.

Where I'm going with all of this is how it never ceases to amaze me how we can stumble onto something that's right up our alley. And there wasn't much fanfare trumpeting its arrival. No ads flashing on a site you frequently read. It's like you stumble upon things without really searching too hard and they come to you. Whether that's to my detriment, that's how I see a lot of what happens in life. It's not necessarily stumbling in a clumsy way. Rather, something just hits you at a time when you least expect it or even knew it existed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Nothing an eight ball, a porn star and a tattoo parlor can't handle.

Last night I took in another viewing of Southland Tales. This time, it was on DVD and I had a friend with me: Nick. I still distinctly remember him coming over to my place four years ago with his copy of Donnie Darko, wanting to watch it with me. Now I was returning the favor since he missed seeing Southland Tales when it was out in theaters.

I can't think of another time when I saw a movie for the second time and had a distinctly different interpretation of it. I enjoyed the movie after my first viewing, but just like when I saw Donnie Darko for the first time, I wasn't sure what all exactly happened. This time, I felt like somebody hit me over the head with a Nerf bat over and over again. Rather than be annoyed by this jarring nature, I must say I liked the movie even more.

If anything, I found the movie to be about people claiming to want major social and political change, but their own greed undermines everything. The one character that isn't greedy (and more importantly, forgives himself) is the savior. Pretty powerful stuff and definitely a weighty topic in a movie filled with a lot of information. I still can't exactly pinpoint what all everything means, but I say almost the same about Donnie Darko. I'd love to watch this again. And again.

The deal is, saying all this very openly seems to elicit the sounds of crickets in response.

Between my first and second screening of Southland Tales, I've heard a few more stories and anecdotes about another director who makes polarizing movies: David Lynch. Lynch is no doubt an influence on Richard Kelly's movies, and I hope Lynch's experience is a sort of guide for what is to come with Kelly's career. Lynch has had a number of his films be trashed by critics and have small box office returns. But Lynch is very much of the attitude of films having a strong emotional impact on the audience: good or bad. Better to feel something -- including immense hatred for a movie -- than feeling nothing at all.

What's been interesting to experience is how, until Southland Tales had a set release date, I had only heard people praise Kelly's work. Once Domino (a film he co-wrote) came out, the gloves started to come off with some vocal people. Once Southland Tales arrived, it was like 1995 all over again with the kind of responses Mallrats received. It's as if people took pleasure in just dismantling and cold-shouldering something rather actually trying to understand it.

But as I've seen and said before, the true success of any movie is that it gets made and is available for people to watch. That might sound like some low-budget T&A flick is in the same league with Citizen Kane, but that's not necessarily what I mean. What I mean is, looking beyond what the press writes about a movie and how vocal people are about it negatively on message boards and blogs, the movie stands alone when it's on a shelf in a physical store or on a virtual shelf for rent or sale. The viewer chooses to watch or not watch, and if he or she does, the opinion is that person's.

My hope is, with other people taking in another viewing of Southland Tales, maybe they will realize there's way more to this movie than one can take in a single screening.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Well, age will flatten a man.

It happens every year following the Academy Awards ceremony: all sorts of people see one of the big award-winning films for the first time and express sheer bafflement. "What's so great about this movie?" they ask. It's like they were tricked into seeing something supposedly great, but found it appalling. For me, all of this is kind of funny, but not in a snobby way.

I think the first time I saw this kind of reaction was when an older cousin of mine urged our great aunt to see The Piano. Aunt Jackie was a wonderful lady -- full of heart and humor, a great painter and someone with lots of stories to tell. But I don't seem to remember her talking about the kinds of movies she liked. Somehow she saw The Piano and from then on, she always said some sort of variation of this: "I saw that movie The Piano and I thought it was stupid."

A few years later, while visiting some old family friends in New Orleans, Barton Fink was brought up. But it wasn't brought up in a good way. More or less, it was the heard-great-things-about-it-saw-it-and-didn't-like-it-at-all response. I hadn't seen the film at that point, but I do remember seeing it receive a lot of acclaim during its original theatrical release.

