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Politics is so passe

July 15, 2016

It’s July now, 4 months after my last post here, when I still had hope that Trump could be stopped, preferably by Marco Rubio, my chosen candidate. Alas, as it turned out, the rubes and the racists had the upper hand and Trump is about to be nominated at the Republican Convention taking place next week in Cleveland.

Trump’s victory is the reason for my long gap in posts, as I had to get away from politics for a while in order to lick my wounds. It was just too depressing to see that orange-faced vulgarian on TV, day after day, spouting stream-of-consciousness nonsense that no babblefish could decipher. This man, THIS man, was to be the nominee of my party?

Or my former party, I should say, as there is simply no way I can call myself a Republican when Donald Trump is at the head of the ticket. No way, no how. I will not support a Fascist and the alt-right can go lick its own arse for all I care. I defy.

Anyways, I’m bored with being disappointed in politics, so let’s move on to my new obsession: music. Now, anyone who really knows me knows that I am a keen lover of music. Certainly I have my particular tastes (fairly middling, typical, 70’s/80’s/90’s white boy, guitar rock tastes), so it’s not as if I’m one of those “I love ALL music” weirdos. No, I definitely hate a LOT of music and am usually not shy about sharing my disgust! Modern pop music is especially annoying to me, but also the new metal, with its lack of emphasis on melody or clear vocals (everybody, apparently, wants to sound like Beelzebub calling from a phone booth at the bottom of the Marina’s Trench). I never thought I’d be “that guy”, but give me the melodic arrangements and clear vocals of Van Halen, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, and Guns N’ Roses any day over this current crap.

This whole riff on music came about because I was reading some stories about the revival of vinyl and they caught my attention. I, myself, have no vinyl, having only acquired a few albums as a teen before taking the CD plunge in the late 80’s because… “lasers, dude!” as well as because of the portability and lack of fragility (although CDs turned out to be pretty fragile themselves, in the end). So I ended up with over 300 CDs in my music collection, 300 pieces of art which I realized the other day: I have no way to play them! It’s akin to owning 300 paintings and having them stored away in an attic!

The reason, of course, is the digital music revolution, the power to never again have to physically handle, or own(!), your music! Yes, I gave in to that revolution just like I blithely followed along with the herds during the CD revolution. In the mid-2000’s (or mid-aughts, if you please!), I went full digital, getting myself an IPod, an ITunes library, and becoming a person who listened to music in the digital way, one track at a time. For my CDs, I bought a nice storage dresser (the equivalent of a nursing home for them!), put them away, and haven’t taken them out other than to move them when we bought our house.

But the digital revolution left some gaps in my listening experience. For one thing, I don’t own any kind of stereo equipment any more. I have a pair of speakers hooked up to my computer, of course, but the sound they put out, while decent for what they are, is nothing close to the sound, say, my father’s floor tower speakers laid down to my teen-aged years so long ago. And this makes sense, because these computer speakers I have are “desktop” speakers. They’re little “micro-speakers” and wouldn’t be able to set your feet a-rumbling or your organs a-jiggling even if the house were hit by a bolt of lightning! They’re pathetic, really, and for a man who “loves music” as I profess to do, it’s frankly embarrassing that I’ve allowed my listening experience to get into this state.

But there is always time for redemption and redeem myself I shall do. The first step will be to buy myself a proper stereo system, with an amp/receiver, a CD player, and (most importantly, I’ve been told) a sharp, BIG pair of speakers that can move some serious air. For the first time in years, instead of listening to my IPod on random, I will have the chance to listen to ALBUMS, Song 1 to Song 10, straight-through and to hear the story the band was trying to tell me through their art. Of course, I could have always spun the wheel on my IPod and listened to albums there too, but the experience is not as convenient, especially when you’re just mucking about, deciding what to listen to tonight. Seeing the covers of the CD cases gives you a visual cue to the music within that is lacking in the world of IPod selection.

Of course the question is, will I join the “Vinyl Revival” myself or will I leave that to the hipsters and audiophiles? I am a bit torn on this. On the one hand, I am coming quite late to the party, as I am often wont to do, since I don’t really follow trends that closely, even if I’m aware of them. I’m a “do my own thing” kind of guy and I could give a fuck all of what’s currently cool or happenin’. But vinyl is calling to me a bit that I may willing accept the price of being a piler-on instead of an OG in this arena. I mean, for pure nostalgia’s sake, nothing can beat the pull of vinyl. I can remember putting on U2’s The Joshua Tree and being mesmerized by the bell-like ringing of Edge’s guitar on “Red Hill Mining Town”, Bono’s plaintive vocals (does he do any other kind?!), and the driving thump of Adam Clayton’s bass. There was a time when U2 were my favorite band in the world and I miss those days, especially since I think they lost the plot after Zooropa and have never really been able to get it back. I guess I miss the feeling of being completely, head-over-heels in LOVE with a band, where your fandom knows no bounds. Maybe that’s something that’s only able to be felt by the young, when the world is still fresh and full of ripe possibility. When more of your life is in front of you, than behind you. Or maybe not.

Maybe, just maybe, vinyl records are a plastic time machine that can retrieve that feeling for me. “Sure”, I can say, “U2 suck now, but listen to them at their peak!” And maybe I can get that feeling from the CD versions of their music and it doesn’t take vinyl at all, but would you rather look at Anton Corbijn’s brilliant photography reduced to a stamp-sized little CD jewel case or plastered on the great big planes of space on the cover of an LP?! I know which one I’d choose.

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From → Culture, Music

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