Friday, February 27, 2004

There's a free Enegram test I just took, according to which I'm a 5w6 or 9w1, but the test says it can't determine my personality :/ The story of my life. Not really, but that's my favourite phrase of the moment.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

For no real reason, let me list the albums in Rolling Stone's list that I haven't listened to, in the top 40 (I could do the top 100, but that would take too long, because I haven't heard as many "great" albums as I think, apparently):

#2. Pet Sounds - Wow, a glaring omission from any collection, huh? I guess the reason I haven't got this yet is because I've listened to quite a few of the songs off a greatest hits collection, and so in some ways it seems a bit wasteful to buy the whole album. Of course, it also has to do with the fact that I haven't been able to find it!

#6. What's Going On - Like most people, I have heard What's Going On the song, but I've never really been pushed in the direction of Marvin Gaye's music. R&B isn't really my thing anyway. But let's see.

#11. Elvis Presley - The Sun Sessions - Ahh I don't know, I appreciate the impact that the king has had on rock and roll, but I don't see myself listening to his music. I suppose that makes me ignorant and snobby, but there you go.

#12. Kind Of Blue - Probably too intellectual for me, because I just don't get jazz. Maybe when I'm older!

#15. Are You Experienced? - A surprising exclusion, no? No real reason for not listening to this, but I think I will listen to it soon. After all, it is Hendrix we're talking about. Even if he may be a tad overrated, I think it's probably everyone's duty to hear him at some point in time.

#17. Nevermind - From what I've read, the most overrated album of the '90s. I'm skeptical of it being among the 20 greatest albums ever, but who knows? Teen Spirit isn't too bad, but it's not exactly a masterpiece (of course, I'm sure there's more to the album that one song) I might give this a listen sometime, if I'm feeling particularly bored.

#18. Born To Run - Supposedly Springsteen's best according to some, but according to others it's quite pitiful. The tricky thing is, most reviewers from the US will probably praise it to the high heavens as the best representation of American music or something, so it's important to try and get an objective review on the album. I'll try to get into Bruce's catalogue a bit more before I consider buying this album.

#21. The Great Twenty Eight - See #11

#23. Innervisions - Same sort of deal as #6.

#24. Live At The Apollo, October 24, 1962 - Soul just ain't my thing, ya know?

#27. King Of The Delta Blues Singers - Same sort of deal as #24.

#30. Blue - Mmm I really ought to listen to Joni Mitchell soon, although from what I've read, this isn't really her best album, it's just the most famous of her catalogue, her Plastic Ono Band as it were. One more on the "to listen to" list I guess.

#33. The Ramones - High expectations for this one, but I only hope I don't get disappointed like I did with London Calling.

#34. Music From Big Pink - I've heard Stage Fright, and I'd give it maybe 3-3.5 stars, so while I'm not really looking out for this, I guess I ought to listen to it just for the importance it hadd.

#36. Tapestry - See #23.

#38. Muddy Waters The Anthology: 1947 - 1972 - Guess?

#40. Forever Changes - Probably gruesomely overrated, but I'm going to give it a shot soon anyway.

Wow, 17 out of 40, that's almost 50%! I've got some serious listening to do before I'm considered a true rock afficionado, eh? (only half-serious)
I'm a bit late to the game with Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums Of All Time List, it would seem. There appears to be lots of debate already about why the list is bad, why Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band is rot, why Rolling Stone is irrelevant, and all that jazz. But anyway, here goes nothing. I probably sound like an old bogey stuck in the past. Of course, that's hardly possible, given that I wasn't born to see either the 60s or 70s. And, right up front, the disclaimer - I'm not as well versed with current music as I am with music of days gone by.

