Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Album is Dead

I am sure you know it. It has been happening for some time now. Slowly but surely the album as an art form, has died. I mourn its passing deeply. On the other hand, perhaps its is not a dead art form-but rather, much of the population is ceasing to view it in such a way or care.Today, it is most important to merely download specific songs. Not to experience the album itself.

I know in my music listening experience, that there were songs on let's say Queen's Night at the Opera that I did not specifically care for-at first. It was only through the excitement of listening to a new album all the way through repeatedly that the seemingly uninteresting song like "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" would grow on me. It was never my favorite song or even my favorite album necessarily but I can say that "Bohemian Rhapsody" seemed so much better when I listened to the whole album. The anticipation of hearing specific songs would build so that they were so much better once I had to mull through the least favorites of the album.

I mention Queen, also because you could tell that the way in which they compiled their songs on an album was not willy nilly. It was artfully done. I know that Queen was of an era that included bands like Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, and Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life. It was the Golden Age of the album when you think about it. Having said that, most of the work in a carefully crafted album should be highly personal and what the artist is presenting is more fully realized in a specific order (for the most part). Who buys only one chapter of a novel or one portion of a photograph or painting? Its not to say art is not beautiful in its individual parts. I can appreciate beautiful writing by reading one chapter of a novel or see the beauty in one portion of a painting yet I think its quite obviously lacking when its presented in small portions.

Personally, I relied on albums for consistency and predictability during some difficult teenage years. If you have ever seen the movie Welcome to the Dollhouse, you have some perspective as to what my life was like at the age of thirteen. School was hell on earth, home was crazy with recently divorced parents and of course my dog died and it was one of my earliest experiences with death. So with all these changes occurring, I knew I could rely on the order of the songs on the album to sooth my spirit. Probably the album I listened to most at the time was The Beatles St. Pepper. Had The Smiths been around then, I probably would have been really into it. Then again, its partially the reason I got into The Smiths in the first place.

I always appreciated the artfully crafted Smiths albums (of course).

I don't think I have any more to say on the death of the album-except that I miss them. I miss not having the option to download one track at a time.

Happy Easter! May the album rise again!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How I Dearly Wish You Were Not Here

I know in my last post I was preaching about sharing music with the youth. I meant every word, yet the past two days I have done nothing to bridge the generation gap in my own home. We drove to Los Angeles today and to Joshua Tree yesterday with no musical exchange. Let me explain. My plan was to take the kids to Amoeba Music on Sunset today to have them pick out a CD so we could all "share" once we drove back to Orange County (the Orange Curtain). Sort of my ploy to be a gentle music Nazi. But Amoeba was closed since it was too early. Enrique only has tunes downloaded on his MP3 and this does not always make it easy to share music in the car. So I just let him dwell in his "wonderful" world of Disney music for another day or two.

Although we did not end up doing what we had intended on doing, we were able to share something with the boys that they had never experienced. Oliver had. I include pictures. In case you are wondering: I do not post pictures of Enrique and Miguel (our foster children) for legal reasons. I was never told not to post photos, but I feel it is best just to be safe. 

I have to say, Miguel seemed rather bored and even said as much today. He seems more interested in time-like he may ask, "What are we doing nexr?" or "What time are we leaving?" but never asks questions of what lies before him. We were at the Griffith Observatory today and he said he was bored. I mean, even if you aren't interested in science, the view of the Hollywood sign and the city is amazing. He and probably many of his generation find it difficult to just think. To just look out a car window and contemplate is considered boring. Yet, I looked forward to it when I was young. I still do. If I am lucky I may even fall asleep bouncing along on the freeway.

Oliver Waving
With Mary Poppins

Monday, April 18, 2011

Become a Music Nazi

My fellow music Nazi.

 I am a music Nazi.

It's okay. My parents (mostly my mom) was a music Nazi too. I was forced to listen to anything she saw fit from Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man to the Beatles to 1950s classics. Saturday mornings we'd wake up at the crack of dawn and clean the house to her favorite albums. The vinyl stuff. I  learned a great deal about pop music from her. Since I was the youngest, I had to also listen to two older sister's favorite selections.

I am sure that many people of my generation and before had parents that were more fascist in their approach to music. And it is quite possible that they would have preferred a crematorium rather than suffer the torture due to their parents warped musical tastes. I am sorry for them. Yet I can't help but feel that must have contributed to their own sense of what appealed to them as teenagers and adults. Its through that exposure that we learned what was awful. Lets face it. If there weren't hideous music around, how could we tell what was good? Also, sometimes bad music can be so bad, its art.

Today, kids are plugged into only their own music and tuned out to anything that isn't placed before them by the media.  If we don't  make them listen to our music, they may suffer. Its what makes us us. What makes our generation so unique. It comes down to learning about our musical heritage.

Roland and I recently decided (unbeknown to Enrique our 14 year old) that we need to make him unplug his earphones and force him to listen to our music.  I am not that cruel really. I will listen and endure his taste in return.  I think it can begin conversations (perhaps even arguments) regarding music. Today, in the car I played Morrissey's album "Years of Refusal." In case you haven't noticed I am on a Morrissey kick right now. Anyway, there was a line from "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" that is, "When I die I want to go to hell." Oliver (my 7 year old) questioned, "Why would anyone want to go to hell?" My response was that perhaps the man singing felt that hell wasn't so bad. Roland suggested it was an odd line because Morrissey wrote it. Oliver's opinion was that it was stupid to want to go to hell. It was a good little conversation that we would not have had if we had not made the kids listen to what we listen to.

