Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wish You Were Here

I mentioned last week that I'd write something about rock 'n roll. I'm going to do just that, right now, at least a little bit.

Okay, yes, I know I'm a freak about rock 'n roll more than other types of music. I'm the kid who has over one hundred record albums and listens to them obsessively and gets wildly upset when "kids these days" don't know who Janis Joplin is.

Why do I like it so much, anyhow? I have this idea that it's better than "a lot of stuff out there nowadays," and why's that?

It gets into you.

That doesn't mean you have to like the music; the music has this habit of breaking in unannounced and maybe even unwanted, but break into you it will. It gets a hold of you, sometimes whether you like it or not. There's something special about the sounds, something in the spirit behind the music.

Take the band Boston, for instance. When I heard their music for the first time ("More Than A Feeling" I think it was) my immediate reaction was that they enjoyed what they were doing. They loved their music, and it was full of power and joy and you knew it. Don't believe me? Listen to "Don't Look Back" or "Rock and Roll Band."

Music should, by nature, have the power to move you. Really move you, really get into you. I think that most of "today's stuff" doesn't; it feels like it's more about making awesome-sounding stuff and Being A Rock Star. To be sure, a lot of stuff sounds really, really cool now- I actually really like Jet, Skillet, Cake, Arctic Monkeys (to list a few). They're good, really good, both in sound and talent. But there's something missing- there's little to no soul in the music.

I think that, with rock 'n roll, the whole business was about the music, or at least more often than not it was. Janis Joplin's little speech at Woodstock about how it was about music and that no one should tell you otherwise points at that (yes, of course she was high, most of them were. doesn't change a thing.). Because it was about the music, the music being played had life in it. Yes, music was used to make statements. Music for the sake of music and using that voice to change the world in some way is not a bad thing, not at all.  Music, I think, is a fine medium for stating thoughts and opinions and gathering the masses. The music in the 60s and 70s became some sort of bizarre and fantastic movement.

But back to my reason for liking rock 'n roll so much- it breaks in. Either I'm absolutely nuts, or people have forgotten how to listen (and don't think I'm meaning with your ears; if you think that you really are forgetting).

Does newer music do this at all?

Yes. Very yes.

With rare exception, I feel, but that's ok. They are...

...the David Crowder*Band. For those of you who know me, yes, I love them a whole lot (and that there are other worship artists, yadda yadda yadda. I know.), but this is why- their music breaks right on into you, unasked-for, unannounced. Immediately. It is alive, it has soul, it moves you. It will make you cry, if you're not careful. If you don't know what I mean, put on their new album "Church Music" right now and put it on loudly. Listen to it all, in order. Listen to it at once. This is pure, unadulterated rock 'n roll we're talking about. we have Muse. Oh yes, Muse. It's like if you got the Pink Floyd (minus the bickering) and Rush here in the 2000s and smashed them together, you'd have Muse. They have soul, and they like playing their music. Play "The Resistance" or "Black Holes & Revelations."

I can't forget Anberlin. They're not only really stinkin' good, but they interrupt you too. Try out "Inevitable" and "There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss." Freaking love Anberlin.

That's about it for new bands. I can't think of others. There should be more.

For the "old" music, I have suggestions for what to listen to. Whether you end up thinking I'm off my rocker or not, that's fine... but if you haven't already bought into my idea here you have to at least give this a listen.

The list is as follows (they're songs unless otherwise noted):
-Wish You Were Here (album) by Pink Floyd
-Dark Side of the Moon (album) by Pink Floyd
-The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix
-All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix
-Boston (album) by Boston
-Don't Look Back (album) by Boston
-3rd Stage (album) by Boston
-Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix
-May This Be Love by Jimi Hendrix
-Roundabout by Yes
-Get Together by The Youngbloods
-Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkle
-Behind Blue Eyes by The Who
-Pinball Wizard by The Who
-Let it Be by The Beatles
-Me & Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin
-The Times They Are A-Changin' by Bob Dylan
-Baba O'Riley by The Who
-Clear As the Driven Snow by The Doobie Brothers
-The Doors (album) by The Doors
-L.A. Woman by The Doors
-Wheel In the Sky by Journey
-Do You Feel Like We Do? by Peter Frampton
-Zoso (a.k.a "Led Zeppelin 4") by Led Zeppelin
-White Room by Cream
-Suite: Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
-Soul Sacrifice by Santana

You want more? I can give you more. If you want :)

EDIT: A newer band I should mention is Disciple. Red's newish song "Shadows" is also incredible. As for old bands.... listen to Genesis's song "Supper's Ready." 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Superfood and Desert Solitaire and Stuff

After hearing my good friend [the] Blake rant for years and years about how good Odwalla's "original-flavored"
 Superfood is, I finally (*finally*) got around to even tasting the stuff. It is as delicious as he claimed. It is also the most ugly-looking drink I've seen.

It is green, like blended lentils (I HATE lentils), only perhaps mixed with the stuff you lay down floor tiles with plus some of the Swamp of Despair for extra effect. Oh, it looks so gross. But it is amazing; it tastes like a fruit smoothie ('cause, er, it is...).

In any case.. I do believe back in January I mentioned something about drawings. Well, I've had them, in a state of near-done-ness, for a while now, and haven't done anything about them. Like, you know, finish them. Or even scan what I've got and put them up or anything. I hereby promise that by Sunday they will be posted here, finished or otherwise.

Random note: I have (relatively) recently happened upon the Internet word "derp." I think it's an amazing word, and it is one of my favorites. It feels fun to say.

Sometime I am going to write thoughts about music here. Specifically, about rock 'n roll. More specifically, why I like it so danged much. I'll provide a healthy list of songs (and maybe links to said songs) for your listening, I assure you.

And now, a quote I rather like, from Edward Abbey. I have just read it for the first time:

     I am here not only to evade for a while the clamor and filth and confusion of the cultural apparatus
     but also to confront, immediately and directly if it's possible, the bare bones of existence, the elemental
     and fundamental, the bedrock which sustains us. I want to be able to look at and into a juniper tree, a
     piece of quartz, a vulture, a spider, and see it as it is in itself, devoid of all humanly ascribed qualities,
     anti-Kantian, even the categories of scientific description. To meet God or Medusa face to face, even if it
     means risking everything human in myself. I deam of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self
     merges with a non-human world and yet somehow survives still intact, individual, separate. Paradox and