I'm On a Bus With Internet, So I'm Going To List My Top Five Albums of All Time.
(I apologize for awkward spacing/typos/grammatical errors because this bus is bumpy and I’m sleepy)
1.Get Lonely- The Mountain Goats.
This was one of the most important albums for me last summer. John Darnielle understands what it’s like to truly be lonely. His songs have a painful awareness of the failings of the human body, but also its transcendence. A line from Isaiah 45:23 from The Life of the World to Come (kind of cheating by mentioning another great album) really illustrates this, “I’m more than this body that imprisons me.” I go through phases with Mountain Goats albums, but this particular one brings me to tears, as he unfolds a story of not necessarily heartbreak, but the aftermath of desolation. Something that I feel adds much more to his ability to convey such melancholy is that he is also exceptionally funny. He is one of my favorite people to follow on twitter, and has a strange posse of the bizarre that surrounds him in crazy twitter accounts.
2.Loveless- My Bloody Valentine
I met a boy that was a friend of a friend on Halloween, when I was wearing a David Bowie costume. We were discussing music, when he told me to listen to My Bloody Valentine. I had them on my ipod, but I hadn’t bothered listening to them because I couldn’t get past their name. I was living under the horribly false assumption that they were some emo band (here I am, showing the holes in my music knowledge). I quickly fell into them, and they held me for months, where on my long walks to class, I’d listen to the entire album every day. I always describe them as the musical equivalent of kudzu. Their lyrics are often indecipherable, and they kind of envelop your consciousness with a hazy glow. I wish I hadn’t lost track of that kid, because he introduced me to a life-changing album.
3.High Violet- The National
I can’t even begin to describe how important this album is to me. I’ve listened through it a couple times a month for over a year. I remember reading something that someone wrote about Matt Berninger having an “avalanche of a voice.” It’s killing me that I can’t remember who said that, because it so perfectly expresses how I feel about The National. Really, the album is also an avalanche, crashing down from above, and sweeping you up, simultaneously crushing and fortifying you.
4.The Best of- Leonard Cohen I’ve mentioned this somewhere before, but what makes this album incredible is that it was released in 1975. And he is still coming out with new albums almost forty years later. This is a collection of some of my favorite of his songs ever. The harmonies in his older music destroys me, and there is a key change in So Long Marianne has the effect of flying down a rollercoaster—a sort of reckless euphoria.
5.XO- Elliott Smith
Elliott Smith had to make this list. I oscillate between having this and Figure 8 being my favorite of his albums. He is another person who has key changes that make my stomach drop. I have to compare the chorus of Sweet Adeline to a torrent of water running down a glass window. At the risk of sounding exceptionally crazy, I remember listening to this album and trying to visualize the colors that each song evoked (I swear to god I’m not on drugs. I guess I don’t feel like I need them). The beautiful swell of layers in Tomorrow Tomorrow, the awareness of Waltz #2 (X0)- “Here it is ,the revenge to the tune, … Personally, I feel that this album is a bit front-loaded—the first half is really my favorite, but that’s just because it’s so incredible. The “weaker” songs would be gems for most other artists.
New York has been a sweaty (I guess I brought a heat wave with me) and wonderful visit so far! My friend Veronica lives in Manhattan, and the constant feeling of being part of a large mass, even while indoors, is overwhelming in the best way! She lives right by Columbus Circle, and there is this insistant awareness of, well, life.
I also got to visit my friend in Brooklyn today (yo Carolyn!), and she has the best cat. Ever. She is shaved like a lion, and has a little tummy that hangs low to the ground, which her nubby little legs delicately tap as she walks. I call her “space cat.” It was fun to get to see Williamsburg (insert terrible jokes about Virginia colonial reenactments here) from the perspective of someone who actually lives there. She has a lovely life there with her boyfriend, and the interior of her apartment looks like it belongs in a magazine for minimalist design.
We took an excursion to Chelsea, and I had Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” stuck in my head. After a while, I was kind of exhausted, and started mumbling stuff about her cat being awesome every five minutes. I really appreciated Carolyn’s endless patience with my indecisive sleepy state— it took me approximately twenty minutes to decide if I wanted to buy an apple.
A couple hours (and one Red Bull) later, I made it back to Veronica’s without getting lost (which is a miracle for me, seeing as my inner compass was probably magnetized at birth). We went to a place called Poisson Rouge to see a band that I really like, called Yellow Ostrich, perform. I was so excited, that all I could do was kind of wiggle like a puppy getting its belly scratched! We had to get there early, because they were the opening act. It was a really fun show, and I was terribly happy to hear them play their song “Whale.” Veronica wanted to get a picture with them at the merch table, but I got too excited, and ran away (a recurring theme in my life).
After the concert, Veronica and I were crossing a street to get to a subway, when a hunched-over old lady must have felt that I was crossing at a dangerous moment. She told me, “Stop. We need you.” I would have liked to ask her what for.
Anthropology of Webcomics on Twitter (Not Really).
I follow a lot of webcomic artists and Something Awful types on Twitter (I know, talking about Twitter on Tumblr, leave me alone) , and something that I’ve noticed is that instead of telling one-liners, they have a more fluid way of imparting humor (that sounds awkward, but they aren’t really telling jokes, and I don’t know what else to call it) where they set up bizarre almost stream of conscious scenarios. It’s almost as if they are trying to set up a scenario than a punchline. It really interests me as someone who likes more situation humor. It’s like Steve Martin talking about how he just does a set-up in his stand-up, and never offers a release in the form of a punch-line. However, there does seem to be a fine line between creating a sort of atmospheric humor and just spewing gibberish. You’ll have people who tweet like horse_ebooks, forgetting that said twitter account’s charm lies in the fact that it’s a spambot. It’s mere existence is what makes it fantastic, versus a living human tweeting random words. I feel like I’m writing an anthropology essay here. Anyways, Twitter.
When I was really little, my family lived in Florida, where cockroaches were impossible to escape. When I think of my former home, I do not think of oranges— I think of snakes, terrifying bugs, lizards, and alligators. I remember going to the mall with my family, where an exterminator company was putting on an exhibition (which in itself is bizarre, but wait, there’s more!), and had a tiny race track set up under a glass cage. Little cockroaches with colorful stripes were in a jar, and passerby were told to choose one to sponsor. I chose the cockroach with the green stripe, and watched as a man dumped the jar onto the track. The cockroaches kind of stood in a mass, and then wandered around. Mine happened to skitter to the finish line, and the man in charge jokingly said that I got to keep the cockroach. I think I almost started to cry, when he gave me my real prize— a giant inflatable cockroach pool float. It was highly realistic and terrifying. After my family got home, my dad inflated the giant roach with an air mattress pump. As soon as it was full of air, my brothers and I jumped on it, immediately squashing it.
My older brother does screen-printing stuff, and a little while back, he made Night of the Living Dead shirts for my brothers and me. People don’t seem to like this shirt. One time, I heard a little boy say, “Her shirt is scary.” Another time, I heard a man say, “Oh that’s attractive” in a tone of voice that led me to believe he meant the opposite. A friend said, “Ew.” All I can figure is that people be jealous.