Saturday, September 25, 2010

do you love me?

it seems that my affection for music can sometimes turn me into some kind of noncommittal social monster with an insatiable appetite. looking for the next hippest style, i bounce from website to website and venue to venue to see which band can cut the edge off my urge for flair. but strangely, burning through mp3 after mp3 often leaves me feeling like i'm completely alone in a room full of people. i'm surrounded by company, but no one to really talk to. when bands come and go so quickly it feels like there's no substance to the relationship between us. even when they're chatting your ear off, you feel lonely.
but then every once and while you connect with a band, their music, and their personalities and stay connected. maybe they're on some kind of parallel track through life that causes them to write music that lends a voice to your situation, or maybe just seeing someone do what they love regardless of what others' think helps you find happiness yourself. whatever it is, they're your friend - a friend that keeps coming back.
every release is like a second chance to sit down and get to know them again. you talk, swap stories, share what's new in your lives, and you find that you're still good friends even despite the fact that they may sound a little different. at your heart, your'e still the same, and before long you can't even remember how it feels to be alone.
for me, guster has always been that band. you'd never find them on the cover of pitchfork, but they (and i) don't care. they're pure, silly, lovable pop, but for some reason i find more depth with them than i do with most indie sensations. i can count on them. when you need it most they go ahead and randomly do something goofy just to make you laugh:

yeah, i do love you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

sigh no more

music has become a mere complement to our lives. we listen to our ipods while we do everything – walk, workout, study, but rarely while we listen. what used to fill concert halls and ballrooms is now compressed into a series of ones and zeros and only fills our hard drives. formerly it would compel folks to come from miles around and wait months in anticipation, but it now heels like a faithful but under appreciated dog to our comings and goings, tethered to us by a leash of headphones. last night we had a listening party where we listened to a complete album cover to cover. we checked our appetite for multitasking and gave music our full and undivided attention. we loosed one of man's best friends and saw where he led us as he filled the greatest of stages – our minds.

in preparation for the event, i wrote a short introduction to the album i selected to present. this is what i wrote:

tonight's album, although strongly referencing shakespeare and plato, never comes off as snobby or elitist. in fact the almost abrasive lyrics might feel a little blunt to some ears, but i wouldn't blame it on a lack of tact. i feel it stems more from an abundance of experience and honesty. indeed the gravel in marcus's voice indicates that he has smoked every anxious cigarette of heartache and love lost. he knows, because just like the rest of us, he's been stung by love. but in his own words "night has always pushed up the day," and among his sounds of woe there are bright hopes of tomorrow morning. there is faith and a hope that it will all work out in the end. through the duration of the album it is never forgotten that love, even though it can be the source intolerable pain, when it is right, it
"will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears." no,
"love it will not betray you
dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
be more like the man you were made to be"

at times i'm sure we all wish that we could forfeit the joy to avoid the pain, but this album serves as a reminder that it's worth it. and when it doesn't work out there's nothing we can do but hum a tune of heartbreak and hold on to hope. perhaps shakespeare said it best:

sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,

men were deceivers ever,

one foot in sea, and one on shore,

to one thing constant never.

then sigh not so, but let them go,

and be you blithe and bonny,

converting all your sounds of woe

into hey nonny nonny.

so ladies and gentlemen, with out much further ado about nothing, i present mumford and sons debut album, "sigh no more"