I guess there's some sort of accidental trick with fooling people who don't normally see movies, even commercial ones, into seeing something like American Beauty, Million Dollar Baby or No Country for Old Men. In the case of my parents, they rarely watch movies like these. I highly doubt they would find plenty to marvel at a movie like There Will Be Blood. That doesn't make me think less of them, but it's just something I'm not going to pressure them into watching. My mom can watch her Fried Green Tomatoes and my dad can watch his black-and-white capers, but we can all agree on watching a Harry Potter movie.

Frankly, I find the most humor with the type of people that just want to see a new movie, no matter if it looks crappy or not. It's like they settle for crap because they just want to be entertained. To be moved to tears, be disturbed or challenged on their strongly-held morals -- that's not entertainment. They scoff at a movie like Funny Games, but find National Treasure to be worthwhile. I'll just say this: if I ever get to this point in my life, after movies have had a major impact on me since my youth, feel free and ask when did my tastes go awry.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This is Agent Cookie reporting . . .

There are certain measures of how far pop culture goes. If "Weird Al" Yankovic has done a parody song of a song, it's gone pretty far. If Sesame Street has done an homage to it, it has gone far. Thanks to the wonderful world of YouTube, here's the Monsterpiece Theater segment paying homage to Twin Peaks.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The 13th

So, my trip down to Austin last week yielded some mixed results. On one hand, it had its spontaneous moments, but they were moments around frustrating roadblocks. If you'd like to read some thorough wrap-up stories of the big shows and surprises, start here and here. For my own perspective of eight hours of South by Southwest (with the good and not-so-good), read on.

-The ride down was nice: cloudy, warm and pretty peaceful. Getting word that the free parking lot under 35 was already full at 11am: not-so-good.

-I hoped I would park in the same place I did last year (a tall parking garage with a $7 fee, good until 2am, only a block away from 6th Street). However, by noon it was already full. So I parked a few blocks south of there for $10. The catch was, as the parking attendant told me in broken English: "good for only eight hours."

-So I meet up with some friends who don't live in Texas and proceed to meet some more people and enjoy some free Tex-Mex. I realize in one of these conversations that while I don't claim to be a big fan of Third Eye Blind's music, I happen to know a lot about their career.

-At this first stop was the first handing off of a galley copy of POST. It would be the first of three copies to be given to friends of mine who wanted to read it and who I trust their opinions. Paper-wise, that meant I was now carrying 469 pages in my sidebag. It would be a long time before I'd be completely paper-less.

-During my wandering around Emo's, I catch three acts: Ladyfinger (NE), the Constantines and Ra-Ra Riot. I thought Ra-Ra Riot was great, but didn't think much of the other acts. These would be the only bands I would catch all day.

-Prior to Ra-Ra Riot's set, I got word that the drummer for Tokyo Police Club would do some stand-up material. Reminded of a certain local show I saw last year where I believe I saw my first comic "bomb," I wondered if the same would happen. Not so, but the jokes were punctuated by chuckles and silence. No boo's or loud talking though.

-While trying to kill some time before a private party at 4, I walked up and down 6th, 5th and 4th Street. There was something peaceful about it: not a lot commotion on the other streets and not a lot of people. Plus, there was plenty of shade and wind. A nice respite.

-Reaching the party before doors opened, I'm introduced to a guy from San Diego and proceed to have one of those fun conversations about my book. Meaning, when I tell people more about the book, they light up and share with me lots of pleasant memories of seeing At the Drive-In, the Get Up Kids and so on back in the day. Frankly, I always enjoy these conversations. I look forward to more of them.

-While at this party, I get to catch up with even more friends I hadn't seen in a while. However, those conversations ended when the DJs decided that with more people, the music had to be even louder. Yes, I know music is great background, but it's nice when you can hear the person you're talking to.

