josh blog

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.

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1 Oct '04 08:26:17 AM

I wanted to post something about what I've been listening to for the past week or two, but there's so much of it that's so good that when faced with it all on the screen I have no idea what to say beyond giving an enormous list of titles. But here are, let's say, five of them:

Jadakiss f. Sheek, Styles P, & Eminem - Welcome to D-Block
Junior Boys - Last Exit
Houston f. Chingy, I-20, and Nate Dogg - I Like That
Muddy Waters - Long Distance
Jay-Z - S. Carter Collection

1 Oct '04 08:15:28 AM

You have great hair, is what she said to me, and repeated for me after I paused my iPod and asked her what she said (I had just walked onto the elevator; I didn't know her at all). Really? Yes, she said - hasn't anyone ever told you that before? Well, a couple of times, I said, but I guess I didn't really believe them. I'm starting to. Thinking about it on the way home, though, I worried that perhaps I am not up to the responsibility of having great hair.

1 Oct '04 07:28:32 AM

I felt so, so excited at the 'Housequake' bit at the beginning of Circus Music. And like Mia says, it does seem to have a sneaky deft lightness (while at the same time being sort of neck-snappy, like they say on the track). Though when they let the beat ride out for a long time just playing the carnival-slash-big-top-whatever melodic bit, the tension goes out of it in a way that feels dissapointing.

1 Oct '04 07:22:20 AM

I'm still unsure whether Jim O'Rourke's bass parts are the source of the very slight reservations I have about Sonic Nurse - and by 'reservations' I don't mean principled ones, at base, but whatever lies behind the fact that I haven't given myself over to the record as much as I might have yet. It feels like I'm guarding myself. Typical primal reactionary cool-anxiety, perhaps - regardless of whether or not it's enjoyable, rewarding, the idea of liking, or more, formally approving of, a Sonic Youth album that sounds so ordinary - it gives me pause. And when I say that it's not that my reservations are principled, it's because I think what distracts me occasionally about O'Rourke's playing is not only that he plays bass like a fucking guitar player (not always a liability), he plays 'musicianly' bass - and thinking of it that way is surely sliding close, on my part, to a lame sort of identification of Sonic Youth's earlier beauty with their anti-musicality, their deliberate rejection of lots of conventional norms. Stupid. And that's not what I think, anyway. If anything I think they're probably all the more musiciany for it. But.

1 Oct '04 07:04:04 AM

This is the most intriguing record review I've read in months. There's something very noble about it, somehow. Maybe because it actually seems thoughtful to me, where I might expect a thematically-attuned review of a record in a special interest forum to be at best parochial, at worst laughable.

(The review also answers a question I was too apathetic to find the answer for of my own initiative, about the origin of the phrase 'dude ranch nurse'. Well, not definitively. But to my satisfaction, being apathetic and all.)

1 Oct '04 06:40:44 AM

I still have yet to officially sit my exam, a defense of three papers roughly equivalent to comps in some other programs. I sat an abortive one last fall that ended up not being counted, out of my department's regard for my ongoing depression. Now, after a useless and possibly slightly harmful spring semester off, and another fruitless summer, here I am again, with my exam date fast approaching and me not ready, not even working. I mean, yes, I am working, and I'm on my way; but I'm not working enough, and most times when I do sit down determined to write one of two things happens: either I fiddle aimlessly with my notes and scribble down another handful of attempts at extending my existing work beyond its current state, trying to figure out how I can possibly finish it; or I just sit and stare, with this gravity-heavy fear that nothing is going to come and it's going to be too late too soon. In the latter moments it's hard to see how to even move from not working to working - and that's how I inevitably think of it, in terms of a transition between those states, that could only be effected by some mysterious exertion of my will that I have yet to learn the trick to - not just because of my history of fecklessness or my judgment of the magnitude (too big by far, by my own doing) of the task I have to complete, but because I feel I would be overwhelmed by melancholy were I to try, and thus come face to face with the real difficulty, real frustration, that are involved in actually doing the writing (and thinking) I have in mind.

Not that I need special reason lately to think about this, but I was put in this mood just now upon receiving news that two more people in the year behind me just passed their exams today.

1 Oct '04 02:13:38 AM

Bill Moyers on the way presidential debates are set up (hint: for set up read 'rigged').

28 Sep '04 09:59:56 AM

For some reason I just remembered part of a dream I had recently; more importantly, I realized that I have had it before, a number of times. In the dream I have returned to Ames, where I went to school, and I want to go to the record store. But I don't remember until I get there and find it closed - for good - that the owner of the store died in an accident a couple of years after I moved away from Ames. I don't know why I have the dream.

28 Sep '04 09:04:19 AM

When I hear Snoop on 'Holidae In' I am convinced that the early part of his career was merely preparation for the current, much greater role as pop imprimatur. I no longer care about the state of his flow or his approaching ever further the state of a pure construct.

(Best part from the AMG review of Jackpot: 'the beats most often are thurr and so are the songs themselves, but Chingy lacks substance'.)