Was losing all my friends. Was losing some to drinking, some to driving. Was losing all my friends. Didn’t want ‘em back. Now I am on the mend. At least now I can say that I am trying and I hope you will forget the things I still lack. Yeah.
Is it in you now to better hear the truth that you were spoken, twisted up by knaves who set a trap for fools? Is it in you now to watch the things you gave your life to, broken? And stoop and build them up with worn out tools? Yeah.
Nothing gets so bad a whisper from your father couldn’t fix it. Your whisper’s like a bridge; he’s a river span. Take all that you have and turn it into something you would miss if somebody threw that brick that shattered all your plans. Yeah.
No time to get the seeds into the cold ground. It takes awhile to grow anything before it’s coming to an end, yeah. Before you put my body in the cold ground, take some time to warm it with your hand when it’s coming to an end. Yeah.
It’s coming to an end.
Do you miss the blend of color she left in your black and white field? Do you feel condemned just for being there? I am not your friend. I am just a man who knows how this feels. I am not your friend. I’m not your lover. I’m not your family. Yeah.
Time to get the seeds into the cold ground. It takes awhile to grow anything. Winter’s coming to an end, yeah.
This is the best rendition of one of my favorite songs and it infuriates me that there has never been a proper release of this recording without the stupid interview portions overlayed. Goddamm it is so gorgeous otherwise.
Working until 5:30 in the morning or so on a caffeine high and then being woken up by your cat at 7:30 for breakfast is surreal to say the least. To then be woken up again at 10:30 for no apparent reason by the same cat becomes a bit jarring.
Somehow it all blends in though, much like this. Now, back to work. Hopefully by day’s end I’ll have two new projects completed (one personal, one freelance) to showcase. Then, tomorrow I’ll be hanging my art show at the Academy before … well, getting back to work. Again. (Although, I mean, for what I do I can’t really call it ‘work,’ at least not in the sense that it is the etymological equivalent of laborers digging coal mines or even the guys next door building that annoying-as-fuck apartment complex. I also can’t believe I just woke up and used the word ‘etymological.’)
Whatever. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
A black sheep boy revolves over canyons and waterfalls. A black sheep boy dissolves in syringe or in a shower stall. He says, “There’s plenty of time to make you mine tonight. There’s plenty of time to make you mine.” He says, “There’s plenty of ways to know you’re not dying, all right. Hell, there’s plenty of light still left in your eyes.”
A black sheep boy grows horns, breathing smoke through his microphone. The airwaves stretch and they groan, bleeding, birthing his black diapason. He says, “There’s plenty of things to wear when you come to me, every color of sleeve to be rolled. There are millions of rolling eyes that still cling to me. Every language of king is concerned. So why did you bawl from that spell of some old holy song that some liar laughed as he composed—some liar I loved to control?”
A black sheep boy dissolves in hot cream, in sweet moans, in each dead bed and empty home, in each seething bacterium. Killing softly and serial, he lifts his head; handsome, horned, magisterial. He’s the smell of the moonlight wisteria. He’s the thrill of the abecedarian. See the muddy hoofprints where he carried you.
And there’s plenty of ways to claim his crimes tonight and there’s plenty of things to do on his dime. And there’s plenty of ways to wear his hide tonight. You’ve got yours and I’ve got mine. You’ve got yours, I’ve got mine.
So why did you flee? Don’t you know you can’t leave his control? Only call all his wild works your own? So come back and we’ll take them all on. So come back to your life on the lam. Some come back to your old black sheep man. He says, “I am waiting on hoof and on hand. I am waiting, all hated and damned. I am waiting, I snort and I stamp. I am waiting, you know that I am calmly waiting to make you my lamb.”
For each series of work I do, I have a soundtrack I work with. Songs I always keep with me, usually certain albums on repeat (sometimes just certain tracks). In the past I’ve released mix tapes for various projects, but most of the stuff I worked with for Off The Grid was the type of music most people equate with a fork being stuck in a garbage disposal.
Anyway, now that I’ve started on Love Songs For The Tone Deaf, you can bet this will be one of the most prominent tunes. Easily my favorite Okkervil River song, I think I didn’t breathe for the eight or so minutes they played it when I saw them in ’06.
A doorway was in between. It wasn’t me and it wasn’t you. The airplane rewrote our histories of freeways left to go now. Hysteric screams coming out of the window now.
Blessed arms that hold us tight. Freezing, cold, and alone. Skeleton left the closet for a little while. I slept all through the day, all through the night, all through this year. All through this life. Now cold arms pull the covers tight and those bad, boring dreams all come true.
And it’s all long goodbyes.
Wake up, pass out, fall down. Comb your hair. Take a long, long look in the mirror. You smiled when you lied about all of your feelings. I hope to God none of this comes true because one eye is shut and the other one is completely crushed. Death will come slowly for you.
And it’s all long goodbyes.
I want to be original; I want to be surrounded by art, but everything is digital. The formulas are falling apart. They riot in the streets because there’s not enough money to share. Is the burden of fame just a universal cross we can bare?
