Archive for December, 2009

But Wait, There’s More!

Posted by on Thursday, 31 December, 2009

I also get to pick my selection for the best song of the decade:

“Mr. Brightside” by the Killers. With no runners-up, it was a crap decade for music.

Wait, was 2001 in this decade? Let me rethink this.
“Kite” – U2
“Cut Here” – The Cure
“Idioteque” – Radiohead
“Lost Cause” – Beck
“Hurt” – Johnny Cash
“My December” – Linkin Park
“No One Knows” – Queens of the Stone Age
And what the heck, let’s throw in:
“Fresh Feeling” – Eels
“Such Great Heights” – The Postal Service
“How Far We’ve Come” – Matchbox 20
“Vindicated” – Dashboard Confessional
“Something Beautiful” – The Newsboys
“Pork and Beans” – Weezer
“The Wrong Side” – Abney Park
“Viva la Vida” – Coldplay*
“Crazy” – Gnarls Barkley
“Apartment Story” – The National
“Feel Good Inc.” – Gorillaz
“Hoppípolla” – Sigur Rós

So that’s a list. I probably forgot some. Is it shallow of me to only mention songs that were massive hits? Seems shallow of me. Although, since I have repeatedly mentioned that I do not listen to music much anymore, a song would have to be awfully popular to come to my attention. Oh, and we still need a winner? Let’s see… Hey, what was that song with the “Ode to Joy” guitar solo again? It kind of went: Jealousy, turning saints into the sea/turning through sick lullabies/choking on your alibis/but it’s just the price I pay/destiny is calling me; open up my eager eyes…
Cause I’m Mr.

Ah, yes. First instinct is usually best.

*A couple of years ago I wanted to add this song to my regular year end list, except that I thought it was called, “Speed of Sound.” I then discovered that that is a different song by Coldplay. It suddenly dawned on me that Coldplay songs are all slightly different shades of the same color. It is, however, a pleasant color. I guess you can stay.

Not Even Trying

Posted by on Wednesday, 30 December, 2009

It’s music time again. Back in July I heard a song that made me think I should call the winner early, because I was not likely to hear a better song this year. I should have done it, because now I do not remember anything about that song. Anyway, lately I have been listening to KBIG 104.3 a lot, which is now calling itself “My FM”, but do not worry, it is still a total “chick” station.

I was thinking awhile ago that The Killers are definitely in the running for the best band of their generation… and if only there was another band that was any good at all we could actually have a competition. The Killers did not have a new album this year. (They did have a live album, but I’m not going to count that.)

You know who did have a new album this year? U2. And it might just be the greatest collection of notes and words that they or anyone else have ever put together. I mean, it might… I would not know, I have not heard it. Though what I have heard from it does not particularly support that hypothesis.

I heard a song this summer that featured the nastiest, dirtiest, fuzz pedal guitar tone that I have heard in a great long while. And it was a welcome breath of fresh air to the bland, over-produced drivel of recent years. It took me awhile to track down the song: “E-Pro” by Beck. From 2005. Oh well.

Another song I ran across is “Fresh Feeling” by Eels. I honestly can not explain what I like about it… it is so… peppy. That ain’t like me. It also happens to be from 2000, although it was also on the soundtrack to the movie “Love Happens”, which I did not see, and I doubt that you did either, but I imagine that that gave it the slight boost in popularity which brought it to my attention.

Didn’t anyone write a good song this year? I heard a ditty on the radio: “Put me in a special school/Cause I am such a fool/And I don’t need a single book to teach me how to read/Who needs stupid books?/They are for petty crooks/And I will learn by studying the lessons in my dreams.” Normally I despise commercials, but this one had me thinking, “Interesting… where are you going with this?” Only it was not a commercial, it was “Troublemaker” by Weezer. A radio commercial that makes you stop and pay attention: triumphant success. A song that you mistake for an advertisement: total failure.

I saw Reba McEntire on Conan performing what was actually quite a good song. But no, I am not going to go that route. Can’t do it. Although it is nice to know that she’s still got it*.

So you know what? Screw it. If the music industry is not even going to try anymore, why should I? My pick for song of the year is “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi. Which I have been hearing quite a lot recently for some reason.


*I actually could not name a single Reba McEntire song, including that one. Though I might take a stab with “Consider Me Gone.”


Posted by on Friday, 18 December, 2009

[I originally intended this as a loosely-related intro to this post, but sensing that it might take… oh… three months to get to the point, I chose to post it separately.]

I have gone back part time to a job that I used to have, and semi-coincidentally worked along side someone with whom I have some history. To call a spade a spade, we were friends in high school until he basically stole my girlfriend. So, back in April of this year, on one of my first days back with this company and things had been cordial thus far between this individual and myself, and we were working together in a scissor lift 20 feet in the air when it suddenly occurred to me, “Wait a minute, don’t you hate this guy?”

I did of course, for many years. But that was all such a very long time ago… what does it matter now? So I began to wonder, is that all that forgiveness really is, when the consequences no longer matter? I have heard a few sermons on forgiveness and I feel like there is supposed to be more to it than that.

A few years ago there was some tension with another person, who would regularly cause a scene when I was around. Then I would get emails, so many emails: apologies, then perfectly innocent ones, and often ones that really did not make any sense to me. I felt at the time that the best policy was not to respond to these emails. I could forgive each incident; I certainly found it annoying, but also somewhat comical, and in some respects, I think it was more uncomfortable for others to witness than it really was for me. My concern was that in spite of the apologies, I had no expectation that things would be any different in the future, and I did not want to give this person a “pass” as it were to continue acting in the same manner. [I in no way claim that I handled that situation correctly, but do ask you to take my word for it that this person was not rational enough for us to work out our problem in private, like adults.]

In any event, I am pretty sure that “conditional forgiveness” is not Biblical either. In fact, I recall from at least one sermon, the speaker claimed that forgiveness is not dependent on apologies, moreover, forgiveness benefits YOU, not the person who wronged you.

There is someone else who has been on my mind a lot lately. I keep thinking back to the last time we did anything. It was not technically the last interaction that I had with this person, but it was the last time we had a meaningful one-on-one conversation. I regret that day. Not so much because I did anything wrong (although I did), but more because it was the last chance that I had to set things right. And I did not. It is perhaps the converse to the situation above. How do you apologize, not for a single act, but for a complete pattern of behavior? “I’m sorry. I have been selfish. I have been inconsiderate. I took our friendship for granted. I have been less than honest about my motivations and an overall bad friend, but if you give me another chance, I promise to do better?”

I do not even find that convincing myself.