- Student-Loan Debt.
- Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance.
- Schools That Educate for Compliance and Not for Democracy.
- “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.”
- Shaming Young People Who Take Education—But Not Their Schooling—Seriously.
- The Normalization of Surveillance.
- Fundamentalist Religion and Fundamentalist Consumerism.
At first listen the new album by The Strokes The Comedown Machine feels a little disappointing. It feels a little everywhere and it seems to be a renegade among the rest of the albums. However, on further listening and inspection this album is a perfect fit in the context of all their albums and if it is the last album it is the absolute best way to go out. The Comedown Machine is exactly what it says it is. Think about it, The Strokes start of their career with Is This It which no one can argue is a true masterpiece. They follow that up with Room On Fire _which is another masterpiece. Then they give us _First Impressions of the Earth. All of these three albums are individual and yet a cohesive masterpiece. The Strokes are regarded more often for what they have come to represent culturally rather than their actual musical ability or even their overall message to the world. I have to say that I have not truly given their album Angles any fair chance and this gives my argument a gap however I think the fact that out of all of the albums Angles is the one that truly seems the least cohesive. Yet, I do not believe this is a disaster. In fact even if done by accident all of their albums take us on a journey of sorts.
It is undeniable to me that The Strokes are cool. Yet, when I think about the things that I believe are cool I imagine they are not exactly the same as another might perceive it so here I will define what I mean by cool. Cool in the context of my mind is a melding of two aspects. The first aspect being a certain naturalness and ease that cannot be achieved it just simply is. The second aspect is the ability to understand the world without being too completely changed by it. In this sense cool is a natural state. A calmness and assertion that everything about you and the world simply is. It is something and whether or not that something is positive or negative comes reflected outwardly from within you on a very instinctual level. The Strokes have this coolness about them. They are affected in one sense by the world around them because they are feeling it and living it but it doesn’t change their overall identity.
Is This It is a masterful journey back through time for me. It is a time in my life as well as many others. It is the weird teenage angst. The feeling of being misunderstood while wondering if this is all the world has to offer. Is This It? While it is a masterpiece it is still a situation in which The Strokes are still trying to better comprehend themselves and the exterior world. It is the beginning of their philosophy, the question of what is? Is This It is the desire to know more.
Room On Fire is more of that angst but it’s harder and more pained from experience. Yet, it’s also a party in its own sense. It a mixed up confusion of what was, what currently is, and what could be in a vibrant and rhythmic cocktail. At this point they are no longer just asking questions they are taking names and making statements.
Enter the scene of First Impression of the Earth and you now have a band that seems to have a sort of definitive philosophy. This album is not about the angst so much anymore as it is more about how to overcome it and demonstrating what else the world may have to offer. To me, First Impressions of the Earth is the real answer to Is This It. Not a conclusive answer but perhaps an illuminator. The Strokes are changed in a sense because each individual is more involved in this album and the individual philosophies shine through creating an interesting fusion within this album.
After taking a hiatus they released_ Angles_ which I believe is a loose strand among the other albums but it still flows through with their overall message whether by intention or accident. It is as if when they had their breaks and had their own side projects it left a distance between the past and the present that most of us were unwilling to understand. Many of us become disenchanted because of this but this is not a mistake in the sense that it is an error. It is most definitely part of the process of becoming. The Strokes were well defined it seems before this album but this album expresses that while the band was well defined as a cohesive whole at one point this connection has been ripped away as a result of the hiatus and the fact that as individuals they were on their own introspective journeys. This is why even Angles is a part of the unified whole that is the overall presentation and message of The Strokes to the world and to themselves.
The becoming of life. The understanding of one’s self, the exterior world, all the pains and pleasures that it brings, all the highs and all the lows, and all the lessons that can be learned, all the experiences that are worth them and all that should be avoided is in a way the true purpose of the artist. They express based on their experiences and from their experiences we can learn and we can relate and even grow. The Strokes have wholeheartedly capsulized this process of becoming and understand of life to me. It is perhaps because I was there, in a sense, throughout their entire career. I followed them and as I grew so did they. Side by side. As they progressed in their understanding of themselves, one another, the entirety of living, so did I.
With this building of understanding of all things The Comedown Machine is a sheer and flawless exit. If you could understand the lifestyle changes that the band made as individuals and as a whole you would completely comprehend the essence of this message and of their message. It isn’t really whether or not they consciously intended for their progression to be a part of their message or whether or not they intended for their philosophy to transcend fluidly throughout all their albums it simply is that it does.
_The Comedown Machine _is the perfect exit for countless reasons. If you can imagine the idea that each of the previous albums had a sort of haste and desire towards that understanding not necessarily that they were produced or created too fast but the message is more rapid, more pounding, and broader. Undoubtedly the first two albums are loved by nearly everyone essentially I would assess because they are more accessible. Which is fantastic in that The Strokes were still growing and becoming in the process. When we being to reach First Impressions we get a sense that they are slowing down. In one aspect they have arrived to a place they are comfortable with. From here on out they begin expressing more abstract concepts making the albums less accessible.
