Saturday, April 28, 2007

Neon syrup for the cemetary sisters

Albums I cannot listen to anymore:

TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
The Arcade Fire – Funeral
The Postal Service – Give Up

And it’s a real shame. What this process normally involves is me downloading an album before it comes out, listening to said album on repeat, friend’s discover album, thrash album, kill album. That’s apart from TV on the Radio, which was just forced down my throat, caterwauling through the house I used to live in on an at least a daily and nightly basis; I can’t say I ever liked the record that much but my judgments of it are clearly flawed due to said saturations. I wonder how long I will have to wait before I can enjoy it, or if I ever can; it’s just that it’s one of those albums that I feel as if I should like.

I’m sure there are countless other albums that I’ve avoided listening to because of a similar process. I’m not sure how long I have to wait. But last week I arrived at a friends after a having little bit to drink and she was listening to Funeral at a suitably high volume for the beginning of a night out and I actually experienced a similar feeling to what I did when I first heard it a few years back; it made me extremely excited and I didn’t roll my eyes even once. Still, I'm not going to be putting it on my iPod anytime soon. Their sound (on the excellent new Neon Bible album, too)has a big enough feeling of nostalgia or the past just on it's own.

If this distance between listens was deliberate it’s like reading a novel ten years after the first read, it seems there is a whole other level to be gained from listening to albums after years. I imagine this works better on a grand scale (half yr life later) but I am only young. Still young but I still don’t really have any desire to listen to The Postal Service again. I used to like it a lot with a certain feeling of guilt (so cheesy; stupidly sentimental, stupid techno beats). But maybe one day, for nostalgia kicks, it could work.


tim said...

every time i read the words "the arcade fire" on the internet i add another week to my "avoid the arcade fire" timetable... same goes for tv on the radio. i'm always suspicious of everyone all at once claiming that something is great. people's opinions just shouldn't homogenise like that, its not natural.

i read so much about some albums - without even actively seeking out reviews of them - that i feel like i don't even need to hear them. i don't WANT to hear them.

emmy hennings said...

I can't listen to Gulag Orkestar anymore. This is partly because I overplayed it last year, and partly because it's the only album that my next door neighbours ever seem to listen to. They spin it at high volume several times a week and what's worse, they play along with it, on their accordions. It's punishment.

Like Tim, I tend to run fast in the opposite direction from whatever is being hyped. This means that I have never heard TV On the Radio, to my knowledge. This doesn't bother me.

Listening to albums over a long period of time - and I'm talking years and years, not months - is one of life's great pleasures. Lately I have been trying to make a conscious effort to reacquaint myself with old favourites, and not feel guilty about spending time with music that is comforting and familiar. If you're at all involved in writing/playing/thinking about contemporary music, the pressure to always be investigating what is new is constant. I resent the idea that listening to music should ever become a 'job' - fuck that, it should be pleasurable.

For instance, I have only listened to two albums this weekend. One is The Smiths, many times over. I've been listening to The Smiths since I was thirteen, which is nearly half my life now, and they are one of those rare and special bands that I enjoy more with each passing year, not less. Every time I listen to them I find a little bit more to appreciate and wonder at.

The other record I've listened to is The Sundays' Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, which is a magical album. I discovered this album through a housemate when I was eighteen, and I've yet to tire of it. Every five or six months I pull it out and put it on the turntable, and for forty-five minutes or so I simply listen to it, doing nothing else, and it makes me so happy.

richard said...

oh dear, i feel sorry for you and yr beirut destryoing neighbors emmy! i did learn how to play neutral milk hotel on the accordian once and im sure if i owned an accordian i would try and slaughter plenty of beirut too. my cousin can paly some beirut jams on ukelele really well. im checking out the sundays; downloading now...

i was out in the backyard before and one of my neighbors had coldplay on in the distance, it sort of floated into my yard quite gentle, nice really even if i would never ever listen to a coldplay cd it was enjoyable for some reason.

tim: its a dilemma though isnt it. sometimes albums like funeral get so much fucking hype that its impossible to enjoy them as they once could be just hearing it without any knowledge of it. i find the same thing, avoiding bands because of widespread love for them. still, sometimes its really worthwhile, i mean funeral is a really fucking great album. and its nice when you can find an album or band (the smiths for instance) that you can genuinly NEVER get sick listening to broken social scene now (perhaps not as timeless as the stuff played by morrissey and co) but still, i feel it could never grow old.