One of the chief complaints is that the list is heavily skewed towards albums from the '60s and the '70s. It's easy to see that the top 100 is occupied by virtually only stuff from this era, so it seems like there's a valid issue here. But here's the problem - was the music from the era really better than music of this day and age? The answer, of course, is "Define 'better'". As George Starostin put it, it is possible to be objective when reviewing music (or art, for that matter), provided we define a set of criteria that are subjectively chosen. I like that argument, I really do. So what does that mean? Essentially, what most of us eventually agree upon - that "top 100" lists are, at the end of the day, pointless. You may rank Trout Mask Replica #1 because you value how Beefheart didn't give a damn about music conventions, and because you see sanity among the madness. Yet I can just as well rank any of the early Beatles albums #1 because I value pop-hooks and melodies. Different criteria, different results.

Of course, the issue of "which criteria is best" is a bit facetious, because you can't really say that any one intelligently chosen set is better than the other. When I say "intelligently chosen", I don't mean a set that conforms to my own views - it's a set of criteria which are logical to judge music by. If I were to make my top 100 list based on how many instruments were used on the album, it wouldn't be a particularly intelligent criteria. Sure, I could do it, and have a whale of a time. For that matter, I could judge albums based on how long the opening track is. It's just that such lists couldn't be taken seriously at all. But by combining different criteria, and considering each of them, I suppose one can try to appease everyone in some way. Having said that then, it should follow that one can't really make a definite pronouncement on the list without first trying to see what the people who created it look for in an album. Historical importance? Complexity? Listenability? Rather, it would seem that the big issue is over what these criteria were. It seems that this argument is a bit futile, because if you want to define a 'great' album, you're defining it using your own interpretation of greatness.

But on to the matter of music of the past vs. music of the present. How is it better (i.e. by what criteria is it better)? Let me count the ways. The biggest problem with rock today is that there isn't really too much originality. It all seems to be a rehash of the stuff that the "rock legends" did 30 odd years ago. But the problem here is that there's only so much that you can accomplish with rock music - and sadly, it would appear that the limit is reached. It isn't likely that there will be anything revolutionary like there was back in the day. Sure, you have new genres popping up everyday, like nu-metal and God knows what else, but it doesn't seem like they will take us anywhere substantially new. The well of ideas has run dry. Rock, as I see it, is dead, in that it can't radically redefine itself anymore, at least not in a way that is interesting (but that's subjective, so I mean of course interesting to me).

Related to that is I suppose influence. There are a lot of excellent genre-defining albums, but then again you have albums that actually transcend such details and influence the whole of rock music. Case in point, Dylan's early works, which showed that rock music needn't have banal lyrics to "work", and that artists could actually express themselves in a way other than their instruments. Sgt. Pepper showed once and for all that rock music could be taken seriously. Of course, there are positive and negative influences - Zeppelin inadvertantly inspired hordes of uninspired heavy metal bands, although they themselves weren't a bad band. I don't think music of the last few years has seen any major influential albums that affect the whole of rock music - usually they're only genre-influencing efforts (which are still commendable).

But surely just originality and influence isn't reason enough for Sgt. Pepper and friends to be "better" than ? I don't know, it's hard to pin down why I think it is the case. Albums like that, they were wildly original and creative and, dare I say it, they make you believe that the artist is a genius. Albums like that were, probably for a multitude of reason, interesting. Not that any album from the 60s is better than a current album, of course - I'm restricting the discussion to nice/good/very good albums of the 60s. It just doesn't seem like you're going to be able to get another concept album like Days Of Future Passed, a confessional Plastic Ono Band, an insane Velvet Underground. Of course, I mean that I don't think we will get any of these things in a way that interests me. What's missing? I don't know. A lot of things, I guess, but I just don't know. All things considered, your tastes are as good as mine - it's just the little issue of past vs. present that I often worry about, because there's only so much music that was made in those times; and soon, it will run out for me.

I guess I just wasn't made for these times.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The net seems to be abound with people writing their own poetry. Not really, but I have seen more than one blogger write some confessional poem, and for some reason, all these poems strike me as odd. I don't know, perhaps it's because the people writing them aren't poets (duh), but the imagery, the rhyme, it all seems so..calculated? Like I said, I really don't know.

