Monday, April 26, 2010

And Now a Word from Julie Andrews

Consider yourselves lucky because I was about this close to embedding a video of Julie Andrews belting out "A Few of My Favorite Things," but I vomited up my lower intestine in the process. While I always like to see how far I can push all of you before you come running with pitchforks and torches, that was a bit much, even for me.
But there really is a reason for this treacley trip into pure falseness, I swear. See, I’ve been pondering the notion of favorites lately. While on a recent Dostoevsky binge I pretty much cemented what I’ve always kinda subconsciously known: dude’s probably my favorite writer and The Brothers Karamazov is probably my favorite book. Probably. For right now.
I’ve never been the kind of person who has a favorite band or favorite song. In fact, sitting here typing this right now I couldn’t tell you what my favorite band is. Napalm Death? I own more albums by them than anyone else in my collection. Discordance Axis? Certainly one of my most played. Dead Kennedys? Probably been consistently listening to them longer than anyone else.
But I can’t seem to pin it down because my mood will shift and I'll go endlessly listen to something else instead. I recently destroyed Who's My Saviour for about three weeks straight. That seems to be the key. I have a lot of favorite bands and a ton of favorite songs. It just depends on what mood you catch me in. So dragging together 20 or so of my favorite songs into a bizarre musical biography for shits and giggles, I was struck by what those moods say about me. First, I realize just how much of a sucker I am for songs with high, piercing, ringing guitar tones in them. (Note to bands who ask for reviews: I’m a sucker for high, piercing, ringing guitars tones; include those in your song and I’ll probably drool over myself writing a review.)
That wasn’t much of a surprise, but the emotional content of those songs. I consider myself a fairly phlegmatic person; not much ever really bothers me. So why do so many of my favorite songs deal with anxiety, unease, confusion and dislocation. Based on this playlist, it’s like I’m some moody Twilight emo boy. Pink Floyd’s tempus fugit anthem “Time,” Jesu’s anxiety-riddled “Tired of Me” and the Weakerthan’s charmingly awkward “This is a Fire Door Never Leave Open” don’t do much to bolster my self-image. Even Bad Religion’s fuck the world fireball “Do What You Want” smacks of overcompensating bravado now. Then there’s the moments of transcendent beauty: close your eyes when Anneke van Giersbergen sings “deprive of sleep/we jump into the deep” on “Great Ocean Road.” If the note she hits on the word “deep” doesn’t send shivers through your soul, then you’re probably not breathing. In fact, that should be the standard gom jabbar to separate humanity from plankton and idiots who wear Tapout shirts. And though they may be a doddering joke now, the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” never fails to get to me.
And just to keep you from pulling my tr00 card, Sepultura’s “Mass Hypnosis” from the greatest thrash album ever: Beneath the Remains.
So now I’m curious: what is your favorite band or song and why? How can you narrow it down to just one , and what do you think your choice says about you?

Meanwhile, feel free to psychoanalyze my choices here.

Discordance Axis – “Castration Rite”
Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”
His Hero is Gone – “Like Weeds”
The Gathering – “Great Ocean Road”
Pink Floyd – “Time”
Jesu – “Tired of Me”
Sepultura – “Mass Hypnosis”
Helmet – “Sinatra”
Botch – “C. Thomas Howell as the ‘Soul Man’”
Weakerthans – “This is a Fire Door Never Leave Open”
Clash – “Spanish Bombs”
Dicks – “Shit on Me”
Napalm Death – “Siege of Power”
Bad Brains – “I”
Neurosis – “Stones from the Sky”
Anodyne – “Philosophy of Failure”
Bad Religion – “Do What You Want”
Nasum – “The Final Sleep”
Who’s My Saviour – “Save Your Breath”


Bill Willingham IV, Esquire said...

I've been thinking quite a bit about my lack of happy-sounding music.

I, too, like to think of myself as being on an even keel. I certainly don't walk around angry or depressed all the time.

I think maybe, just maybe, this has something to do with the blues roots of the music that inspired the music that inspired the music that inspired grindcore? Worrisome topics shouted over upbeat music. I find that when I'm listening to grind, I'm almost never having the literal reaction, or the one a non-metal/grind/punk person might expect, to the words printed in the liner notes. The shit makes me happy!

Maybe vicariously venting our spleens so much keeps us level-headed?

Bill Willingham IV, Esquire said...

Having said all that, sometimes grind can totally sound silly. It's getting springtime here, and walking the dog to Napalm sometimes just doesn't work when it's sunny.

206 said...

I have always seen lyrics as bad poetry. And being the product of hippies, I much prefer listening to a band jam over listening to their "hits" laden with said bad poetry. Grind steps up to the plate nicely if you see the vocals as just another instrument in the jam session.

Re: favorites - none. Every time I made the declarative statement another band released something that kicked my ass. Now I just listen to the music and let people with more time than me decide who is the "best."

On the other front, I'm more of a Borges and Kafka guy but is not "The Grand Inquisitor" the best chapter ever written in world literature? Dmitry was more entertaining to read about but Ivan was my hero for the longest time.

Andrew Childers said...

i had a cat named ivan for that very reason.

"grand inquisitor" is good, but the "rebellion" section i used for the rehumanize review is easily my favorite passage in all of literature.

borges and kafka also rule, but they connect on an intellectual level rather than an emotional one like the d-man.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I would call it my all time favorite but one song i've been listening frequently on repeat is There's No Light At A Loss by Crude offa their 1999 album. Perfect burning spirits style Japanese hardcore. The shredding just has so much fuckin soul. Mournful guitar wailing... sooo good.

As far as books go one of my all time favorites has gotta be Tolstoy's Resurrection. Went as far as to get the cover of the copy I own tattooed on my back.

. said...

The problem with favorites is mine must change almost every week.

Andrew Childers said...

vengeance, you're my hero.

Unknown said...

i may be talking to the wrong crowd here, but my favorite band has always been type o negative. theyre definitely not the band i listen to the most, but every time i put them on, im absolutely floored by the lush atmosphere, haunting vocals, and the occasional foray into crushing doom riffs. whenever i think about moving on to something else, TON crops up and puts me back in my place.

ive always had much more difficulty picking out a singular favorite book and movie (but if you put a gun to my head id probably say tao of pooh and jaws, respectively).

Anonymous said...

out of interest which version of seige of power is it. in a bizaare twist of fate although i love scum and from enslavement... more than any of the later stuff it's the mass apeal madness e.p version as a five piece that truly kicks it for me. probably cos of the middle eight more than anything...

andrew said...

anon, it's the scum version, but i totally agree, actually. barney's voice really makes the mass appeal madness version for me.

Zmaj said...

Hey, Discordance Axis is my favorite band for eternity.

I like extremes. The more far-out it is, the more honest the expression seems. Of course, it might just be my obsessive fascination that's talking, and extremes are obviously fairly subjective seeing as they go both ways, and with music in general, how do you know where to look for the truth; in sound, feeling, composition, speed? In any case, I found a sort of aural bliss in The Inalienable Dreamless, but why my playlist includes a Jacques Brel compilation right after an obscure burning spirits band - I'm not smart enough to figure out. The reason why I enjoy Rubber's Lover alongside The Breakfast Club might be too dark a thing to live under sunlight anyway.

Favorite book? Not touching that one.

Well, okay. The Idiot.

andrew said...

rubber's lover and breakfast club? that's twisted. i want to vacation in your head one day.

the idiot is good but i always preferred devils/possessed when it comes to dostoevsky's lesser novels.

Anonymous said...

Dude, the gathering are my favourite band of all time. As much as I love metal and grindcore I can always enjoy their stuff.