It’s probably indicative of something pretty tragic in our culture that I actually find this song super refreshing, particularly as a corrective to Taylor Swift’s damsel in distress/knight in shining armor/Romeo and Juliet as romantic fairytale brand of shiny, regressive pop-country. As long as we’re going to have a misogynistic culture that teaches women that their desires are dirty and that they shouldn’t ever ask for what they want, can we at least also have songs that acknowledge that reality? I know that part of the reason I let boys treat me so badly as an adolescent (and, um, more recently than that) was because I felt like I would never be as pretty or pure as I needed to be to be loved, to be loveable, and I assumed I was the only one who felt that way. I get not wanting to hold it up as an ideal, and that younger girls might mistake what I take for tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement (“you’re a tool again / but you’re the one that I’ve chosen”) as an endorsement of staying up waiting to be called by a drunk guy, but quite honestly, I’d rather that than a generation which believes that romantic love is going to solve all of their problems.
Zan on Okay Cupid. Very tangentially related: last night at the that dog show I found myself thinking again about how different my brain would have been if my teenage years hadn’t coincided with a high point in the acceptance of women making all kinds of music. All kinds of music but, you know, especially music with honest, introspective, sometimes gross assessments of what really goes on in “romance.” In other words, I was thinking again about what kind of person I might have become had I not received that Bikini Kill I Like Fucking/I Hate Danger split 7” for my 15th birthday.
In a lot of that dog songs and a lot of songs in general the band is singing about how it feels to be powerless over a crush on someone who doesn’t care about you. But watching a bunch of rapt faces turned up towards a woman who is doing this joyfully and masterfully onstage makes it clear that this is actually a way of claiming power, not giving it away.
Unpaid endorsement: I am in love with Rdio. Something about it just works for me; I think it’s the part of me that loves lists? I still have a circa-1993 notebook where I once filled page after page with the titles of every single song I could think of that had the word “love” in it. Talk about Mind Google! Also, what a weird kid. Anyway, I love being able to enter a search term and find songs, albums, artists and user-generated playlists (I found this one by searching for “change the world.”)
Last night I started displacing anger and fear into the creation of a fairly cheesy "protest songs" playlist. I guess people have complained that this movement doesn’t have its own songs but possibly we need to enlarge our definition of what is a protest song and think a little bit less like an algorithm. I enabled collaboration so you can add to it, I personally would tend to stay away from U2 but you know, whatever.
Somewhat relatedly I am frustrated by the fact that I LOVE the song ‘Easy to be Hard’ from Hair but I hate all existing recorded versions of it, so if someone wants to cover that song in an understated way, please do? I know that’s a lot to ask of the Internet. I mean, part of the appeal of that song is that it’s so cornball, and knows it to some extent: “Especially people who care about strangers/who care about evil and social injustice/Do you only care about the bleeding crowd/how about a needing friend” is my favorite part. It’s so vague and lame and awesome at the same time. Just the part where someone has to sing the words “social injustice” is perfect: earnest and silly and moving.
Also if Matthew Perpetua could find the best version of Sleater-Kinney’s cover of Fortunate Son online that would be great, okay those are all my requests!
I guess no one is going anywhere in the snow probably but for future reference this is the best song to listen to on a long car, bus or train ride. (The best song to listen to on a plane is This Time Tomorrow by the Kinks, if you don’t mind being super literal. Or Stratford on Guy by Liz Phair, ditto.)
The YouTube odyssey that led me to this dynamite 1973 McVie-athon was epic. Stevie and Lindsey-less Fleetwood Mac has its own fan dynamic; I am the rare person who appreciates both iterations of the band. It is the F. Mac fandom equivalent of being bisexual.
Unrelated in any way to sex: one of the rest stops on my journey was this Steely Dan video. Aren’t they majestic? Those tie-dyed pants!
I remember a conversation I had with Kanye every time I sit down to write now. Every single time I sit down, I remember him asking, ‘What is it that you wanna say? It’s not about rhyming words, it’s about what you really wanna say.’ The fact that he wasn’t even looking at me when he said it—he was on the computer looking at naked girls, I think—it was just a life-changing experience.
I loved this post about people’s “comfort music” picks; I listen to music for comfort a lot. Sometimes you listen to music to listen but other times you’re listening to blot out consciousness or enhance it or maybe you just want music to make you feel safe and cozy and understood. When my central nervous system feels jangled (like, say, on the eve of a travel-intensive holiday) I listen to the Carter family. Part of the comfort comes from feeling grateful that my problems are in fact so first-world, unlike the problems of “motherless children” who “ask for a piece of bread/and are told to go to bed.” :(
There’s a new School of Seven Bells album out today, “Disconnect from Desire,” and I am way into it. On Friday I get to take a train and I’m already excited to listen to this on it; a train seems like the natural habitat of this music.
Also yesterday Ruth, who is a lot more up on what the kids like than I am, was like “I know I’m a cliche but I really like Broken Bells” and I was like “Any relation of Sleigh Bells, School of Seven Bells?” and she was like “no, Broken Bells = guy from the Shins + Danger Mouse” and I was like “Oh” and then she sensed I was still confused and clarified “Danger Mouse = 1/2 of Gnarls Barkley” and then, later, “Other half of Gnarls Barkley = Cee-Lo.” This is probably all true, but it might also be her revenge for the time I tried to convince her I had seen a band at the Northside Festival called Panda Wolf.