Outside, where the cold breeze blows down
The hat of the eyeless king,
The black sky eats the moon whole
As the dark voices sing

What was that, you may ask. I don't rightly know. Ahh but it's poetic, that's for sure. I do believe I purposely try to go for spur of the moment things, just so that I can convince myself that I could come up with something better if I put my mind to it. But I think that's just wishful thinking; don't you?
I've finally made a program (in C#, my new favourite language) that allows me to order files/folders for burning on a CD quite conveniently. All you have to do is tell it the folder you're interested in, and then you just manipulate the list of files/folders to your liking, and the program inserts the numbers at the start for you. All this with a usable GUI to boot. Not too shabby for a few day's worth of coding.

The GUI aspect is actually probably the reason why, for me, Java is my second choice. Java's standard library is a bit more mature than the .Net framework library, which is of course a very good thing, but when it comes to designing the GUI, it's no contest between hand-coding and using the Windows forms designer. An unfair contest, sure - I should really compare a Java GUI designer, shouldn't I? But the .Net designer is already there, nicely integrated into the IDE, whereas for Java I have to go searching and see which one I like and..other stuff that will take me, oh, I don't know, a few minutes. Laziness is a powerful force, my friends (as is ignorance, and I think I've demonstrated both).

But on a darker note, let's talk about the Velvet Undeground's White Light/White Heat, whose album cover I think inspired my current black & white site design. Actually, there's nothing dark about it, but it's truly awful, except for The Gift, which is at least interesting, even if it isn't a masterpiece or anything. Speaking of masterpieces, let's not speak of Reed's supposed masterpiece, Sister Ray. It starts off nice enough, but then it's 17 minutes of pain. It's quite clear that VU decided that they wanted to get everyone's attention with this album - lyrically, Reed's getting a bit less subtle, and musically it seems to be descending into chaos. Whereas the first album had some good melodies, which managed to keep my attention, this one just sounds like noise (ouch, that's a bit harsh, eh?). No soft ballads, of course, but the songs don't even have the creepy atmosphere of other numbers (like Venus In Furs, with that Indian-sounding viola). Of course, you might say, "Well, what did you expect - they're an avant-garde group. What, you want them to be wildly experimental and have tons of lovely melodies?". A valid point, but yeah.

Don't you love subjective music reviews? I know I do.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Hoho, I don't get Lou Reed. In 1976, he apparently claimed Dylan's worth was "two, maybe three songs", and that "It’s unfortunate for Dylan that studio techniques have improved to the point that it’s very hard for him to conceal any longer how musically bad he is". Sigh. I really don't get it - has he heard himself on any of his albums? He's..he's imitating Dylan perfectly. Does he seriously not recognize that? For some reason, I find it so funny when he does some songs, probably because I can predict exactly which words he's going to stress and accentuate. Truly amazing.

There's more, of course. He said Van Morrison only had one good song (Madame George, off Astral Weeks), and that while Neil Young was a good guitarist, his lyrics were "so stupid … so West Coast dumb". Mr. Reed, really. Heh, he sure seems like the atypical heartless so and so, but unfortunately some of his stuff is really good. If he was implying that he was better than the rest of them, though, I'd have to disagree. No doubt he was good, but rock 'n roll messiah he was not.

Of course, just because he imitates Dylan doesn't mean that it's hypocritical for him to dismiss Dylan. But it isn't in very good taste, that's for sure. And what's more, it seems a bit facetious, and purposely controversial. Perhaps if it were an artist of lesser repute, but Dylan? Nah, you have to provide some substantial reason to be taken seriously and not look like a total jerk. Then again, maybe he just wanted to get a few kicks. After all, he did have his "bad boy" image to preserve.