-My pass said there was an open bar, but I didn't put two and two together that all the alcoholic drinks were free until later. Maybe it's because the only open bar events I've been to were wedding receptions where they had just wine and beer. Seeing all those Jack-and-Cokes and vodka-and-cranberries and the only money changing hands went into the tip jars, I decided to stick with water as the heat was making things a little tough to handle. Plus, I was looking at three-hour car ride in only a few hours.

-Passing out the other two galleys, I ran into none other than Justin Wilson, the man who graces POST's cover. He was very pleased to see it. I also realized that three years ago at SxSW, I was excited to meet Aaron Burgess in person. His name might not be as known as Klosterman, Azerrad or McNeil, but his writing has always been a big influence on me. Getting to know him as a trusted friend in those years since, I thought matters came full circle as I gave him a copy of my book. A pretty big moment for me, to say the least.

-Unlike last year, I didn't get a big goody-bag filled with all sorts of swag. Because I skipped out on the free drinks as well, I made a deal that I'd hit up some Dairy Queen in some small town and have an M&M Blizzard. I found a relatively new (and very posh) DQ in a town just south of Waco. A nice way of sending me back.

-After listening to Trever Keith's solo record twice, I got home and proceed to watch the new episode of LOST. Unfortunately, I missed the last ten minutes due to forgetting exactly how much time was left on my tape. Catching the whole episode in HD online the following morning (with limited commercial interruption) was nice.

So, that was my SxSW. I give major props to those who could stomach the 13-16 hours a day of it for multiple days in a row.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On a holiday

I'll be Austin for the rest of the week for SxSW. For now, here's some bits and pieces:

-I spent two hours today printing out galley copies of POST. As strange as it sounds, holding all 213 pages in my hands made think, "This is really happening." Plus, I also thought, "Man, this is like a telephone book."

-If you haven't heard anything from Trever Keith's solo record (his first release post-face to face, Viva Death and Victoria Manor), it's available for streaming on his site and here's an MP3 of the first track.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Caught in a pattern

Once again, Zen Habits comes through with a great article. This time it's on making time for personal goals. Eleven useful tips are laid out for those who are trying to find the time, but I wonder about people that have all sorts of it. Almost too much time on their hands. And what about those that have that along with a regular routine? Where's the spontaneity?

I know a little too much about routine. My job has set hours, so I can thankfully arrange my life around it without many surprises. There's time to nap, write, play music, exercise, watch DVDs and go out to shows. As nice as it is to have time to do all those things, I can't help but think I'm regimented to a time schedule. If I nap too late in the afternoon, falling asleep at night will be more difficult. I must take advantage of the nice weather, so I have really no excuse to pass up some late afternoon running. There seems to be a time and place for everything, including spending time with friends and family. And there's very little spontaneity.

Maybe this is why I'm looking forward to going down to Austin later this week. I have a primary objective in getting down there early Thursday morning and hitting a couple of day parties. Certain friends that live in other parts of the country will be there and I want to spend time with them. Loose plans have been made around the scheduled events and when I go back home is up in the air at the moment. It's almost like I'm forcing myself to be spontaneous. And I think that's good.

Make no mistake, a routine is good to have. It helps to stay on track with your goals and stay out of trouble. And starting a routine is something that you shouldn't put off doing or endlessly wax philosophical about. I've known people who think life will become much better once they are out of school and making X-amount of money in salary. Seeing their struggles (struggles they didn't anticipate) once they got to that point, I realized the importance in finding a balance between struggle and enjoyment in the now.

As desirable as having a lot of free time is, it's hard to enjoy it alone. Maybe that's why I stick to a regular routine. A routine isn't bad for my health per se, but it does seem to be an excuse for trying something different once in a while.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Reason(s)

A book I hope to read soon is Carl Wilson's entry into the 33 1/3 series. I have yet to read any of the 33 1/3 books (which take a look at critically acclaimed records like 69 Love Songs and Murmur, among many others), and I'm well aware that Wilson's topic is definitely not on a celebrated album. Maybe that's why I want to read it. I've read enough about why Pet Sounds is great (I own the album and have come to my own conclusions). Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love, however, is a different story.

