Weekly Download Vol. III No. 29

Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy by Jack White (8.8) And we have Blunderbuss, the best White Stripe’s album since the decade defining Elephant and, what has to be called the first real step in Jack’s post Meg healing process. For a thorough review of this brilliance, I’ll direct you to my blog compatriots, Matt and Eric, who, while equally as enrapt with Mr. White as I am, do it supreme justice (including a comparison to Dr. Seuss……for which I can only give them enormous ups). WD gives Blunderbuss a 9, and that’s pretty fucking good.  Hip (Eponymous)(…. hippopotamus (smirk)) may actually be the best song I’ve heard this year….(sigh) sorry, I was really feeling it tonight.

To the left here is the album cover for Blunderbuss, capturing Jack fully immersed in the despondent weirdness he plays so well (N.B. and, after further review, that appears to be a bird on his shoulder….creepy).

Now, as most of you have learned, I’m an expert in nothing….literally nothing. Every bit of bombastic bloviation that appears on these pages stems from no actual expertise, but simply from a desire dump my head’s contents weekly coupled with a what can only be called spurious certainty.

Well, check that. I am an expert in one thing…me. I write about many topics with the expectation I will convey something intelligent about them.  I fail every time. The only time I ever hit anything out of the park, is when I turn my feeble skills of observation inward. Some of my favorite WDs (the words, not the jams) have, post-publishing, ended up being those that highlight some unfortunate eccentricity in the person whose fingers are on the keyboard right now. WDs that ultimately disappointed me the most were those where I had thought I had a firm grasp of some not me related topic only to end up never conveying that which I thought I understood going in. Several of you have told me the same (maybe not that bluntly). And this is me telling you, I guess agree with you.

While I’m certain the unexamined life is not worth living, I’m not giving up on the rest of it. Indeed, I’m resolute that WD won’t turn into some post-internet (double sigh) confessional-autobiography/therapy-diary and I’ll continue to burden you with poorly organized thoughts on the not me related topics.

That is, I will next week.

Back to the cover of Blunderbuss. Here’s something I’ve been kicking around. Three weeks ago I discussed my complete lack of any musical aptitude other than listening to it. But seeing the cover of Blunderbuss made me realize I have another aptitude of the same general utility as listen music, seeing it. Not seeing it, seeing it, not the notes and treble clefs and the chords and whatever the rest of that is, because I don’t what any of that means.  But seeing the picture, the art it paints on my imagination.

There are certain songs (not as much albums) that put me in a specific place. (N.B. In my mind I refer to these as “time machine songs,” but that’s a different post. (N.B. Although, now (fortunately/unfortunately) “time machine songs” are being replaced, a week at a time, by WDs.  To me, this isn’t a good thing.  Who wants to hijack their own memory? Eternal Sunshine?)). But albums, at the least ones with which I become infinitely familiar, always seem to evoke a scene, a mental collage with less coherence than even student film level music videos.  These album accompanying scenes are

invariably some variation of what’s happening on the album cover. At times, the scenes that play in my head are as comforting fulfilling as the music itself (Daydream Nation, Ramones, Who’s Next).  Others have rendered me somewhat unable to enjoy what might be a passable album. ——————————>

Further Examples:

Listening to: The Suburbs – Arcade Fire; Seeing: That sedan on the cover driving all through the Suburbs getting in adventures.

Listening to: Born to Run – The Boss; Seeing: The Boss and the Big Man in heaven playfully leaning on each other in perfect racial harmony, making beautiful music.

Listening to: The Black Album – Jay-Z; Seeing: Scary, dark alley Hova, just being able to make out his silhouette, with a microphone at his lips, laying ominous rhymes on me. And also fat bearded Rick Rubin rummaging through trashcans in the alley (this one’s weird, maybe some music video mixed in it too) discovering new beats.

Listening to: Ten – Pearl Jam; You’d think as much as I’ve listened to this in my life it would had escaped this Pavlovian mental video projector. But no. Every time I hear it, I see them all in their early 90s grunge/ragamuffin best giving one big group high-five, normally just before Porch (yet I never think about the over-wrought video for Jeremy…. weird).


For some reason, to a person with no musical aptitude, the places my mind goes during full-album-immersion-time make deceptive sense.  Of course that’s what the music makes me think of.  It’s the artist’s vision, with music so perfectly crafted that my mind had no choice but to react to it by spinning the tale implied by the single frame of the album cover. Isn’t it?  Or are the wild eyed child on U2’s War and the big-titted rubber gloved nurse on Blink-182’s Enema of the State supposed to whet my appetite for the music therein?

Serious chicken/egg-age here.

Are any of you non-musically inclined readers like this, or is this some creepy by-product of Windshield Time?  Are any of you musically inclined readers like this, or are you seeing chords and treble clefs and contemplating hitting that high C (or whatever) pitch when you hear it, then wishing you could replicate it, be as good as what you’re listening to?

Think of your favorite album.  Then play it.  What do you see?  Anything?

Well so now, every time I listen to Blunderbuss (which, I gotta tell ya, is gonna be often) I’ll see sad Jack, missing Meg, and walking through this factory lit in blue (with a fucking raven on his shoulder) (N.B. totally devoid of the Stripe’s iconic red) strumming his guitar and performing this killer album…..all alone…….just like Jack wanted.


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5 Responses to Weekly Download Vol. III No. 29

  1. mattneric says:

    I play music, but I’ve forgotten most of the theory… so whenever I’m listening to something with a sick guitar or bass line, I’m usually visualizing how I would play it. But I also get the strong “images” that I picture the music being set to… so I know exactly what you mean there. And old Taking Back Sunday or Jimmy Eat World takes me back to high school every time.


  2. TMatt says:

    Jimmy Eat World…..ha. Been a long time on that one. I hear any Sublime, I’ll check out into full high school nostalgia trip.

    Thanks for reading.

  3. Itinerant Play-by-play Man says:

    I was standing in line at a CostCo in Albuquerque(spell that one out twice while holding a scotch) and saw this cover from afar. I thought he had a bonnet on and was an extra from the E.A.P. influenced NiN video “The Perfect Drug”.

  4. Pingback: Weekly Dowload Vol. IV No. 25 | weeklydownload

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