It also seems that Reed isn't the only one who isn't gaga over Dylan - fellow Velvet Underground bandmate Sterling Morrison confesses that he is a "Dylan hater". Sterling also thinks rock music isn't meant to be listened to for the lyrics, which is actually quite interesting. Maybe I'll write about that later on. There must be something about that band, eh? Yet their first album is so good..shucks, the inconsistencies are maddening. Not that I'd bash VU if they were really bad , of course.

It would appear that he changed his mind before he appeared on Dylan's 30th Anniversary concert celebration though, when he perfomed a hard-rocking version of Foot Of Pride. I wonder what would've happened backstage on that day...

An old saying that goes with the first VU album is that virtually no one heard it, but whoever did formed a band. After reading that and listening to the album, there's no way that you can't think the same thing! There probably isn't a weak song in the darn thing, actually, except of course the disastrous European Son. But otherwise, it's got it all - dark lyrics, creepy violas, eastern & German influences, and Dylan imitations! Heh couldn't resist that last one. But it's a seriously good album, and probably a must-have in any rock fan's collection - the sound is rather unique. After all this talk about Reed, I am a bit miffed with the band, but I forgive them.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Huh. Apparently, Tweeter And The Monkey Man, Dylan's composition on The Travelling Wilburys Vol. 1, is a Bruce Springsteen parody. I never would've guessed it. Poor Bruce. I guess he is sort of a Dylan imitator (but who isn't, darn it?!), and sometimes he does over-do the whole working class person persona, and for that he seems to get a lot of slack. I hope Bruce was okay with the whole thing - imagine your hero mocking you, it ain't pleasant. And what about Lou Reed? His intonation seems to be strongly influenced by Dylan, but you don't see anyone mocking him. Reed apparently once said "Dylan gets on my nerves. If you were at a party with him, I think you’d tell him to shut up". Ahhh what're you going to do.

Speaking of parodies, Syd Barrett recorded a song called "Bob Dylan's Blues", mocking Bob Dylan. Typical Barrett rot, it sounds like (actually, I've never heard any of his work, so that was a joke).
I've found another purpose for the blog - giving me some sense of time. "And now people just get uglier / And I have no sense of time", as it were. It just doesn't feel right that my last post was a week ago; truly, I'm actually disturbed that a week can go so fast. Of course, let's see my take on that once I have to go to university again, eh?

I bit the bullet and signed up at Rate Your Music, where I've proceeded to pointlessly muse about my music. Actually, it isn't altogether pointless. The "reviews" (synopses is probably a better word) aren't objective at all, and are more my personal reaction to the music, which of course just makes it another opinion. But that isn't all that bad, really. For one, it's an interesting document of my tastes at this particular time. Given that a couple of years ago, I hadn't heard a single rock album, who knows what the future will bring? Also, if someone else happens to share similar tastes, maybe my lists will help him/her on the path to finding new, interesting music. Stranger things have happened.

It's actually quite strange that up until last year, I didn't know more than a handful of 60s and 70s bands, yet now my life seems to revolve around them. But what's even stranger, of course, is that of late, I've been contemplating the imminent end of old bands to listen to. I suppose a lot of stuff I listened to early on, I didn't really listen to - I just gave it one listen, and then selected my favourite songs and moved on. I guess there's a considerable backlog of sorts that's still available to me.

Do dreams mean anything? They probably do, but I wonder whether the conventional analysis of dreams is accurate in general. My dreams don't seem very profound though, certainly not built around symbols or the like. They're usually quite specific, and usually involve other people. I wonder what that says about me.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

The problem with this is a genuine lack of focus, and a failure to actually explore issues and ideas. That's what it should be about, I think, if it's to be interesting to anyone, including me! After all, I should be able to get a kick out of reading this stuff 10 years from now. Assuming the internet hasn't been replaced by a talking Welshman. But that's another story for another day.

