A Song That Makes Me Cry

Well made music stirs emotion. Music can encompass or traverse genre. Emotion? Maybe it is patriotic. Maybe it’s passionate. Maybe it’s funny. Maybe it’s emo and shoe gaze-y. Maybe it’s a lot of things and you can’t quite figure it out because you’re too busy being emotional because of that well made music.

My Achilles’ Heel, musically, is Chumbawamba’s 1997 irritatingly hopeful and delightfully disjointed British pub anthem, Tubthumping. It makes me want to cry every time I hear it. I used to actually cry every time I heard it. Why?

Part of my emotional release is right there in the chorus for all to hear — I get knocked down / but I get up again / y’ain’t never gonna keep me down — over and over again, Sisyphean in its repetition, and significant.

I did that, taking the knock down and getting up again, but not always in a healthy way for me. I made poor decisions based on false equivalence and self sacrifice for things not quite hope shaped. There’s a fatalism there, too, that I tend toward.

The other part my emotional release is in a lyrical bit — Don’t cry for me next door neighbor.

I do not understand why that bit gets me like it does. I expect it’s because I want my emotional process — illness or depression or whatnot — to be mine and not have someone close to me weigh in because that’s how I do it (for better and worse). Granted, in such a case the closeness would be geographical. I further expect I also didn’t want pity, but to have someone to whom I’m only geographically close to expel tears on my behalf would be too much.

Songs that people think should trigger an emotional response? Harry Chapin’s “Cat in the Cradle”, Elton John’s “Rocketman”, maybe the gawdawful “American Pie” by Don McLean. None of those rank in my book.

Throw a “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot at me, a song about sacrifice and circumstance, and we can talk about a tear jerking song.

※ Japan Is The Best Kind Of World Cup Killer

Japan Is The Best Kind Of World Cup Killer:

Japan held two teams’ fates in its hands coming into Thursday’s final round of Group E matches in the World Cup. Sort of funnily, neither of them was its opponent on the day, Spain.

The match day set up like this: Japan entered the day second in the group, with three points, thanks to its shock win over Germany on the group’s first match day. Spain led the group with four points, and with passage through to the round of 16 all but guaranteed by its plus-6 goal differential. Costa Rica’s third-place position felt like last place, owing to a horrible goal differential and the safe assumption that Los Ticos‘ opponents on the day, Germany, would flatten them; Germany’s fourth-place position felt like second, despite the team coming into the day on a single lonely point, at least in large part because it is Germany.

Which part of Japan in the World Cup are you not on board with, assuming you’re not? They play a fast match, their fans clean up after themselves in the stands, and they leave thoughtful things in their locker room after the match for the folks who clean them.

I was in Japan for the last World Cup. They took me from 0 interest in futbol to 100 fast. It was great and I love it and I miss it.

I’m not there, but I’m here and have a soul. Strap me to the Japan World Cup rocket!

※ Everything Is Silicon Valley Now | Defector

Everything Is Silicon Valley Now | Defector:

It’s a cycle. People create something, together, that reflects their energy and weird work; that thing becomes compelling as a result, and that makes it valuable, and at some point someone puts a price on it and someone else pays that price. It is at that moment that the thing begins to change. The new owner will almost always decide that what is most interesting about this thing is not the human essence that gave it value, but The Owner Himself, and will act accordingly. People will come back for the valuable stuff until the owner succeeds in crowding it out; when that crowding is done, the owned thing dies. Until then, what’s left is just what’s valuable—the humanity and brilliance and unpredictability and fun that all that cynical and idiotic and self-serving wealth is always and everywhere busy replacing with itself. There’s nothing to do but look for the good stuff until the looking becomes too challenging, or until it’s gone.

From Nick Heer:

That is something to keep pinned in your brain. For most of us, it is a reminder to be wary of how things are changed in exploitative ways; for those in power, it should be seen as a cautionary pattern.

The Muppets remind us that amidst deep disagreement and chaos, the United States was born | Boing Boing

This fantastic celebration of the birth of democracy in the United States of America seems particularly appropriate today. Today could be your last chance to participate in it! Go vote! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAVpj_Vo7zk …and come on, Kermit, there is always a part for Miss Piggy. Image: screenshot
— Read on boingboing.net/2022/11/08/the-muppets-remind-us-that-amidst-deep-disagreement-and-chaos-the-united-states-was-born.html

What media made me happy last week

This is to what I paid attention:

Dazy are an indie-rock band based out of Richmond Virginia. I’ve got their Rollercoaster Ride b/w Peel and The Crowded Mind on rotation.

I’m re-reading Ender’s Game so that Ender in Exile, the installment author Orson Scott Card later inserted before Speaker for the Dead, will click. I’m 51% through Ender’s Game and it holds up.

Before that I read The Empress of Salt and Fortune. I was tired and emotional at the end … in a good way.

I watched Annika, a PBS Masterpiece series, about a marine police unit in Glasgow, Scotland headed up by the eponymous DI Stranded, played by the always engaging Nicola Walker.

September Media Diet

TV

Evil (Paramount+; 5/5) – still great. The show is equal measure funny, scary, topical, sincere, fun, earnest, skeptical, and then above all totally bonkers. Get the free trial if you don’t already have it to watch this and …

The Good Fight (Paramount+; 4.5/5) – in its final season, I’m only two episodes in of the three released so far but am as on board with it as I ever was. I marvel at the leads in the show and the quality writing by the same crew as do Evil.

What We Do In The Shadows (Hulu; 4/5) – Still funny. Not everything worked this season but the story of the creature that clawed its way out of the torso of the corpse of Collin Robinson made for a comedically brilliant through line.