Wilson's book "documents [his] brave and unprecedented year-long quest to find his inner Celine Dion fan, and explores how we define ourselves in the light of what we call good and bad, what we love and what we hate." I'm all eyes and ears on this one. Why this is the case is that my experience with Let's Talk About Love about ten years ago taught me a lot.

Working at Best Buy when Dion's album, as well as the Titantic soundtrack, came out, I saw an endless parade of men and women (mostly my parent's age) come in and buy a copy or two. Because of the movie's massive popularity, we had difficulty keeping the soundtrack in stock, but rarely had a problem with Let's Talk About Love. Dion had long since been a superstar at that point, so her label was anticipating it to be a hit album.

Coupled with her duet with Barbra Streisand, "Tell Him," and her duet with Luciano Pavarotti, "I Hate You Then I Love You," I proceeded to hear "My Heart Will Go On" enough times to last five lifetimes. Let's Talk About Love and the Titantic soundtrack were like a two-headed beast, with the Let's Talk About Love part the bigger one since it had more popular songs on it. They were on Best Buy Radio, regular radio, MTV and VH1. It was, as often said, inescapable. And I don't pine to hear these songs ever again.

But from what I gather about Wilson's book is how we strongly dislike something while others seem to love it. This is not a case of whether or not Let It Be is the better or lesser album than Tim. Rather, why a number of people my age hate Let's Talk About Love while people my parents' age appear to love it.

For me, Let's Talk About Love isn't just about the songs; it's the apparent taste in music and lifestyle that comes with it. It's the, "I'm a busy parent who has no time to get into modern music. I am appalled by what I see with younger generations -- doing things my generation did as well, but that was in a different (and more innocent) time. Rock music used to be good, but then it got bad. Now all I want to listen to is smooth jazz, light rock and the sound of waterfalls."

I'm not saying that taste in music or lifestyle is bad. I'm just very sure that it would not be a good fit for me as a fan of music and the way I look at life. Since Let's Talk About Love is like a gateway into that, I'm very hesitant. I love my parents for who they are, but I definitely inherited my view of music from another source.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

You bastards, why are you torturing me like this? Why?

Like Terminator 2 and the original Dawn of the Dead, I think the Evil Dead trilogy (specifically the first film) has been reissued a record number of times on DVD. Why exactly that's the case, I'm not sure. (I've heard rumblings it's about rights changing hands after companies being bought, thus making it go out of print, but I've never heard an official word.) Anyway, it's with this in mind (as well as my store-bought copies of the trilogy back in 2001 on my shelf) that I decided to spring for the recent 3-disc, "Ultimate Edition" of the original Evil Dead.

From what I can remember, Evil Dead has been reissued no less than four times. The version I've stuck with for so long has the film in pan-and-scan with two commentary tracks. Other editions came with the film in matted widescreen and one with a Bruce Campbell-produced documentary called Fanalysis. I was lucky to rent a copy of the film with the Fanalysis documentary attached as I didn't want to buy the DVD again.

Now with the Ultimate Edition containing the commentary tracks, the film in both pan-and-scan and widescreen, the added value comes in the form of new featurettes and deleted scenes. A new retrospective looks back at the making of the film and its legacy. Plus, there are two features on the women in the film -- a side of the story that's never really been told before. In other words, there's a lot of good stuff here, but I don't blame people for being skeptical.

Top of the list as to why is the exclusion of the Within the Woods short film -- something filmed to show potential investors for what became Evil Dead. For whatever reason (I've heard it's a rights issue), it has never seen the light of day on DVD. Then there's the exclusion of the Fanalysis documentary. So, maybe a 30th anniversary edition is in the works?

What I'm getting at is the ridiculous number of times any film gets reissued. I like the Evil Dead trilogy, but it's not my absolute favorite. Bruce Campbell's Evil Dead commentary track is one of the best tracks I've ever heard and do love hearing more about the making (and legacy) of the first film. Plus, I wouldn't mind seeing the film in widescreen.