Random musings are fun, but still, need a bit more thought to become something really worthwhile. Hoo boy, this is the start of something big..I can feel it. Can you?
Blogs with actual purpose and clear intent are no fun at all. Actually, they're probably the reason blogs haven't been widely condemned as the final nail in the coffin of civilization. I cry for the child who is born in the world filled with blogs like mine. And you have to be more than a bit bored to read random (i.e. you don't know the person behind the blog) blogs that are delicious spur of the moment postings (guilty, as charged). But I still get a particuarly indescribable feeling when I read such a blog. 25% jealousy, no doubt, since I can't hope to create anything nearly as focussed as some of the stuff out of there. Of course, I have something they don't. And when I unleash the it's full power..!

If we talk about what I really don't like though, as opposed to feeling something indescribable, then I don't like personal blogs. As in blogs that recount pretty much every little event in someone's life. Why? It's no fun! Of course, it's probably not meant to be read by randoms, it's meant for people who actually know the blogger. And at the end of the day, they probably have a larger reading base than I do, despite my superior ability to mould disjointed ideas into something truly hellish (this blog, of course!). Which, in effect, leaves me the loser of the whole battle. And what a battle it has been. But I'm not quite through expanding this blog in strange new ways. Far from it, actually. It's such an artistic challenge, you know, redefining the very nature of the blog; it's something I really have to work towards.

Ah, that was inspiring. Not to you, perhaps, but to me. Replacing inspiring with insipid of course. Did you catch that witty remark? It was witty, you must hand me that! Ahh the life of an Englishman. I wonder what it's like.

It's strange how sometimes life is a lot like a bowl of fruits. If you keep eating, you get sick.

What's stranger, and far more disturbing, is how often a blog is published. So many people, and yet do we have that much to say? The answer, of course, is yes.
Nope, it ain't what I was thinking of. My melody is a lot faster, but even if you slowed it down, it's not quite what Yes have got. At last, time to spread my unique brand of hobo rock!
It's time for more pointless stories. A little over a year ago, I heard the album Close To The Edge by Yes. My initial impression lay slap bang on that lovely zone between indifference and dislike. I couldn't really remember anything about the album a few weeks after hearing it, except perhaps the general length of each of the three songs. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I saw the album again when flipping though CDs, and happened to see the track listing at the back. And You And I. It didn't really ring any bells - it's pretty safe to say I would have no chance whatsoever of humming the melody (let alone those spacey lyrics). And I moved on, flipping through other CDs.

But then, a couple of days ago, I got this melody in my head. A somewhat catchy one, and really, far too catchy for it to be something I made up myself. I tried searching through my mind to put some lyrics against this melody to see if anything fit. After a bit of thinking, what do you think fit? Why, And You And I, of course!

If it really is the melody to the song, then it proves my brain is able to retain the most random things for extended periods of time (well, a year ain't too long, but it's long enough I think). I mean, I didn't even like this song, and yet the melody is stuck in my head? That doesn't sound too odd, I know, but for some reason, it just is. I wonder what else I've got stored up there.

If it isn't, then there's the chance I've created a fantastic melody of my own, in which case I have a bright future ahead of me. Or of course, it's some other poor song, forever lost in the mists of time.

I'm listening to the album right now, so sit tight.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Lennon's Plastic Ono Band is simply one of the best albums I've heard - it's truly amazing. It was one of the first albums that made me realize that individual songs aren't everything, and that an album can really be holistic - the feel of the album is much more important that individual songs. Of course, having said that, some of the songs are really something else. Have you ever heard any song as powerful as Mother, really? The ending, where Lennon screams "Mama don't go/Daddy come home" again and again, till it seems he's going to burst his vocal cords or something is amazing; if I were in the mood I'm sure it would drive me to tears.

