Ordinary language is all right.
One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.
Last night I noticed (though I guess I have been aware of it for a long time) that for quite a while I've been listening to music differently. The best way I've come up with to describe it succinctly is that my mind has been more outside my headphones rather than inside them. This is not to say anything about the focus of my writing for the past few months - and I only this to be avoid being misinterpreted as having a problem with being too cerebral, or not actually listening to the music or something. In some sense I have been hearing it and enjoying it (sometimes). But the focus of my attention has shifted. Tonight while listening to Life After Death I noticed myself staring off into space at a paper bag or something; imagine that feeling and you've got my overriding mode of attention to music for the past who knows how many months.
To see about changing it, last night, I put on "As" and "Another Star" from Songs in the Key of Life. My CD changer is still broken, so this meant playing them just on headphones (which I would've done anyway at that hour) with my portable player (which always makes me feel as if I am camping or something, when I do it inside on my bed). I played "As" a few times and then let it move into "Another Star", then listened to them both again and cut off "Another Star" before it finished and went to bed. I tried to focus intently on at least one thing throughout, though that thing did change as the song went by, of course. Often I tried for the lyrics, because these two songs are especially repetitive for Stevie Wonder songs, and I thought I caught myself drifting away more easily when I focused on a more repetitive part of the music.
The whole thing felt something like what I reckon (through ignorance) meditation to be.
I like to think that, on the cover of Innervisions, Stevie is shooting laser beams out of his eyes. At aliens. Or Jesus (post-ascension).
On the "U Don't Know" remix featuring M.O.P., Jay gives himself away - gives away that he's trying to keep up with them, but can't. "razor blades under the tongue / I will eat your face" - but do I believe him? Of course not. Given his persona (personas?) it's hard to even believe him rhyming about, say, paying someone else to eat your face. In that sick way inevitable when one is talking about eating people's faces, he's kind of a big teddy bear here, playing tough. A big cuddly sick face-eating teddy bear.
On disc I've always thought "Excuse Me Miss" sounded a little cheap, but the video made me temporarily forget about that. I am disappointed that there was nothing good in the video to go with the "Scooby Doos" line, though.
(Those are shoes, by the way.)
I'm tired but I thought I should at least record this much for posterity before I go to sleep: while I was out tonight with Katie and Jeff at First Avenue, I not only entered the dance floor and stood against a railing (par for the course) but eventually danced (this is an all-time first). I did not in fact die of any of the following: embarassment, shame, stupidity, fear. More to come.
I should note that I fell earlier in the evening and twisted my ankle, but still danced. It's fortuitous, I suppose, that I danced when I did, because by the time we left walking was painful enough to have prevented me from acting on any rash impulses like the one to give up and dance.
(By the time I got out there, they had stopped playing pop, so I can't say what any of the music was.)
Until I saw the album art tonight I had assumed that 50 Cent was white. How much this had to do with his being associated with Eminem (after all, I never thought Obie Trice was white) and how much this had to do with my thinking "Wanksta" was awful (and despite liking "In Da Club" better, I still like it in the weird way where I'm not so sure I think he's not a terrible MC) - unclear to me.
Oh, well, er, that went away.
Trojan singles box, disc three: what if Motown's house band were from Jamaica?
I deliberately avoid knowing the titles of the more interstitial, "non-song" songs on Another Green World. Oh why, why oh why Brian Eno, why did you have to choose lamely programmatic titles (fishes, reptiles, whatever) for them? I do not want even the temptation to imagine "movies for my head" to accompany these tracks. The music does not need this.
I suspect that my easily associating Robert Fripp's guitar solos with Robert Fripp upsets something of the effect I might have been intended to get from the record. I suppose that, given Eno's audience (and the fact that No Pussyfooting, the Fripp and Eno record, came out two years earlier), it wouldn't be unusual for them to be able to put faces with the sounds. But to me they're all, to some extent, goofy and unusual, heavy on the alterity. This is true of Fripp's solos, too, I think, but knowing that they're his taints things. The solos seem to me more obviously unusual-guitar solos rather than unusual-sounds, which I'm more inclined to group many of the other things as even when they are obviously ordinarily "musical" in some way (so we're not talking about Neptunes screen door slam beats or Neubauten jet turbines or anything like that).