But out here on the border line, you’ve got to hold it together! You’ve been deprived of dedication. You’ve been condemned by your dreams! Is it as bad as it seems?
And can you pull the hook from your mouth? Do you want to feel the breeze before the air you breathe finally runs out? We’re divided. It seems, this is a diary of life in between. This is obese and obscene. This isn’t music, it’s a pyramid scheme.
And out here on the border line, you’ve got to hold it together! You’ve been deprived of dedication. You’ve been condemned by your dreams! And out here on the border line, it feels a lot like forever. We’ll all be damned if this machine turns life into routine.
Thieves have taken the crown, melted it down, kept it in near the ground. Now they’re praying for sound.
And I don’t know what’s found, ’cause we used to be gifted and persistent. Now we’re bored, reminiscent. We used to laugh without misery, spoon-fed out desire. We’ve lost our fire!
And now they won’t remember our names.Our days are mixed in the crowd and our nights are spent fed in the flames.
(We’re dead and gone. We’re dead and gone…)
While Reflektor hasn’t grabbed me the way The Suburbs did, a lot of what Arcade Fire talks about on the new record—and dares to at least semi-translate into a complete performance art— is certainly worth paying attention to. While their past records have taken on alienation, politics, religion and economics, the new one has this incredible way of absorbing you musically before you realize you’re halfway through an existential crisis.
I mean, “Normal Person” in particular has been stuck in my head for a couple weeks now, because Arcade Fire has this incredibly good way of using what could be considered pop standards in order to discuss the ridiculous nature of how subjective standards themselves can be. Normalcy is only the status quo; majority rule is how acceptance has been decided throughout history. It was never cool to dye your hair until 1994. (In case you aren’t feeling old enough, that was 20 years ago.)
Some may argue that art fails if it isn’t dangerous. Certainly Reflektor was a dangerous step for the band; distancing themselves from the Grammy win with a slant toward the absurdist is likely a PR machine nightmare. The music itself, though, is hardly challenging to the audience. By being the largest ‘art’ band in the world (I’d take that throne from Radiohead as they’ve not really done anything musically interesting since Kid A), I almost wish they’d dared to push it even further. But, when you do get into that status quo, the majority have a way of making sure they get what they want, even in the face of experiencing something new.
Quite sad, really.
I made this in one of my many fits of boredom I endured while working at Kinko’s briefly in 2007, before they canned me for, well, doing shit like this too much. And printing out books and other things for myself. That’s all beside the point.
The concept of systems is good in preventing chaos; from language to blueprints for buildings, some systems allow for the world to simply function. But once you get into the psychological realm and what systems represent, they become incredibly dangerous. The perpetuation of governmental or economic control generally can be associated with those supplying the duties which allow it to thrive that the results of their efforts are good enough. If the pay allows for the roof over your head, then it’s worth the fact a majority of that pay either comes from or goes to support tyranny, oppression and conflict worldwide.
(This isn’t even to mention the upcoming catastrophic Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would then create an entirely new extra-legal international corporate system of control.)
The existential struggle of what a job is versus what it supplies generally is the source of anxiety for many, and to that I have a simultaneous sympathy and disgust. People, in large numbers, can overcome any adversity they believe to face. If we were all truly unhappy with the way things are, they could be changed. But people like iPhones and they like big screen TVs, even if their job isn’t ideal.
Think about that for a second: consumer goods are usually the justification for the misery and stress a person will spend over a third of their life enduring. Because even the good jobs out there, the ones that require specialized degrees and are generally drastically overcompensated for (I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of such in the past) … these jobs still require political posturing and endless amounts of corporate bullshit to endure.
The same exists within punk rock.
David, Quinn and I had an engaging conversation about how punk rock can become sort of a death trap of republican qualities tonight. Punk, to both he and I, has always been about the ethos. “Free winds and no tyranny for you,” as it was spoken in Paul Thomas Anderson’s stellar film, The Master.
But, the older you get, the repetition of punk rock becomes a system in and of itself. Not so much the anti-corporate nature, but the anti-everything else. The idea that punk is an exclusive subculture and to drift among others is frowned upon is the exact reason I never had a lot of friends in high school; I just sort of went where I pleased and talked with whoever would listen.
In this manner, punk rock can be parallel to the republican party; You’re either with us, or against us.
As both David and myself are pushing forward with our own embrace of art, while still trying to maintain roots in the DIY ethos, it’s become apparent to both of us that the most punk rock thing to do would be to abandon punk rock. Not lose heart for it’s anti-authoritarianism or to wage war against shows, but that to attach ourselves to that ideology is actually to shortchange our own personal growth as creatives.
Because every system loves you, especially the ones you forget that it’s important to question. Those who go through life content with, or worse, making excuses for, their situations have less to lose than they believe because they’ve already missed out on so much.
(This is all to say, I had some pretty fantastic conversations tonight; I’ve been searching for this level of rapport since college, and through thousands of miles and multiple degrees and workplaces and states and cities and people I am finally feeling … energized. Not happy, but, motivated. Onward.)