New Years Eve is for Old Things.
The Cure - I Just Need Myself (Studio Demo) - The Cure are the latest band to begin the walk down Deluxe Reissue Lane, and while the quality of the bonus discs will likely decline in the coming years, the reissue of Three Imaginary Boys, carries some phenomenal rarities. While the quality of the songs, and their recordings, varies wildly, what they have in common is the fact that, more than any other albums Bonus Disc that I can think of, these recordings truly tell the story of the Teenagers Who Would Become The Cure. While it's easy to listen to "Boys Don't Cry," or "A Fire in Cairo," and think of a band that sprung, full formed from the studio womb as the kings of dark atmospheric rock and roll, the new wave pioneers that the Cure were to become, it doesn't tell the whole story. "I Just Need Myself" is proof. The song is a complete Buzzcocks rip - trebeley distorted guitars, nasal chant along vocals, and the spit in the eye to a disposable girlfriend. It's perhaps that last part thats so un-cure. Smith has over the years, built up quite the reputation as a romantic - his lyrics are notoriously smooth and, when not paranoid or depressive, reveal the sort of pop instincts more commonly found in bands to whom punkrock is an affront. So hearing "I Just Need Myself," wherein Smith talks about how alll those sentimental little promises are lies lies and lies... well, he's a young man, but somehow it totally transforms the way I think of the Cures catalog. And besides, we need a reminder every once in a while that the Cure did in fact start off punk. The official releases never did tell that story.
Over at DrunkenBlog, a post about the inadequacy of existing mac websites concludes in some ruminations on blogging and the nature of it, which somehow managed to be what it took to get me out of the exhaustion induced funk I've been in recently (ProTip: Two Retail Jobs for extra holiday cash is NOT a good idea. working 75-90 hours/week at said jobs is an even worse one). A Snippet:
It's like Plinko. The point isn't whether or not you have 10 readers or 10,000, it's that you never know if someone will randomly hit it from a search or link and something sparks in their head. In the process, you might find that you change a little too.
You do it because you just never fucking know. If you're lucky, something random might happen that makes your day. You might end up inspiring a teenager with an iBook, or a teenager with an iBook might end up inspiring you.
And on the not quite a Teenager with an iBook front (though you wouldn't know it from his enthusiasm), the amazingly knowledgable and opinionated (and longwinded) Andrew TSKS has started a blog and kicked it off with a pretty phenomenal post about how the music media seems to have, outside of sociological approaches, totally ignored Emo. Though I'll use this space to disagree with him on two fronts, It's entirely readworthy, and Andrew makes some excellent points.
As to media ignoring it, well, perhaps I'm biased. I live on the edge of Long Island and digest a large quantity of Long Island Media. And for those that don't know, Long Island is Emo Ground Zero. And the media here just can't get enough of those crazy kids. Thing is, I'm cynical about the whole thing because I remember a few years ago, when Long Island was Ska Ground Zero. And some of those guys who were in Ska bands then, are the folks at the center of the Emo scene now. The problem is exactly what Andrew seems to think is redeeming this music, and thats a lack of authenticity. The feuds, the flavor of the month vocal stylings, the musical chairs bandmates, Long Island Rock is a nexus of trend whores who find out whats cool from a random stop of a band, or some snipet of TV, and then bend it in on itself in an orgy of self referenctial incestuous scenesterism until a few bands put out a gold album and get called the Next Big Thing, and the rest all collapse in on themselves to follow the next trend. It's happened before, and I really do think it'll happen again. A few will hold the faith and Emo won't vanish completely, but it'll become the subject of mockery for the next wave, just as Ska all too unfairly is now. I just don't buy into exactly what so many people seem to about this. There are some good bands on the island to be sure. Some of them may even be playing music that might fall into categorization under the E Word. But the genres standard bearers just don't seem it to me.
Jimmy Eat World - Lucky Denver Mint For those of you who are tuning out, I beg you, stay with me here. I'd wager your first exposure to Jimmy Eat World was their meteoric rise through the world of MTV2 & Pop-Emo last year with the utterly boring The Middle, and their new album which for the most part is downright painful. But before Bleed American, JEW had a stint in the Major Label world back in 1999. They released an album entitled Clarity. It still serves, for me, as the mission statement of what Post-Sunny Day Real Estate-Emo should have become. Rhythmic, and raw, but unafraid of electronics. Full of hooks, with lush wall of sound production, but still close to the chest, and at it's core, something that could have every last element of that production stripped away and still sound every bit as beautiful. "Lucky Denver Mint" is the epitome of that. Live drums are filled out with some smart loops, and the guitars chime away into a background wall that leaves all the melodic work in the hands of Jim Adkins more than capable vocal talents. It's clear in this song how the formula was built up that led to the utter generic blandness of Futures, but it's also clear that this is a band that was capable of so much more.
Jimmy Eat World - Your New Aesthetic - On Clarity this song immediately follows "Lucky Denver Mint", and like the proverbial coin flipped, we see the other side of what made Jimmy Eat World so much different then from now. The song is a gigantic, preemptive fuck-you to the radio stations that didn't give Clarity the support it needed, in spite of critical acclaim, in spite of a sound other bands should've killed for. Perhaps burned by the tanking of Pinkerton, there was no place for this on the radio. And yet, there's something to be said for a band that can turn ona dime from the pleading conciliatory tone of "Denver Mint" to the jaded bitterness of "Your New Aesthetic".
Jimmy Eat World - For Me This is Heaven - When the time we have now ends / and when the big hand goes round again / can you still hear the butterflies / can you still hear the last goodnight. "For Me This is Heaven" is a gorgeous, slowed down song. Pianos chime in on the chorus, coming from seemingly nowhere to join that perfect tenor, pop balladry at it's most perfect. And then the song goes partly acoustic, and the band is throwing a bone to it's roots. Is it wrong to hear echoes of the Smiths here, of the Beatles, of U2? Is it wrong to say that this Emo is not emo at all, but rather perfectly pitched guitar pop of the sort we've lacked on the charts for the past decade? Goodbye 2004. 2005 is bringing some VERY big plans.
Happy New Year everybody. My Resolution is to get back to daily posting. We'll be starting on Monday with a belated New Years Day is for New Years Day is for New Things post. Including some shit so hot, I'll only be keeping it up for a day or two.