I find the album to be quite consistent, and it manages to keep the overall mood quite well. Sure, there is a bit of filler, and I wouldn't say it's a perfect album (then again, what is?), but as far as atmosphere goes, it really has to be up there among the cream of the crop. I can't really think of any other album that's so direct and confessional. For all his genius, not even the man (Dylan, of course!) made anything like this. Sure, Blood On The Tracks was confessional and beautiful, but not really as harrowing, as explicitly straightforward. Lennon really breaks down the barrier between himself and the listener - he's not dressing his emotion with poetry, he's just telling you, bluntly, what he feels. Of course, not that Dylan's style is inferior. The poetic approach he takes is beautiful too, just in a different way - Tangled Up Blue, anyone? It's silly to compare these two albums - one's not "better", they're just different. (Of course, Lennon made it clear that "I don't believe in Zimmerman"..!) Neil Young's Tonight's The Night, perhaps? I haven't heard it in a while, but I still think Lennon has it beat. Interestingly enough, all three albums I've mentioned here are concerned with an artist "bleeding on record" as it were, although in different ways.

I wonder what it must have been like being a Beatles fan and having to listen to stuff like

"I used to be the dreammaker
But now I'm reborn
I used to be the walrus
But now I'm John
And so dear friends,
You just have to carry on,
The dream is over"
(from "God")

Imagine hearing your idol saying stuff like this! Lennon really didn't pull any punches, but simply told the fans what he felt, and left them to grapple with the situation. This album was, incidentally, one of the first examples I found of catharsis through art, where Lennon uses his scream therapy and brutal honesty to heal his wounds, thereby leaving the listeners with an unconventional listen. An interesting concept, to be sure.

It's unfortunate on the one hand that Lennon never really made anything as powerful after this, but on the other hand, I guess that gives this album a certain uniqueness that only adds to the appeal. Another unfortunate thing is that the bonus tracks are hopelessly out of place - they just don't fit in at all with the atmosphere of the album, and as such are just distracting. I'm tempted to say they're inferior tracks by themselves, but I can't tell whether that's just because I'm miffed that they included them on the album.

It's really hard to say anything about the album without rehashing the words "powerful", "honest", and "confessional", but there you go. I'm not too happy about making "Top X" lists (actually, I love thinking about "Top X" lists, but I feel like I've cheapened the albums afterwards), but this album certainly is something else, and would probably be in my top 5 in such a list. In other words, hear it now!

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Frivolous lawsuits are one of those rare things that make my blood boil, but at the same time, cause me to laugh uncontrollably. You really have to wonder about these people..I mean, really..

Sunday, February 08, 2004

It's funny how my mind works. If the majority of people do something, and I haven't done it previously, then I automatically eschew it, probably out of a desire to be non-conformist. I know, that's non-conformist in a conformist way, but that ain't the point. But then if something gets me really interested in that thing, I completely reverse my position and embrace it, totally ignoring any past feelings towards it. That make any sense?

Anyway, that's how it goes with the guitar. Quite a few programmers seem to play it, and I always used to look on it much like I did anime - a silly fad that programmers pursue in order to "fit in" or something - sort of a test of whether you're a nerd or something. Of course I'd like to think I didn't bunch all such people as falling into this trap - there would obviously be those that did it out of an actual interest. Yet I was quite convinced that there were those who did it because they saw so many other programmers doing it (note I'm completely confining this example to the programming community - everyone else is excluded from this little analysis). But now that I've started learning..! The same comments I once viewed with wry amusement I now see with sycophantic admiration. Truly, there is not a fool as big as me. Ironically enough, I've probably started sub-consciously for the same reason those others did - to follow the herd.

How interesting it is to analyse the psyche of a fool!

