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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29 Oct '01 06:29:34 AM

Without masking perhaps the sense of ambivalence and lack of explanation he often seems to have of his feelings (and me committing the fallacy of identifying the narrator or singer with the songwriter), it seems like here Travis Morrison has made even further strides in precisely expressing his emotions lyrically. I don't know all the words, so I'm not sure how accurate a perception this is. No small wonder that this would appeal to me, though.

29 Oct '01 06:25:39 AM

I'm not really interested in comparing the two yet, but it seems at the moment like I might be able to draw a comparison between Change and Emergency & I on the basis of album flow - particularly the ways they close. Change's last four songs are all great, and that seems to map over the the end of Emergency.

27 Oct '01 01:26:02 AM

I finally got the new Dismemberment Plan record, Change. (Here's a good article and sort of an interview with Travis.) I can't believe how good it is. There have been some records in recent years that I've loved quickly, but it's often been a gradual process even still - different from when I was, say, in high school, and getting the new records from my favorite bands was the greatest thing in the world because they'd hit me as if a pile of bricks were dropped from above. Maybe that's due to critical blindness, but I don't think so. Emergency & I is one of my absolute favorite albums, one of the few I know without doubt that I like more than most anything else I listen to (the alternative usually being that I'm too attentive to the nuances of the different ways things appeal to me to feel able to make a judgment like this-record-is-better-than-that-record). But so is Low's The Curtain Hits the Cast, and my response to their next two albums and other releases hasn't been quite like this. Like a ton of fucking bricks. When the CD started again I started to cry. It was a similar kind of thing as this old Mogwai story, except that it wasn't so much motivated by the same thing - maybe just sort of a sense that everything was so right and exciting and - and. I don't know. And there will be more. I have to go pay more attention again.

24 Oct '01 08:58:52 PM

Woo hoo the ASA conference starts tonight.

24 Oct '01 04:49:48 AM

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck there's some kind of problem with the distributor I think so none of the stores I checked in the Twin Cities got their new Dismemberment Plan CDs on time. Fuck fuck fuck. Why do there have to be release dates? I always get upset when CDs I really really want are not available. Fuck.

20 Oct '01 09:31:36 PM

Nothing else to say yet but if you like Fugazi you should get their new album, The Argument.

19 Oct '01 04:35:09 AM

Besides making lists when you've run out of things to talk about, as Andy says, you can also make them when you have things to talk about and can't get started. So I've been kicking around a list, to make myself write some things down. Roots Manuva and Kardinal Offishall are on it. So is Stereolab, to my slight surprise. But I keep forgetting to write down my list, and I get so stuck on one CD for a day or two that I forget what it was I was so entranced by three days ago.

In the meantime I put on Young Team. I wanted Rock Action because I wanted to feel like its second to last song makes me feel. But I couldn't find that record and didn't feel like looking. I did find the other one while I was looking for it, though, so it had to do.

So instead of making a list I'm listening to Mogwai again. Is anything new happening? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. I skipped track seven. I do that all the time now. I'm not sure if it tests my patience, or I don't like the loudness, or what. Sometimes I do. At the moment my stereo isn't even up loud. What good would it do? I guess I don't know what it would sound like that loud, right now, in my room, with the current me listening. But by the end of track six it's almost time for track eight so I skip it. I pretend to be an album purist but it's really more complicated than that.

I almost never think of Lisa when I listen to it, but sometimes when I think about "R U Still In 2 It?" I think of her. I don't know if I had the record before she talked to me about it or not, but I remember that she liked that song, and I don't remember taking much notice of it before that. Maybe I had just bought the record. I think perhaps that early association made me approach the song in a certain way. Knowing that Lisa liked it, and because of the title and the lyrics, I heard it more as being about the sort of decadent indifference that people, especially young people, turn to as some kind of reaction against a perhaps shallow kind of boredom. I'm trying to make sort of a sociological point with that, but I'm not sure how to say it in a less value-laden way - I certainly don't think badly of Lisa. But I think that hearing the song that way caused me to identify with it less - or nonidentify with it.

Somewhere along the way I found my own way into the song, and if the way I listen to it now is any indication, it had something to do with glazed-eyed misery, some kind of empty-inside feeling that I walked around with for most of the last two years I was in Ames, which perhaps not coincidentally were some of my most depressed. (Write something about Anna here too, but what? There is nothing important to write. The fact that I want to mostly stems from wondering what it would be like if I started writing more while keeping her in mind. Despite the fact that she is not in mind that frequently, and that I am not always sure she has any connection to what I'm writing. It's an experiment, you see.)

But then why did it make me happy? It's the classic question, and I'm not convinced catharsis is the answer. Or some kind of self-directed schadenfreude. Can just the feeling sad make a person happier? What if that's set not against feeling happy or content, but not-feeling? Blankness? I think that's worth something, distinct from catharsis.

15 Oct '01 06:48:35 AM

In the car this weekend we had a college radio station tuned in and were confused: is this the Velvets? This can't be the Velvets. What is this? It's almost like the Velvets but not quite. Some substandard indie rock ripoff, I said. The Strokes, the DJ said. So I guess the comparisons are well-founded after all.

Minnesota listens to much cooler music than Iowa State on their car trips. We heard "Play That Funky Music" three (count them three) times on different radio stations.

15 Oct '01 06:35:16 AM

It's about time!