Weekly Download No. 46

Golden Haze by Wild Nothing.  I heard this song and was drawn to it immediately.  I really have no reason to offer for this attraction.  It just sounds good and I like it a lot (ladies and gentlemen, music criticism at its finest).  What it really reminds me of is the 80s or it sounds like the 80s (specifically, I can hear it playing over the closing credits of an “80s” movie).  Having these thoughts, I began to mull over what they actually meant.  There is certain music that triggers something in me that makes me think “yeah, 80s.”  Common sense (which I think we would all agree is at times conspicuously absent from these discussions) would indicate that a song makes me think “yeah, 80s” because it has some musical/structural/lyrical/instrumental similarity to (drum-roll) music of the 80s and one would think (N.B. I had a professor in undergrad who was adamant in his belief that if you read anything in which the author constantly made use of the word “one” instead of “you” then that author was lying to you.  As such, we were immediately subject to professorial scorn if we submitted papers using “one” where he believed “you” was appropriate.  At the time I found it a little silly.  Now, (although most usage and style treatises advise otherwise) I see his point.  If I can’t write something to “you” as in “if you listen to this closely, you can really hear the early Sonic Youth influences” as opposed to “if one listens to this closely, one can really hear the early Sonic Youth influences” then I don’t really believe it myself and I’m probably just trying to sound smart (or hip).  I liken this to being unable to look someone in the eyes and lie to them.  It’s much easier simply to look at the ground when I tell you “no dude, I think it’s cool that you let her eat lunch with her ex.”) said similarity triggers something in my head which equates said song with music I listened to in the 80s.  However, in reality, the oldest I ever was in the 80s was 11.5.  I wasn’t listening to shit besides the soundtrack to Iron Eagle; the soundtrack toRocky IV and this.  So that got me thinking, “why does certain music that sounds a certain way “remind” me of the music from a decade in which I never even listened to music?”  I came up with two possible solutions (1) I actually was hearing this music in the 80s and it imprinted somewhere in my lobes in such a way that music such as Wild Nothing reacts to it (my analysis of this is: not bloody likely) (2) I read about and listen to a lot of music. After reading enough, presumably older, music aficionados say “yeah, 80s” in response to listening to something like Wild Nothing (or countless other stuff), I have blindly taken them at face value.  As a result, in my mind, there are several musical/structural/lyrical/instrumental styles of music I just automatically classify as “yeah, 80s” even though I have no real basis for doing so (my analysis of this: 95% accurate.).  So, to sum up, one cannot know much about the music from a decade during which one did not listen to much music.  But I do feel like I know quite a bit about 90s music.  As luck would have it, this week Pitchfork is ranking the top 200 tracks of the 90s.  Check it out here.  Now at least 50% of these (probably more) you’ve never heard of (at least I haven’t).  Pitchfork is notorious for their obscure music snobbery and grandiose sounding incomprehensible reviews (and I’m a little jealous of that, I must admit).  But as far as trips down memory lane go, there has been some good stuff on there so far (200-101).  Interstate Love Song, remember that? Strong.  New Radicals, You Get What You Give. One of my all time favorites. Yes.  The 90s were much cooler anyway.  Enjoy.

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