The Comedown Machine is as if The Strokes are saying goodbye to the haste. Goodbye to the misunderstanding. They are coming down they are settled in themselves. It rings similar to what John Lennon said, “I was the walrus but now I am John. I was the dreamweaver but now I’m reborn. And so my friends you’ll just have to carry on. The dream is over”. It’s not a sad thing at all. It’s a transcendence. The Strokes as a band can now exit the stage of life completely intact as an essential part of rock and roll music history. They have completed a sort of journey and _The Comedown Machine _(a machine: a piece of equipment that does a particular job; comedown: a situation in which you suddenly have less status or fewer advantages than you had previously or an unpleasant physical and mental feeling that someone gets when an illegal drug stops affecting them.) Either they have just simply departed from a certain lifestyle or they assess that their efforts as the band they once were is over. The message has solidified itself throughout all of their albums and now they are ready to come down.
Whether any of this is intentional this concept has manifested itself on one level or another enough that I can feel their transcendent journey. I would express that The Strokes are as a whole great examples of natural philosophers. They start by expressing in regular and accessible language their experiences of the natural world surrounding so as to allow the rest of the world to see these familiar things in a new light. Eventually they make way for more abstractions and suddenly the natural world is supernatural in its own right. The Strokes are exemplary of the natural philosopher’s journey and I believe The Comedown Machine is great evidence alongside all the other albums that they have successfully completed their journey and their coolness and cultural importance is more definitely still intact.
I haven’t written. I’m not going to apologize again. A lot has happened. A lot has manifested itself from thought to reality. A lot is still the same. I’m still suspended in place. Feeling a little more comfortable though. Actually, I’m not at all sure that comfortable is the right word. I guess I am just starting to see the reason in the circumstance. And really appreciating every bit of time I have. You know how they say it’s really all about being present and in the moment. It seems a pretty solid way to go.
I’ve been composing beats on fruity loops. Sipping coffee and smoking the occasional cancer stick. I was going to say something about how “I had Bukowski on my mind”, which I do. All the time it seems now. It’s a Good Life lyric. It’s more real to me now.
I saw a YouTube comment the other day on a Cyndi Lauper video. It was either “When You Were Mine” or “Time After Time”. They had commented that they remember listening to that particular album over and over when they were thirteen and then eventually coming to know all of the feelings that she talk about. And she thanked her mother for that.
I think about music a lot. There is something so intrinsically valuable in it that words cannot express. Only music begets music. It’s something of the heart and of the soul. I think we are music. Art.
Expression of life in our human form. As we are. and As we were. I’m not concerned with perception anymore. It’s a form of reality all it’s own and it will be nevertheless so I except it. I feel more alive for it.
I talk a lot about confusion. Most of us are in a state of confusion. Whether chronic or fleeting. It has a certain looming presence. At least in my generation.
Everything is everywhere all at once. There is so much to absorb. They say children are like sponges. I still feel like a child. In many ways I am. I am always feeling so in between everything. Not to be defined so quickly.
We’ve reached a time where there is no such they are counter culture. All culture has a audience. All culture has advocates everywhere. And the mainstream is the conglomerated combination of all the past counterculture movements.
I feel a lot of it is just simply a style and not a true express of oneself. I do feel that fashion can be a true expression of oneself however, it seems the truth is lost in all the seemingly sameness.
Yet, everyone is just a bizarre little fiber in this fabric.
A couple of weeks ago I got really drunk and wouldn’t you know I made some bad decisions. It’s so darkly humerus to me that alcohol remains the legal drug of choice. I’m not advocating drugs. I just know from experience that there are far better things than alcohol.There are far better things than drugs. But to be honest I think certain people need to partake to truly understand. Kinda like the lesson must be learned the ‘hard way’.
I’m just very experiential. I believe our existence is our purpose. We define it. We decide. The freewill. You get what you put into it. You get the life, the love, the death, you feel you deserve.
We are what we think. It’s been said time and time again. Yet, that is only a mere fraction of who we are. We are the people we talk to. We are the things we do, see, say, touch, feel, smell. The experience.
We are us.
Us is we.
It’s almost nonsensical.
Always the fine line.
Humans are always striving for some time of understanding. But I hear it’s better to understand than to be understood. I used to think I agreed and truly understood that ha! I didn’t.
The older I get the more things fit into place for me. I guess things really do just kinda fall into place. Eventually. One way or the other you have to decide. Either this is good or this is bad or it’s neither and what are you going to do about it.
Love succeeds everything. Even in the magic of fairy tales it is true love’s kiss that can make or break any spell. It is the most powerful of all magic. It’s more than magic.
Love is the state we are so desirous of. Yet, you cannot go chasing after it. It will find you when you have found yourself.
Slowly but surely love will unravel all the layers you have covered yourself in. Whether for protection or for strength or out of confusion.
Love helps you discover more compassion for the world than anything else will.
You know it’s what the world needs now and always has.
I have long missed the days when I used to just type at my computer into my myspace blog without an ounce of proofing or editing and just submit it for the cosmos.
