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Summer music

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Aug. 3rd, 2011 | 06:58 pm

Well, I guess one of the things I've been doing the last few summers is to take some time to explore pop music. In the summer of 09 it was The Killers. I turned on to them after their most recent album had come out. (I'm always playing catch-up when it comes to pop music: hell, classical music, which is my main thing, is all about history--even when it's the history of modernism, which most people ignore, but that's their fucked-up-ness, not mine.) I bought their back catalog (including a couple of discs I picked up at WalMart--don't tell anybody!). I also managed to find a date on their then-current tour that I was able to make it to. I was glad that I had put the time into learning their songs before I went. One of the songs that made an even more vivid impression live than on the studio recording was their cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay." Following that concert, Joy Division became a research project, and an obsession (as it will). So I rented the Joy Division documentary and the feature film and started reading about them. Every once in a while it has become a necessity to go through both of their albums and my favorite singles and EPs. 

Last summer it seems the thing was to reacquaint myself with The Teardrop Explodes and to catch up with some of what Julian Cope has been up to since. I got sucked into his Krautrock Sampler and set about downloading as many of the albums he mentions as I could get my hands on. I think I found them all, except for maybe one or two. That helped to put Bowie's Berlin period into a broader perspective and also helped me to link ambient with synth pop, especially the darker forms of both of those.

This summer, after listening through my collection of Joy Division and The Teardrop Explodes, I wondered what else might be out there, so I started Googling around and found out about White Lies. From reading reviews (pro and con) and seeing what names the reviewers dropped most often, I found out about Interpol and The Editors. I'm a few years behind the times, but there is evidently a post-punk revival that is still going on.
There must be something wrong with me, but music like this really lifts me up somehow. Maybe part of it is the way it gives direct expression to aspects of myself that I try to keep hidden, so as to keep from bringing other people down (the insufficiently intelligent are so easily upset, after all). And, of course, there is something about the way these guys make being "depressed" or "depressing" (or whatever it is that the common people call it) appear glamorous and sexy. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the front men of all three bands are good looking:

Harry        

So maybe it's nothing more than sublimated sex appeal. I dunno. But seriously, there's something about young men contemplating the darker and more difficult sides of life: it's a little like the British Romantic poets, maybe. Then there are people who say that dark is in fashion when there's a lot of anxiety in the air. I dunno.

Anyway, that's part of what I did this summer. :-)


Peace,

ak










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