Last week I spent a few days bumming around small towns in middle Georgia on a meandering reporting trip where one of the only must-do’s was visiting both of the Yesterday Cafes that claim to have the best buttermilk pie in the state. This one was superior. But the other one looked just like it.
On MARTA this morning, in rapid succession
— A young man offered a young woman his seat (she declined).
— An older man thanked the young man for offering his seat to the young woman.
— Another young man complimented another young woman on her shoes.
— I braced myself for some shitty counterbalance, but nothing came.
I love this album but I know I would have loved it more ten years ago—exactly ten years ago, actually, the summer between high school and college, when I was 18 and when being 23 seemed like the most extraordinary, frightening, fantastic thing. This is it, exactly it, the 23 I thought about at 18. It was a tall tower I could see from miles away that I never stopped approaching until it was suddenly in my rearview, just as far away as it had always been. I was never going to be that 23, just like I’ll never be that 18 again, or the 23 I actually was again, but I thought about it then, and I think about it now sometimes, mostly when I’m listening to this record, this time traveler from my never-lived past.
Laura Stevenson’s The Wheel is out today and I can’t think of the last album that I felt this way about. Like it was possibly made in a lab for me? Which is a perhaps deludedly narcissistic way to feel about art, but I feel it. I reviewed the record for eMusic—here—but it feels insufficient. To even come close to explaining exactly how deeply I feel this record I would have to spend months trying to write through/about my very early-dawning (still lingering) awareness/fear of death… which happens to be something I’ve been doing anyway, so that’s convenient, but not exactly something to burden casual eMusic browsers with. Anyway, this record. You should hear it.
At the end of the hallway are the double doors leading to the rest of my life. I push them open and walk through.
If you loved and/or love Rilo Kiley, you should definitely read this Carrie Battan tribute/essay-thing cleverly masquerading as an rkives review over at Pitchfork. I did and now I’m having a lot of feelings. Now listening to More Adventurous for the first time in years and thinking about a time in my life when I cried a lot more than I do now and wouldn’t spend more than $2.97 on a skirt at a thrift store but giddily spent upwards of $15-$20 on single skeins of hand-dyed yarn. Also wishing I didn’t delete my LiveJournal, but then again maybe that was for the best. LiveJournal! Only recently has it not seemed terrifying to speak its name aloud. Maybe it never was, maybe it still should be. I don’t know. Bless you, Jenny Lewis, either way.
The White Stripes’ Elephant came out a decade ago. April Fool’s Day, 2003. It is 12 days younger than the Iraq War, outlandishly violent and luridly mesmerizing and visually monochromatic (red and white and black as opposed to night-vision green) the way the Iraq War initially was, beloved and decisive the way the Iraq War was/is not. (Hopefully, at least one pre-SEO-awareness reviewer got away with the headline ‘Shock and Awe.’) It is permanently canonized, if only for the opening seconds of its opening track, ‘Seven Nation Army,’ a seven-note melody you will remember until the day you die, surviving now primarily through the bizarre medium of college-football marching-band chants, floating en masse in the a cappella ether amid another Alabama-Arkansas shellacking like the ghost of the monoculture. Yes, college football, speaking of virility, of violence, of color-coordination, of America, of capitalism, of war.
Have I never been shocked by a record I love hitting the ten-year mark? Something about this always seems impossible. But if it’s true, then it has also been just about ten years since I was about to graduate high school and was pretty broke but really wanted Elephant and went to Target with my little sister and conspired with her to split the cost of the CD—I got the liner notes, she got the jewel case and disc, we burned a copy for me on our parents’ purple and white Compaq Presario. All spring I played the album very loud while driving around in my 1994 Plymouth Grand Voyager, freshly plastered with a YOU CAN NO MORE WIN A WAR THAN YOU CAN WIN AN EARTHQUAKE bumper sticker. HEIGHT OF COOL, right there, I tell you what.
COME ON, Jane Goodall. If I could grasp the concept of plagiarism when I wrote my sixth grade Movers & Shakers Wax Museum report about you, I think you could probably manage the same for your eleventeenth book.
This is actually probably your co-writer’s fault but, you know, I didn’t dress up like HER and sit very still by cardboard reconstruction of the Gombe Research Center with a pile of variously specied stuffed monkeys and recite facts about HER life on demand for two hours after that one Ooltewah Middle School PTA meeting in early 1997. So you, my favorite ponytailed primatologist, are just going to have to deal with bearing the brunt of my impotent ire.
(Thank god Louisa May Alcott and Helen Keller died before the advent of Wikipedia, etc., or I’d probably be dealing with this crap from them too. ALL MY
FRIENDS ADOLESCENT PROTOFEMINIST ICONS ARE DEAD PLAGIARISTS.)