Review Summary: How's your bell curve? Mine's right-skewed, average-low.
I've always held tight to this notion that self-loathing is more of a good thing than it is a bad one. At its core, self-contempt might be the most tragically beautiful of circumstances. As a mortal human being, all one can really know for certain is what they experience and disseminate to others between the moment their eyes first opened and the inevitable event when they will last close - but what if that being comes to loathe itself? What if you as an individual grow to hate all that you are and that you've grown to be? What if it comes to pass that there is nothing else beyond this; what if it happens that your entire existence is confined to being a something or someone that you simply hate? Yeah, that would be a seriously profound bummer.
In general I'd think that most people that experience any degree of self-loathing only do so in transient and intermittent flashes. But in those moments, self hate usurps logic and reasoning and becomes everything; it becomes the only thing. From a personal standpoint, I'm an individual with a nearly unlimited degree of potential for what lies ahead, and I've got thousands of moments to look back upon with a nostalgic smile. I'm privileged and intelligent; hard-working and marginally attractive. To put Sean Bonnette's words into proper use, "I'm a straight white male in America - I've got all the luck I need." I get good grades, I go to the grocery store when I'm hungry, I get along with my parents. I get laid, I have great friends, my health is perfect. Fundamentally, I have nearly nothing about myself to hate and all the reason in the world to live each day with a confident disposition and an empyrean gaze. Yet I, like many of the so-very-fortunate individuals around me, can easily slip into these intervals of self-contempt.
But what if there was only one of these intervals, and it happened to span over your entire life. For a lot of the people mired in such a predicament, that span of life is voluntarily cut short. But for others, namely Jim Marburger of Gainesville's I Hate Myself, such self-loathing can be directly transmitted into the most beautifully cacophonous of soundscapes. 10 Songs
is exactly that - the angst, anguish, and self-driven hate of the brothers Marburger and Steve Jin manifested in a contemptuous sonic form. For just short of forty minutes, the choleric trio channel all the anger and frustration of years past into a collection of songs that have withstood the test of time, even though the band itself has not.
From the tired and bleak guitar intro of opener 'This Isn't The Tenka-ichi-Budokai', to its equally worn-out counterpart which concludes 'Secret Lovers…', 10 Songs
is a sloppy, blood-stained discourse on self-deprecation and interpersonal pity. Every one of Marburger's words carries with it the weight of a truly discontented individual, trying their damn well best to not let the bastards get to him but fighting a losing battle. Even the record's minor imperfections - the main one being its lack of transitions between tracks - contribute to its overwhelmingly weary and hateful disposition and further highlight the disjointed and antagonistic individuals that created it. Contrasting such cataclysmic beauty with unbridled chaos, the only full-length release from the Florida-based trio will forever stand as an iconic piece of 90's emo.
It's sad to think that I Hate Myself are no longer around, but the fact itself is by no means surprising. 10 Songs
is the product of three traumatically unstable individuals, and while it might seem right to lament their absence, it's a worthier engagement to appreciate their legacy. If nothing else, it might just offer some perspective on the triviality of one's own issues. Either way, 10 Songs
is the premier soundtrack to self-loathing and testament that something beautiful can come out of it. Thanks, Jim.