It is trite to say that that I love music.
Even if I say “…no, I really love music,” it’s trite. Everyone loves music. Everyone has one song or one album that they can’t wait to listen to for the rest of their life. That one artist in particular who seems to be singing straight from the deepest pit of your heart, whether it’s Michael Jackson, Hank Williams, Tom Petty, Rhianna (though I’m going to judge you if your one artist is Rhianna. Come on now.). If you have a soul, there is a song that soothes it.
But I do, I love music, I fill my world with music and the songs I love most as much as possible throughout the day. I have my iPod hooked up in the car, I’ve got headphones in at my desk, I’m singing in the shower, blasting Pandora radio over whatever’s on TV. LOVE IT. And I’m always looking for new music, something I haven’t discovered yet that speaks to me and makes me stop what I’m doing to listen. There may be over 1,000 songs on the iPod I carry around in my purse, but it’s just not enough! Songs can be like an old pair of jeans that you’ve worn a million times and have no intention of throwing away; you love them and they’re so familiar and comfortable, but eventually they’re going to get worn out and you’re going to need to buy something new.
So I get so excited whenever one of my favorite bands has a new album coming out… that same brand of jeans just came out with a new style, wicky-what! Obviously going to be as awesome and reliable as that last pair, but NEW. YES. So when I found out in October of 2009 that Brand New (the tippy-top of my most favorite artists list) had put out a new album called Daisy, their first in over two years, I needed it. Their previous releases had each been exponentially better than the last and I would have gone to the end of the Earth to purchase what I assumed would be the Best Album Ever. Fortunately, I only had to go to Best Buy.
I tore the plastic off the CD case with my teeth in the parking lot and greedily stuffed the disc into my CD player, cranking the volume. I listened to it all the way home, and then popped it into my laptop when I got home to continue listening. About halfway through the album, I began to realize something.
That’s all there really was to it. I had been expecting as much of a soul-shattering masterpiece as 2007’s The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, and it just wasn’t. It wasn’t even soul-chipping. It didn’t sound like the same band I had grown to know and worship. For a long time I tried to believe that it was one of those CDs you had to listen to a few times and eventually you find its merits and redeeming qualities but it’s 2011 now folks and I don’t even bother to listen to Daisy anymore. It’s just not that good.
The thing is… I could, in theory, get over such a disappointment easily; the world moves on, more and more new music is released, I have a pretty awesome list of Most Favorite Artists Ever that could have… should have… been able to keep me afloat. But Daisy was the just first in a long line of disappointing new albums that I’ve been faced with in the last two years. Perfect example: Jimmy Eat World. Their older music, Chase This Light in particular, is stunning. It’s pure feeling. Every track has a line that gives me chills. However, their most recent release, Invented, is totally boring! The lyrics don’t make sense and don’t have any of that punch that made the group stand out to me in the first place. Exhibit A, lyrics from the lead single off Invented, called “My Best Theory”:
“Rush out, out from the center
Not like one side is any better
Stand up as they’ve been preaching
My best theory is already in me”
…What? Your best theory is where?? What does that mean? Where’s the storytelling that is the defining characteristic of this band? WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO??
Another great artist to have recently caught the Suck virus is Dashboard Confessional. Some of their best work from days past included the song “Hands Down”:
“Breathe in for luck.
Breathe in so deep.
This air is blessed, you share with me.
This night is wild, so calm and dull.
These hearts, they race, from self-control.
Your legs are smooth, as they graze mine.
We’re doing fine.
We’re doing nothing at all.”
This is poetry! How often does a song read as beautifully as it sounds when you hear it sung? But now, on 2011’s Alter the Ending we get this little gem, from the track “Hell on the Throat”:
“Well it’s hard to belong to a girl or a song
In the crease of a strangling winter
It’s strange to be lost, stranger still to belong
On the strings of a twisting lie.”
Trash. Garbled trash. Don’t believe me? Look it up on YouTube or Playlist.com. More like Hell on the Ear.
Other artists fallen from glory with their most recent productions:
–Blue October with Approaching Normal (Okay, not awful; a couple of pretty decent tracks, but the divide between the “pretty decent” and the “shittastic” is gaping.)
–Iron and Wine with Around the Well ( A snoozefest that lacks the captivating poetry of albums like In The Reins and Our Endless Numbered Days.)
–Arctic Monkeys with Humbug (2006’s Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not was funny, quirky, tongue-in-cheek and quality. Humbug was, as the title suggests, dark and cryptic, and toed the line into boring. To be fair, they have a brand new release I haven’t had a chance to listen to which could be redeeming. Please God, please let it be redeeming.)
New segment to be introduced here today: Kick-Ass Lyric of the Day, a tradition I would like to carry on for a dear old friend. Today’s KALOTD (hopefully Jesse Lacey will stumble upon it and be inspired to write something new and crushing to make up for Daisy):
Well I wrote your name and burned it
To see the color of the flame
And it burned out the whole spectrum
As if you were everything