So that's why I'd even consider buying something again simply for the extras. But I do wonder: why are some of my all-times favorites issued only once, jam-packed with extras? How crazy are rights issues with DVDs, more specifically, for independent movies?

I will say this though: I'd rather have a beloved film remain in print than out-of-print.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Don't Take Anything Personally

Some words of wisdom I'd like to program into my brain: if you look at the actions and feedback from others with your reflection in almost full view, it's almost impossible to not take things personally. As of late, I've taken a lot of stuff personally, and I must say, it makes me angry. Whether or not I'm angry at myself or others, I don't really know. It might be both.

I find it very difficult to distance myself from someone who's sharply criticizing something I've done and constantly uses the word, "you." I know there's a big difference between criticizing the work and the person, but it's hard to know which is which in the heat of the moment. If anything, my wild imagination thinks this person is going to hold a grudge and never forgive what I have done. This is not just some disagreement; this seems like disapproval.

I can recall in college making a slight half-joke about a recent show to a reporter, not really thinking what I said was mean-spirited or cold. Well, after the article ran, I received an incredibly terse message from somebody I respected and did not mean to speak ill of. The vibe I got from him was of pure anger and an implication that he wasn't going to forget what I had done. I thought I had accidentally broken the code I'd been told about my industry of choice ("don't burn bridges"). Now I had to pay for it. (Of course, in the following years, I learned a whole lot more on the topic. There's a wide difference between not always getting along with everybody everyday and being a constant pain in the ass everyday.)

Maybe that's why I struggle with hoping to make an informed statement while also being in the moment. I've been chewed out one too many times by others for seemingly not knowing everything: not saying or doing the right thing at the right time. I do my research and think there is no problem in making safe assumptions when I can't find the answers anywhere else. But after getting ripped into for making an assumption, I wonder why I even bothered to say anything.

I know I can't physically make somebody mad, but I'm well aware of saying or doing something that can trigger anger. When you internalize so much of what you do and how others respond to your actions, it's hard to think there isn't a hidden agenda. I can have the kindest of intentions, but after receiving a harsh talking-to, it makes me think otherwise.

Monday, March 03, 2008

This Time Tomorrow

I may have a large collection of CDs, but that doesn't mean I know (or have heard) every single song on them. That's probably why I've recently become embarrassed I didn't realize I already had certain songs in my collection.

Taking in a recent screening of The Darjeeling Limited on DVD, I noticed (and liked) the Kinks songs on its soundtrack: "Powerman" and "This Time Tomorrow." Since "Powerman" by title sounded familiar, I checked my CD shelf. Turns out I had it, along with "This Time Tomorrow," on my copy of Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneyground -- an album that I've listened to exactly once.

Another instance involves a song I've had stuck in my head off and on for months: Desmond Dekker's "Israelites." I forget where I heard it (maybe the Smoke?), but I was convinced it was by the Crusaders (????). Seeing the song listed in an interview with Michael Emerson, I immediately pulled up the iTunes Music Store. Turns out, the song's on the bonus disc for the The Harder They Come reissue -- another album I have. Whoops.

I have my reasons though. During my Kinks fanaticism back in 2001 (thanks to watching Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, then digging into the Nuggets box sets), I wanted to get all the great Kinks records. From what I could tell from reliable sources, you're pretty safe from Kinks up through Percy at the latest. Despite being really excited by the Live at the BBC version of "Victoria," I could not really get into Arthur or Powerman. "Lola" never really did anything for me, despite its praise from others. So Powerman sat unplayed.

I've heard a few tracks from The Harder They Come, but reggae is something I can only really take in small doses. There's only so much I can take with half-time upbeats . . . and half-time upbeats. Trying to listen to two CDs full of reggae is like a major test of patience. How I even have the soundtrack is because an old co-worker of mine received it as a promo and didn't want it, so I accepted it.

Now that I think about it, there's a reason why my iTunes library is greatly dwarfed by the number of CDs I have: almost every song I have on there was pre-screened before ripping. Maybe unbeknownst to me so I wouldn't have this problem. Go figure.