Letters from Freecloud: Reaching the End

YearEnd Reflections

We’ve reached the end of 2004. A year that saw as many wild times and boring moments endured as any year previous and any year to come. Many of those who are sadly obsessed with their own lifetimes will try to deify this year as the most extraordinary three hundred and sixty five days ever to fall off of a wall calendar and float dramatically to the ground. But what I figured out some time ago is that the years don’t really change. Just as much retarded shit happened in 1904 as 2004 and if you have any relatives who were around close to then they’ll tell you so. No dear hearts, it’s not the years that change but rather us as individuals who grow during the spinning of the planet. And I learned something very important about myself this year as it relates to the hobby that the fine folks in this zone share:

I haven’t the slightest idea what’s going on with popular music anymore.

As a chld I always wondered how this happened to a person. I used to live with my grandfather, when he would take my sister and I to school every morning he would have his radio tuned to the oldies station. Mind you, this was the late eighties and early nineties so oldies were classified as anything recorded before the disco era. I used to sit in the back seat and think about what might have happened that caused him not to want to follow popular music anymore. At the same time I was also convinced that I would have fun playing with Transformers and He-Man toys for the rest of my life, and I couldn’t understand why adults didn’t walk around carrying whatever doll or action figures made them happy as a child.

I couldn’t forsee that, as my mind would develop, I would need more stimulating projects to occupy my time. I also never imagined that my attention span would be so derailed by my fascinations with my own genitals, those of every girl in school and those irreverently displayed on Cinemax.

So now we approach 2005 and I’m forced to look into the eyes of my own alienation. What happened with my grandfather’s tastes and what happened with my own love of action figures has happened with my own taste in music. Albeit to a higher degree. The difference with this cycle of detachment has been its duration and permanence. Add to that the fact that it was a conscious decision.

I made a pro-active choice some time in high school to start f*cking with the “underground” to make me happy since I could see that those in charge of marketing popular music had no more interest in my money. And that’s pretty much what it came down to: the moment I realized that I was no longer part of the mainstream audience. When the drugs that sedated most of my peer group just didn’t do it for me anymore, I started to get the feeling that I was no longer one of the “kids”.

So rather than follow the charts I began to follow the music. Which led me into all sorts of different sub-culture cubby holes of like-minded deviants. And as I play Punxatawney Phil and take a glance out of my own nook this year, I see list after list of top albums and best new artists and mainstream emergences of bands and performers that I have never heard of. It’s one thing to have sampled all of the wines on the list so you know full well which ones get your mojo going and which ones make your teeth hurt. But when I look at the top-selling albums this year, or even magazine editor’s choices for records of the year, I find myself only having heard eight or nine out of a hundred. Pretty sad for a music columnist, hunh? Could it be that I’ve buried myself so deeply in the comfort zone of my own tastes that I’m letting all sorts of new goodies pass me by? I don’t know. But I do know that I like that new band Modest Mouse … that’s their name right?



I just listened to their Good News record….

…they sound like a Flaming Lips/XTC MTV Mashup. Except that the vocals are weak and the arrangements are boring…

…no thank you, I say…no thank you.

looks like six more weeks of winter.