She-Hulk (Disney+; 4/5) – Tatiana Maslany. I’m not too into Marvel, especially compared with some I know, and as such a lot of the fan service goes right over my head. I’d watch her read the proverbial phone book, so I’m in for the humor and the satire of both super hero and lawyer tropes.

Maggie (Hulu; 3/5) – I looked for a light sitcom and took a flyer on it. Not mentally or emotionally taxing, just a show about people I’d like to hang out with. The episodes I did not care about were the ones the show was meant to be built on. Thus, canceled by Hulu before I even watched it.

Reboot (Hulu; 2.5/5) – I should like this show better than I do. Great cast for the most part. Judy Greer is a treasure. It has its moments, but I don’t think I’ll see this through.

I watched other things like Only Murders In The Building. I’m finding I need a new calculus for the various shows as the commercials offered, especially by Hulu, actively take me out of enjoying the content. We cut the cord from cable to streaming to end up with something far worse.

Movies

The Talented Mr. Ripley (Netflix) – Somehow I missed this or forgot about seeing it. I loved the clothes and locales. The movie lost me when it hit me over the head with the fact that I didn’t like any of the characters, well acted though they were, and didn’t actually care about what happened to them.

I might have watched other movies, but they made little impact.

Music

So much music! Check out Papa Jojo Radio for more info.

Books & Audiobooks

The Ministry For The Future, Kim Stanley Robinson – still making my way through it. It gets too heavy after an hour or two, as much as I’m enjoying it and learning from it.

Rat Girl, Kristen Hersh – reading up for a Throwing Muses piece I’ll do on Papa Jojo Radio soon.

I don’t get the band The National

※ Some people like The National. Others do not. If The National gives you joy, excellent! Stop reading here. Go do good in the world.

I’ve been listening to The National (TN) for a couple of weeks. They are headlining the Moon River festival Saturday night here in Chattanooga. Many of the acts I don’t know well, so wanted to boost my familiarity. Most of what I’ve heard I can get behind, but sadly I don’t get The National.

Somehow they never hit my radar until the Pandemic. I’m into music. I like artists that seem to be associated with TN. TN gets categorized into the “dad rock” category, presumably my wheelhouse. And yet, they never did, as I said, hit my radar. I often assume acts I don’t know hit it big in the U.S. when I was working and living overseas. It was pointed out to me that TN’s peak was well before my foreign travels began in earnest.

I’m sure I heard them as I was out and about in the world. I’m fairly certain that, when I did, I wrote each song off as coming from Crash Test Dummies (“Oh, isn’t it nice those guys are still going.”) or Coldplay (“Oh, isn’t it nice those guys are still going.”). If I heard the band’s name I’m sure I thought it was something about the nightly CBC news show hosted by Peter Mansbridge. Actually, I know I thought that at least a few times in retrospect.

Here I was these last few weeks, giving TN concerted attention. I started with asking Apple Music to play TN. Presumably, Apple Music starts with the biggest hit and goes form there. I struggled to differentiate one song from the next. I went to Reddit to see what r/TheNational had to say for newbies. The answers all boiled down to the albums Alligator, Boxer, and High Violet with other albums as the forth. Maybe they’re an album band and I need to disregard the singles, I thought.

I made it through most of Alligator, but fast forwarded through a lot of songs. Boxer wasn’t much better, but it was better. The lead song, “Fake Empire”, musically works but the lyrics and singing are bland. I got a few tracks into High Violet and gave up.

It occurred to me that maybe TN needs to be appreciated without looking at the lyrics, like early R.E.M. It helps in that the lyrics are mostly … not my taste. They’re like something Dave Matthews would write and then discard.

But the singer, Matt Berninger, seems to only have one vocal gear – dragging his baritone across the equivalent of a shopping mall parking lot. There is no change between songs and between albums. Mr. Berninger always offers the same static performance, eating the microphone while competing with the bass guitar.

I thought a comparison with the previously mentioned Coldplay or Crash Test Dummies, or Bauhaus, or Wilco, or Joy Division, or someone else would help me figure this band out. They don’t. Based on my cursory glance, the members of TN seem to be decent people who collaborate with others and help aspiring artists get noticed. I hope that’s true and wish TN all the best, not that they need my good wishes.

They’re not my jam. And that is OK. I wish I could give my pass to someone who would appreciate the show, but sadly the festival organizers forbid such things … and I want back in for Sunday.

Anniversary Edition

Remember, when an artist puts out an anniversary edition of an album you paid for 10 or 20 or 30 years, that new edition might mean the one you paid for goes away.

If what the artist puts out in their anniversary edition sucks, there is little recourse.

If you have the original LP, cassette, CD, MiniDisc, MP3 files, or whatever, you #OwnYourMedia

REQ: Local music media library organization app

Status

Dear Lazyweb,

What app is best to help me organize my far flung music files? My music library is a mess, and I need it to be less of one. This is very much a 90’s to early 10’s question, yet here I am.

Requirements:

  • Not reliant on Apple iTunes/Music or Amazon Music or Google or similar
  • Not reliant on Spotify or Pandora or similar streamer
  • Handles open and closed (but DRM-free) formats (mp3, ogg, FLAC, ALAC, etc.)
  • Properly tags files
  • Actually organizes (moves files into a file structure)
  • When uncertain, asks or leaves files to be reviewed (non-destructive)

I buy music media – LPs, CDs, cassettes. Some are new; some are used. New stuff I source from Bandcamp or artist sites or local stores.

※ I host a live radio show on WAWL.org every Thursday from 18:00-21:00 Eastern US Time (America/Detroit). There’s a story to it, one I will tell another day. I’ll also make a bigger deal about the show.