Friday, February 06, 2004

I just read an article about the explosion of musical genres based off pre-existing genres. That got me thinking into creating my own genre. What have I come up with? Hobo rock! I think it should features tales of hobos in any way imaginable, but more importantly, the lead singer of a hobo rock group should be a hobo. If he's a singer, doesn't that mean he isn't a hobo anymore though? I can tell that this has a lot of potential, artistically and philosophically.
It's of some interest to me that, despite programming for something like 5-6 years, I don't have a lot to show for it. Lots of half-attempts that have invariably been forgotten, and the occasional "good" app, but on the whole, it's really quite slim. Looking through other techie websites, one is bound to see a huge list of projects - not necessarily useful programs, but at least in some way interesting, or at the very least complicated. I doubt 95% of these people will have spent more years on it than I have - rather, I'll wager that 95% of them have spent how many years they have been programming on actually learning new things and putting them to practise. I seem to be perpetually stuck in a rut, not learning new concepts, but at the same time not struggling with small-medium size projects.

The point about not struggling is a little important, because it means that ultimately my final product is not really a marvel of software design, but is largely functional. Since I don't struggle to do it, I don't find the incentive to really buckle down and think it through.

My list of achievements? Hmm, let's see:

  • A driving test simulator - horribly designed, but my first "real" program

  • A tetris clone - not very well designed, but my first "complicated" program (relative to stuff like "Hello world", not shortest paths on dicyclic graph programs)

  • A Pacman clone - a bit better designed, but a little incomplete - still, largely the "breakthrough" program, from newbie to mediocrity

  • A shepherding simulator - perhaps my best program to date!

  • A Magic database program - AKA how not to program!

  • My music catalogue program I just finished - perhaps my second best program

  • The one I just did, the webpage update checker - trivial, but it does something..

So there ya have it folks. 6 years, 7 "real" programs. I feel so small.

It's really terrible to be an experienced but mediocre programmer.
Remember that program I mentioned last time? The one that checks for web page updates? Sure you do! Well, turns out it's finished! More or less, anyway. Nothing too fancy really, but it does do something. The unfortunate part is, unless I can write my own HTML rendering engine (an exercise in masochism I'm not too keen on pursuing), the program checks the entire body of a website when looking for updates. It would be nice if it could be told which bits to check, but I guess that's what you get from being too lazy to do anything halfway complicated.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

I'm making a program that checks whether there are any updates to a webpage. Why, you ask? Well, why not, darn it? I mean, I have to do something to fill up time, and ever since I made a program interface with the internet, there's been no turning back! Well, not really, but that sounds quite dramatic. I must confess that this post is a sham, intended merely to check whether the program works. If it doesn't, well..

Sunday, February 01, 2004

I don't hear music by new artists very much. I hear new albums by old artists, but neither old nor new stuff by new artists. Why? I'm not sure; perhaps I've become disillusioned by what I hear on the radio or on TV or whatever. I think that's only part of it, though, because I feel I automatically shut out new music as "bad" because it makes me feel superior somehow; as though by listening to the oldies, who are automatically better, I'm more refined blah blah. If so, I'm pretty screwed up, huh?

Anyway, Nick Cave's Murder that's something. I like such morbid concepts as having an album about, funnily enough, murder ballads (who would've guessed), although in moderation. It would have to be the best album by a new (post 1980s)artist I've heard - but hey, the competition pretty much comprises of a few Michael Jackson albums, so that doesn't exactly say a whole lot.

It's interesting that the stuff on here is probably more affecting and emotional than what you get on your average death metal record. It would be wrong to come into the album with the mindset that it's typical nihilistic stuff about killing people. Cave offers both sides of the act of murder, the victim and the murderer himself. The opener, Song Of Joy, pretty much lets you know what you're in for - grim tales of horrid acts, leaving you wondering what future is there for man. Well, not quite, but to a degree.

Songs like The Curse Of Millhaven are really something else, what with lines like "Sooner or later we all gotta die" - the logical conclusion to the narrator therefore being that you may as well die now than wait for death to come to you. Morbid, but at least it has atmosphere.

I wonder how this stacks up against Tom Wait's Bone Machine? The latter is of course more about death than murder, but obviously there is a certain degree of overlap in the two topics.