“Offspring Are Blank”
This has been a shitty year. I’ve gone on days long stretches where all I eat is McDonald’s while fresh meats and veggies rot in the fridge. I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing videogames and re-watching the same four shows on Netflix. I haven’t written much or very well. And everything else is “falling apart”. I try not to gripe because it’s extremely unattractive, but I can see the appeal in it: when you really don’t have anything else to say then it feels good to say something.
I stopped drinking soda and coffee on Monday. And then I ate the better part of a giant sized bag of peanut MnMs, and I realized I probably had some caffeine in that and I really wasn’t giving up caffeine. It still took me until yesterday, Wednesday, to start drinking caffeine again, but I didn’t until the end of the day so that was stupid and I lost another day. I usually drink about a pot or two of coffee a day and sometimes a two liter or two of soda, but didn’t get a headache or anything from stopping. I just yawned all day long and felt like I was coming off of a massive (but gentle) years-long coke binge. So I lost those days, too. But the writing on 30 Rock really is the best on TV.
I started smoking again, then I stopped smoking, then I started smoking, then I realized that I will probably never stop smoking, but I stopped for the time being. So that sucks, too.
I was supposed to review the newest Smashing Pumpkins album, and I misplaced the release date and ended up missing a deadline by a week and two days rather than just two days. I didn’t really have anything to say about it, anyway. I don’t really like Billy Corgan’s voice - you know how some people they say you’d listen to them reading the phone book? He’s the opposite. I’d pay to not hear him read the phone book. (What’s a phone book? Think about it like your Contacts app.)
I didn’t think there were enough guitar solos, but the solos what were were awesome. I love his new solo tone. It’s like the outcome of a conversation he had between himself fifteen years ago and Jimi Hendrix. He’s really wasting his talent writing hookless rock songs about love. He’s not a grandpa, he’s just not writing structurally interesting songs anymore and he’s lost an idea of why his older work was good. It was good because it was sort of like asparagus urine: really strong and clean but still kind of weird and pungent. I don’t know: maybe it was more like clarified butter. Kind of difficult to make but really precious and rich. Now he’s just making Betty Crocker’s brownie mix brownies. I am a stress eater.
I really love the guitar solo in this Dirty Projectors song, too.
I really love all of it, really. The song the band. I love Dirty Projectors, and whenever I think about them I can’t help thinking that they’re my favorite band. It’s probably because I am obsessed with figuring out the best/favorite/greatest things, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has been my gold standard for albums from “this era”, but Bitte Orca could just as easily be. Maybe in the white rock division it is.
Bitte Orca was a life changing album for me. I had listened to the Black Flag cover album and liked it a far sight more than the original since I don’t understand punk music. I was also in a different place, feeling trapped, and the album represented this giant portcullis opening (and boy let me tell you what was behind it was really sweet).
The worst thing about Oceania is that I love love songs and I really didn’t like that album, which is all love songs. “Offspring Are Blank” is a better love song in just one song’s time than that whole album was. It does similar things: it’s not “proggy” (neither is Oceania) but it’s sort of prog-like. The song uses a few other voices to offset its lead singer’s kookie voice, and it’s got a kind of janked up structure (but not really), and it’s got a guitar solo, and it’s obliquely about love or squarely about love in a facile way. But it’s just, like, a lot better. And that’s just the first track. Again - I love superlatives maybe too much but Swing Lo Magellan is the best G.D. album of the year because, basically, it was scientifically engineered to appeal 110% to me. That Yale dropout composition, Afrofunk lo-fi guitar solos, sweet singing angelic choruses, Rilkean angelic choruses that terrify, guitar tone, grooves. It’s the first music I’ve heard all year that’s actually made me happy. To be clear, a lot of music has made me feel things, but probably not pure joy like this.
Just a note: If you’re anticipating the new Dirty Projectors album too keenly, I’d recommend 2011’s People Changes by Dirty Projjies’s bassist Nat Baldwin. Baldwin’s clearly learned his singing chops from Longstreth, but his instrumentation is really keen and groovy. It’s a great album.