Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Boss tells Stories

Bruce Springsteen held me spellbound for his entire Storytellers set, and I've ended up watching it multiple times. I wish I could find the entire program so I could post it. He is such a humble, honest artist and by virtue of that he is improving the human condition. Helping us to see ourselves.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Living Through The Past

I've had the privilege of listening to a few snippets of Colby Stead's forthcoming album and it has helped me come to one very basic conclusion I'm sure most of you have already known. It's about the concept of "living in the past." Primarily I've thought of people who live in the past as underachievers who never got to live the dream and are somehow unable to let it go: The basketball player who revels in his glory days and is determined to prove himself, even at the expense of friends and neighbors, at in the local community ball tournament. The mother who never achieved herself and pushes her daughter through years of dance classes so she can live vicariously through the performances, even though her daughter would rather be conducting science experiments. Living in the past.

But it really goes beyond all that. Sports are one thing, but abuse, guilt projection, and suicide are another. It can be a harmful cycle, the past becoming one big snake eating it's own tail. I didn't really consider further implications of the idea until listening to this music. Everyone must somehow reconcile themselves with their own past if they want to live a healthy life. That means finding truth through your own mistakes, and sometimes through the mistakes of others who have wronged you or ones you love. It is so easy to get hung up on those moments of pain or dreams that never were. In fact, getting hung up on them is probably a necessary part of healing. But unless you can somehow move through it and get to the perspective of the other side I'm not so sure a complete catharsis can occur. I'm not even sure how that bridge is actually built. But I am sure that the whole process is a forgiveness of sorts and that it requires large amounts of bravery and honesty. I admire people who can do it--live in spite of the past. Live through the past.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bon Iver

It's called For Emma, Forever Ago, and it is my favorite album so far this year. I was a little worried after listening for a minute that I might not like the vocals. Sometimes I get really bummed out by all the weirdy-ness of vocalists like Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, Frog's Eyes, Swan Lake, how-many-more-bands-can-one-possibly-play-in-?). But I digress.

This really is fantastic songwriting. The hooks are really beautiful, and though the lyrics are a bit cryptic there is some great imagery:

There's a black crow sitting across from me
And his wiry legs are crossed
And he's dangling my keys (he even fakes a toss)
Whatever could it be that has brought me to this loss?

This is not the sound of a new man
Or a crispy realization
It's the sound of the unlocking and lift away
Your love will be safe with me

That's nice, isn't it? Definitely worth buying or at least checking it out from the library, or the very least burning from your buddy down the street.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Everything is Illuminated

I love this book in concept. I love the journey, the language, the energy, the search, the foreboding unresolvability. But the one thing which served in large part as a deal breaker, was the sexuality. And I'm not that squeamish of a guy, but for me it only served to harm the story, and is, unfortunately, the sole reason I will never be able to recommend this book in good faith to anyone I know, which is sad because it really doesn't have anything to do with what, for me, was the central journey and central questions of the book. Foer's writing is amazing, and I'm waiting (and will continue to wait patiently) to be floored by him.