Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author. In the book Breakfast of Champions, he tells a little side story about this planet where a lot of people make art.
Anyone who makes art hands it over to a guy who determines the value of the artwork with a roulette wheel. This results in, completely by chance, some ridiculously highly valued artwork and plenty of artwork worth nothing at all.
Maybe I’m not hipster enough, or maybe I just don’t appreciate art, but when I read Pitchfork’s year-end best album lists, I can’t help but feel like there’s a very prominent roulette wheel hanging out in the Pitchfork offices.
Above pretty much anything else, my ultimate wish is to wake up in a world where all my friends exclusively listen to tech metal.
Maybe not all of them. Maybe like two dozen. The rest of them can keep listening to T-Swizzle or whatever the hell
I love Das Racist and it wasn’t until this last week that I realized they did this with Diplo, and then the internet started telling me Das Racist broke up and those are two terrible things to happen at the same time.
The other night I found myself deleting songs from my iTunes library en masse. It was time for a musical reevaluation. Questionable songs kept popping up on shuffle, and I figured post-college me was old enough to stop being such a digital hoarder and delete all those irrelevant songs I had floating around.
The first to go was Limp Bizkit. I’d had a hard enough time justifying its place in my music the last time I went on a deletion spree a year ago, settling for the excuse that maybe I’d meet some smoking-hot, tatted-up anachronism of a 90s rocker girl in a bar and she’d be browsing through my iPod and we’d start laughing about how silly we were for listening to nu-metal back in the day, oh haha and also you should give me your number.
That still hadn’t happened, so it was time to delete the Limp Bizkit. All of it. “Move files to recycle bin,” there we go.
What you have lying around in your iTunes library says more about you than most other identifying features in your early life. The rest of the petty reasons we pass judgment on one another can be laughed off.
“Oh, this shitty car? Yeah, the ‘ol high school car. Don’t worry about that, my parents are buying me a new one for graduation.”
“Oh, this desk that looks like it fell into my room out of a helicopter carrying Matlock props? That’s from my parents’ basement, can’t wait to buy my own furniture, right?”
“Oh, all these flat-brimmed hats with the sticker on? Those, uh…hey, remember how we used to listen to KoRn? Silly right?”
But none of that works with the iTunes library. Oh no, the iTunes library, that’s the big tell-all of our generation. No financial influence, no parental influence, just a window into the soul.
Now that I think about it, I don’t really need four albums of Staind. Click. Or Three Six Mafia. Click. How do I have 263 Tupac songs? Those are staying.
But it is unfortunate, I guess. While I’m making adjustments to my library and pruning here and snipping there, I’m silently flushing away entire discographies. Lifelong compilations of a group’s musical achievements. Down the drain. It’s like walking into a used bookstore, and you see War and Peace and you see 1984 and you see Moby Dick, but then there’s hundreds of other books that you’ve never even heard of and you’ll never read and somebody spent months of their life toiling over a hundred thousand words, adjusting their order and adding and subtracting until everything is perfect and they tell the world, listen to what I have to say because it’s important, dammit! And the book ultimately finds its way to some dark, damp corner of a shelf piling up geological records of dust.
Except that there are millions of these books out there. Millions of albums. Hundreds of moderately successful ones. Who knows how many bands back in the seventies and eighties sold tons of albums and won tons of awards and wrote this one great jam and all the kids used to love that song and still, nobody remembers it because some idiot at the radio station accidentally tossed it.
I click, and most of P.O.D., Papa Roach, and Paramore are gone. Peter Frampton can stay. But how did Pitbull get in here? Click.
The problem is, there’s so much music that by the time twenty years has passed, all the songs regarded by the public as anything less than perfect are tossed aside, maybe forever. Radio stations just skim the top fluffy layer of greatest hits off a mountain of music.
It’s funny to think that every genre that exists today will be lost to history soon. Dubstep? Rock? Rap? Folk? Pop? Nope. “The Greatest Hits from the ’10s”, they’ll say, and play Skrillex, Foo Fighters, Kanye, Mumford, and Rihanna in the same hour like that was a typical DJ track list in 2012.
How many bands from the ’70s would have warranted a Wikipedia stub in 2012?
In twenty years I could probably tell my kids’ friends I was in a successful band back in the day and none of them would even doubt me. Because for all they know, they accidentally deleted me along with the other 72 GBs of music they dumped in the recycle bin last weekend while they were cleaning out their iTunes.
“What did you guys call yourselves?” they’d ask me.
And hopefully they forget that name before they get home to look it up on Wikipedia.
“Senorbill, Gossamer came out two months ago, why are you barely pos-“
Shut up, I know, I’m lazy as shit. It takes me forever to listen to albums from bands I actually enjoy. Imagine how long it takes me to listen to albums from bands I don’t like. (Hint: forever).
Anyway, Gossamer is great. Mostly. My roommate and I have already had Take a Walk ruined for us my merely one evening of Taco Bell commercials, and the last couple tracks on the album fall a bit flat for me, but there are plenty of things to love on here.
I’ll Be Alright is upbeat and eclectic. Carried Away makes me want to dance, but the social implications of doing so at 1:30 AM on the second floor of my apartment building generally hold me back. The sampling in Constant Conversations is something else, and comes with a perfectly singable chorus line to top it off.
I don’t want to waste your time writing about an album you can just listen to yourself. That always seemed like a silly concept to me. But the moral is, go listen to it, for real.
I’d think your college relationships were a lot more precious if I didn’t have detailed, occasionally firsthand knowledge of who-cheated-on-who.
I just got back from seeing [see post title] at [see post title] and Jack Black is hilarious and awesome. There was a giant inflatable phoenix shaped like a penis onstage the entire show.
And I just want you to think about that before you go to bed.
WHRRZZ THRR DTNNNTRRR? WHRRZZ TH DTTNNNATTRRR???? WHRRZZZ IT? >:[– Batman, to Bane
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.– Friedrich Nietzsche
Why? I’ll tell you why.
Now, I’m off to drink beer and celebrate America, and you should too.