Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Six months of emo songs

Of course, I was listening for much longer than six months.

Nonetheless, I have been using songs from artists mentioned in Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo by Andy Greenwald from April 2nd until today, just over six months.

One nice things about the daily songs is that they can help crystallize impressions. I have some thoughts when a I review an artist, but then going back a little later and choosing which song of theirs I want to share, it brings it back. I am better now at identifying ear worms, and I think the reviews and the daily songs are part of that.

Today I finished up with a final song from Saves The Day. That felt fitting because I used more songs from Save The Day than any other band, and some of that is liking them, but also some of that is they were mentioned multiple chapters and were previously unknown to me.

Each time I listened, more songs would stand out. My notes on the first two mentions are merely "okay" and "not bad", but I ended up feeling more positive on them. Familiarity doesn't always breed contempt; sometimes it allows a greater appreciation to grow.

The last time I wrote about this project, I mentioned one band that I had found really annoying, but I was going to listen again because they were on the Alternative Press list. I think they were less annoying. It's still not liking - for sure - but they did not seem as terrible.

It is wonderful when a song just seizes you and you are like "This is the band!" That has happened for me with "I Wanna Be Sedated", "Train In Vain", and "Welcome To The Black Parade". Sometimes it is magic. However, there is a good reason to look beyond the hooks and give some things a greater chance. When I review, I try and listen to everything at least three times, and I stand by that. If there is still nothing to say after three times, that review becomes very hard to write, but I tried.

The most interesting evolution for me was the one with The Starting Line. On the first listen, I thought they were so emo (I was starting to grasp the term) - especially "Bedroom Talk:" - that it was sadly funny, but heard some good intros and things. By the fourth time, I had started to like them. Then I looked at the lyrics. Yeah, it's emo all right; it's the worst part of emo. That will probably be its own post later.

I had originally given myself all of October to catch up on the Comixology cache, but I hurried it up as I saw that I was coming to the end of daily emo songs. I did that because I like putting updates together, and because some of the flaws you find in some comics are remarkably similar to the flaws that you find in some emo songs (which is why it becomes a bigger topic than comics or music), but also because of how those projects are for me.

I am good at diving into things, but that is because I really like knowing and understanding things. If it is about something I like, that's even better, but also, I am pretty good at liking things. I mean, I do like knowledge in general, but there are topics where it means more, and comics and music are up there.

When I first wanted to understand what people meant when they were calling things "emo" (or defending against being called "emo"), that's why I read Nothing Feels Good, and that's why the extent to which it didn't really help was very disappointing. But hey, I was able to pull a curriculum from it, and five years later here we are.

I feel very comfortable with the term now. That's fine on its own, but also - and this was a point yesterday too - there is so much left. There are 24 bands from the book that I want to spend more time on. I don't know if they will all get full reviews, but they will at least get more listening time.

There are also some groups that came after emo but who have some similar associations to check out. That will be interesting.

Those are going onto the back burner for a little bit, because I want to review UFO and their catalog is so big I am having to spread it out over several weeks. There is new music from Electric Century, The All-American Rejects, and Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie.

Plus I have about 70 bands reviewed over the last six months who are waiting for their shot at the daily song, along with all of the other bands in the review queue.

Because of all of this (and a lot of regular books I am reading) I will not be starting Guitar Heroes of the 70s until next year. Sometimes you need to know your limits.

But if you are curious, here are the bands that are slated for additional future listening, in the order of my deciding I was interested:

Current, Jawbreaker, Texas is the Reason, Jawbox, Mogwai, Rye Coalition, Superdrag, The Hives, Interpol, Atmosphere, Nelly, Social Distortion, Face to Face, Samiam, FenixTX, Allister, The Rocking Horse Winner, Something Corporate, The Insurgent, Frail, Rocket from the Crypt, Finch, Antiflag, and Engine Down

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