I never did that meme that was going around last week or so(?) about various random personality bits and bobs, mostly because I didn't think my answers would be that interesting. (Although, for the record, when we did Pottermore at a friend's house I came out as Gryffindor - and I was quite happy about that. I don't think the others fit!) One thing that really struck me, though, was the number of people who said music wasn't especially important to them, because for me music is absolutely crucially crucial and has been for a long time.
This then got me thinking about various teenage obsessions I had, which brought me back, after a long absence, to AFI - and Black Sails in the Sunset on Grooveshark
. There was a time when I was fourteen/fifteen or so that I was convinced that this was the best record in existence, completely and utterly. (And I thought the album cover was a thing of beauty too.) The fact it's not on my iPod and therefore inaccessible to me not via Grooveshark is evidence of how much I dropped it and AFI after I realised I couldn't take any of the horrifically emo lyrics seriously anymore, but it's so weird listening to it now. For a start, it's pretty damn impenetrable - on the first listen through I had absolutely no idea what had attracted me to it at all - but now, as I readjust to the ever-present cymbals, I can hear all the musical turns that I loved... Which is such a bizarre feeling.
The album came out in 1999, and you can really hear that in retrospect. Clove Smoke Catharsis
, for example, has some turns that I recognise from things like the Lostprophets' first (and only good :P) album (oh, Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja
... Thefakesoundofprogress still defines when I started being a person, in my mind), but I think had entirely vanished in rock music by the late 2000s, which, actually, was all pretty retro by comparison. Now that I can divorce myself from the embarrassment of thinking Black Sails' lyrics were any good, I find the whole thing a really fascinating snapshot of how my tastes expressed themselves back in the day. Because I definitely still like my speed and my harmonies and my syncopation and my cadences, and this is so dense with them.
Anyway, I don't really know where this is going, but it's definitely strange being able to look at this stuff with distance. I used to go to and from school with my CD Walkman, not bothering to change which album I was listening to for days/weeks at a time and I can remember these songs going round and round and round as I trudged back home up the hill with my bag and my viola and my PE kit and my tech folder. No Poetic Device
is really not that great a song, but it still puts a smile on my face (even with the emooooo lyrics), because I remember how it used to make me perk up every time it came round on shuffle. And then I get to the massively emo God Called in Sick Today
and remember that, oh yeah, 'filigree' is still one of my favourite words...
I'm not sure I'd recommend the album anymore - unless you too feel really emo and want something that will make you feel like random Californian musicians understand. At the same time, it does make me think that guitar music these days is very dull indeed. I mean, what would the equivalent be? Who's looking after the emo!teens now? Where are the Bullet for My Valentine
-type bands, which I scorned so hard by 2005, but who were still providing a service (I link to the only song of theirs I ever confessed to finding catchy)? Am I completely missing all the alternative bands out there, or is it true that all the teens are listening to Deadmau5 and Skrillex? I like my electro, but it all seems a bit sad. Where's all the death and pain and blooood gone?
In other news, I'm bored of my music collection and want moooaaaaar, but am generally dissatisfied by what's out there. If you're not that into music, be glad this is a restlessness you never have to experience! :D