I am not against technology. I had my Walkman back in the day and today I have my i phone. Our world is becoming more and more controlled by media. Its important that the next generation know that the world has more to offer them musically.

Therefore, become a music Nazi. Unplug a teenager and make them listen. You will sleep well at night.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Morrissey Tragic Hair Dare

Me, Dublin, Ireland, circa 1990

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of 1980s  androgyny and sexual ambiguity.  And there I was.

I look very sad here. I was not sad, but sometimes we take crappy pictures. Um, or maybe its a crappy hair doo. I have to admit, I thought I was pretty damn cool with my short hair. I have trouble convincing my husband, Roland, that I actually didn't look all that bad. This is really the only picture I can find of me with this hair cut, so not so easy to convince him otherwise.

Anyway, I am trying to get anyone to send me their worst hair picture from a bygone age. This was inspired by Morrissey's picture with long hair. So if you dare to, send a bad hair photo to me to post on this blog. I promise I shall give it all the attention it has been missing for such a long time.C'mon, lets see who can look worse than Morrissey. I think I am winning!.

God! Its finally Easter Break!!Things I am looking forward to:

Writing this blog
Playing guitar. 
Sleeping in (for us sleeping until 8 AM is sleeping in)
Not caring about what I have to do or say the next day
Drinking wine
Planning our summer trip
Being a total hippie

We are going to England this summer and today I looked up Morrissey's tour dates which are only in the North. I don't know if we will be there (in the UK or the North) on the dates available. I was thinking of trying to convince Roland's brother, Duncan, to get a gig  playing at the Hop Farm in Kent (I think). for this festival thing. I will promise to be his roadie!! Except its July 2nd and we have a committment on the 4th or so. Nana and Pops' 50th Wedding Anniversary. After I gave up hope of being Duncan's roadie, I got mixed up and nearly got tickets for the Plymouth gig-I kept thinking it was Portsmith. I mean, it starts with a P and ends with a thhhh..Luckily Roland let me know it wasn't the right place. So, it doesn't look like we will be seeing Moz this time. Again. Not that I'm bitter.

We will be on the Isle of Wight-which also has a music festival that we can NEVER go to because we are still teaching. Anyway, for those that don't know Southern England that well, Portsmith is across the English Channel. 

This will be our first time traveling with our two new sons, Enrique and Miguel. So it should be fun. Its almost like we will be seeing England vicariously for the first time through the boys.
I leave you with Doll and the Kicks rendition of "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris." Its old but new to me. Listen if you like.
Good news: Roland agreed to let his side burns grow out so that I can take his picture and post it on this blog. He suggested that he purchase some gray carpet samples and glue them to the side of his head instead. I like the idea. However, nothing quite like the real thing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Morrissey with Hair

I feel really guilty posting this picture of Morrissey with long hair. If I ever did meet him, he would probably hate me for it. If I can find a scanner somewhere I will post a picture of myself looking just as miserable with very little hair. Just for your entertainment.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why Morrissey?

Good Afternoon!

I am suffering from a severe lack of sleep at the moment. For some odd reason I woke up at 3 in the morning and watched videos and read blogs and old news about Morrissey and The Smiths. I was astounded at how much fans follow his every move. I mean, I loved The Smiths and enjoyed some of Morrissey's solo material. I can't say enjoyed all of it since I haven't heard all of it and I was too busy having a life to really know about any current music. Its beyond my comprehension how fans actually look for someone like him and drive to his house or something. I would just feel so uncomfortable. On the other hand if I were somewhere and just saw him I might faint but I don't know if I would have the nerve to actually say anything to the man.

I have gotten one autograph in my life. It was Andre Agassi. He was at the mall where I worked and I was begged by a friend to get his autograph. Honestly, I just could care less so I did it. He was very pleasant. He had an entourage of these girls follwoing him and shopping with him. (This probably occurred around 1987).

Asking for the autograph of someone  whose work you really like though, is a lot harder. I imagine you'd tell yourself that it was the only time in your life you'd be able to talk to the person.

Then I got to thinking about how a person might get to meet Morrissey without turning into a complete knob and dithering idiot. Unless you are already a celebrity or some higher up in The Business, I can't imagine that you could meet him. Even if you did meet him, he'd be above you. I mean, like he would be the one with the upper hand. I am not sure if that makes sense.

So I thought that it would be fun to embrace the impossibility of meeting Morrissey. I could just write a blog about not meeting him-ever. And somehow I still survive!! I could just write about all the trivial and boring things I do and relate it-or not- to Morrissey.

Well, I am going to try and sleep while Oliver and Miguel create Lego structures. Oliver came in a minute ago and said, "You look tired!" He's right. I think its age too. Age makes you look tired. Perpetually. Make up can only do so much.

Below is a movie of a fan trying to talk to Morrissey. Notice the awkwardness.