i'm tooling around in my girlfriend's apartment, since i don't have work today... i've been meaning to go get some breakfast, but i'm an internet junky.
anyway, as to the sudden reflectivicity... ever since i got my college journal in accessible form i've been thinking a lot about just all sorts of shit that i thought i had successfully repressed, mostly all these crazy ambitions that i had that i've sinced toned down to a more realistic level.
many times in college i swore to myself that if i were not well on my way towards rock stardom by the time i was 25, i'd go back to school and maybe get a Masters in English, or something.
well, i turned 25 in December, and instead of going to school, i'm temping. and instead of being in the band that i thought was going to rock the free world, i'm actually working on my own stuff. i hardly even talk to those guys anymore. hell, the Ferns broke up a month ago and with the exception of the drummer (who was asking me about Tortoise tickets - shit, i gotta go deal with that) i've not heard a peep from any of 'em. i'd say i'm only in touch with about 10% of the people i called friends in college, and we all still live in NYC; it's not like we graduated and then suddenly went in 20 different directions.
there's a saying that youth is wasted on the young. goddamn right. there's another saying about "if i knew then what i know now..."
yeah, well, i didn't - nobody does - and i can only imagine how hard i'll be laughing in another 10 years when i think back on this particular phase in my life.
i gotta get back to my apartment soon - i'm really close to finishing 2 new songs. and maybe some lyrics, too.
today's record review of the day comes to you courtesy of Pitchfork, brought to my attention by the ever-alert Mr. Dixon:
The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
Survey time! How many of you readers have a blog? Show of hands, please. Go on, you don't have to fear recrimination from your fellow music fans-- no one can see you. Hmm... yeah, that about what I figured. Okay, I lied; here comes the recrimination. What makes you bloggers think people want to read about your mundanities? Diaries used to be private things, you know. Repressed societies like Britain and New England have the right idea: bury it and smile. And they built a whole empire on that social strategy (Britain, not New England). The thing about it is, no matter how good the writing in a blog might be, the taint of self-indulgence stains it wholly. It's a lost cause.
Dashboard Confessional made a name for themselves with their first album, last year's Swiss Army Romance, displaying that same kind of emotional exhibitionism. Too bad they were tardy enough to be caught up in the emo backlash that was just getting a full head of steam going then. At times sounding like a letter to a local personal advice column, The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most, is Chris Carraba's exploration of his eggshell psyche, and recorded onto intimate plastic for us to pine along to. Imagine ten better-than-average blog entries set to remedial acoustic guitar. Then try to imagine why you would want to listen to that.
The drama club hysterics and 10th grade poetry that Carraba spews out quickly wears its welcome thin: "This basement's a coffin/ I'm buried alive/ I'll die in here just to be safe," and, "This medicine is just what you deserve/ Swallow choke and die/ And this bitter pill is leaving you with such an angry mouth." The biggest tragedy is that this extreme hokiness is delivered in Carraba sweetly melodic and broken-sparrow-wing voice: surfer-boy with the tiniest suggestion of early Robert Smith in the vowels. Neat, but unforgivably wasted.
The only song that stands out from the pack is "Again I Go Unnoticed." Catchier and more driving than the rest of the album, the song actually approaches poignancy by employing a more oblique storytelling approach to the same old relationship pain. Plus, the energy is refreshing amidst the constant syrup-thick melodrama. By the end of the disc, though, Carraba's sincerity has apparently overwhelmed him. His voice cracks, then crumbles on each of the last two tracks, as he strums that guitar like it's the lover who jilted him. If it's too much even for him, why should we be expected to enjoy it?
Dashboard Confessional, with this sophomore album, continue making music for sensitive, gender-role-enlightened, bedwetting emo boys. I'm sure that doesn't apply to any of you bloggers who raised your hands at the beginning of this review. For someone to bare his soul so completely, so vulnerably, is a powerful, almost libido-like thing; it can't be sabotaged by insignificantsia like interesting song structures, original melodies or skill on the fretboard. It's from the heart, man. It doesn't need to be good.