There was something so innocent about my expression of self then. So pure. My mind was sad, compassionate, and delicate but it didn’t truly comprehend the world.
As I have grown with age the world and society make a little more sense. Yes, I said it. Society.
Things are the way they are. Like I said. You must either except this or change this. But you can.
There is no mountain or tree too big to climb There is no trench or pain to deep too overcome
Every moment is a chance. To turn around. To change direction. To stay the same. To live.
But back to the YouTube comment. It made me feel so nostalgic about the music I have come across and come to adore over the years.
I remember at three years old I was obsessed with Ozzy Osborn and Mötley Crüe.
By six I was onto my own hand me down vinyl collection of Motown. The Jackson Five and The Supremes being my favorites.
By eight I had cassettes. Again hand me downs. They were prince, and Blondie, and Cyndi Lauper.
And later I got some Britney Spears.
I believe I was in forth grade when I go my first cd. Which was the first *Nync record. My sister and I had picked it out together.
After that I bought all of Michael Jackson’s cd’s. And my mother gave me more hand me downs.
Then I got into Bright Eyes,The Strokes, The Used, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New. The Shins.
By the time I had started high school I had my own computer and started downloading most of my music.
My taste was forever altered when I turned sixteen years old and my friend Kancy Robison bought me Sergent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.
My perceptions of the world had really been opened. I started listening to Dylan. He became my favorite of all time. Where MJ once stood.
To this day I have three vinyls that I hold dearly high above all else.
Blonde On Blonde, Thriller, and Some Nights.
While I am so completely compelled to Mr. Crowley by Ozzy Osborn because of the three year old inside of me that was once absolutely obsessed still resides inside of me. While I am still entranced by Motown and Michael Jackson’s voice. While Morrissey seems to understand my bittersweet melancholy more than anyone else and how the music of The Smiths seems such the literal musical translation of his lyrics. And while Conor Oberst is still that reaching, outstretching, suffering, hopelessly hopeful creature that is a huge portion of my heart. Or While The Strokes awaken such nostalgia and good feelings of yesteryear and how the lyrics mean more now and are better understood as I am now then as I were. While Dylan remains the greatest and will always stand there for me. The times do change. But sometimes the change creates such a sense of sameness.
I found out about a month ago that Dylan used to beat his wife Sara. It would be a lie if I didn’t say it broke my heart a little. It really did. But it would also be a lie if I didn’t tell you that a part of me understands the torment.
A friend told me there was an encyclopedia at his university that was about four inches thick on Bob Dylan. We were both memorized at the thought of this.
How does one get a four inch encyclopedia written about their life and their craft?
I mean it’s easy to see how Bob Dylan has it. It would be easy to see that people are compelled to write about it. Music is so intrinsically valuable to the human’s understanding of himself and everything else.
When you master a craft like Dylan. But the truth is Dylan hated the fame. He has said all he could be was “me, whatever that is” and it’s true. We find it so astounding, people artist expressing themselves.
Morrissey is so humble about his work. He doesn’t understand how it could have affect so many people. How it has sustained their life for longer.
But good art does not merely mimic life. It creates life. It breeds new beliefs. New understanding. New inspiration. New purpose. New Meaning.
But the artist doesn’t see the true value of his work in the same way that others do.
I think the best way to be understanding and not to worry about being understood is to just express and let the others have their perceptions about you and your works.
And listen with an open mind and a closed mouth.
The best conversationalist are those who can listen first and speak later.
I think the artist in us all observes and listens carefully and then makes little comments in our art. In our lives.
My dad told me once that Dylan said all he really wanted was that white picket fence.
The 1950’s idealism of the American Dream that never really existed that we are still striving to return to that has never really been.
Yes there were times where some people were safer and didn’t have to worry about enemies for the most part. But much of the world had it’s own enemies merely by birth. And that is an injustice.
So the world is always in a state of confusion. Not just me. Not just this generation. We are always seeking that understanding.
Everyone is a seeker in one way or the other. Some seek fame which is useless and futile. Some seek love but will not find it for their search. Some seek forgiveness and we must oblige if they ask. Some seek answers and for them gradually the picture becomes clearer. But we all seek understanding and acceptance.
These needs do no go away with age. The reality of it is the more you understand the more you can accept and the more you accept the more accepted you can become.
“And you should never be embarrassed by your trouble with living cause it’s the ones with the sorest throats, Laura, who have done the most singing. Everybody!”
There are times when I really struggle to get out of bed. I’m in a total state of dysania. “Everybody hurts sometimes.”
There are times where I awake without any effort and get up and the day feels alive and brilliant to me and I feel it run through me. ‘Today is the greatest of them all, can’t live for tomorrow. Tomorrow’s much too long”.
Music and art are necessary to sustain our existence at this point and anyone who would say anything to the contrary I would have extreme doubt that they were human at all.
So it’s been quite a while tumblr. It’s a long time coming. But I miss the space here.
I wanted to submit the piano riff I am currently working on in fruity loops. I’m still a beginner but I think it’s pretty and it speaks to my heart strings.
So I share.