Review Summary: real irreparable loss hours / i'm too old for this shit
Craigslist -> NZ -> Auckland. 2009. Missed Connection: You were an album with striking album art, visceral, the kind of album art that features in "1001 best album covers OF ALL TIME" coffee table books. You were a regular at many music sites I frequented, although at the time you lingered in the corner, hid behind your drink, put your headphones in and fixated on your laptop; I hear that's changed, since, but I can't be sure. I'm embarrassed to confess this but -- hoo babey, here we go, we're on craigslist right anyway, haha -- i saw part of you, the delicate and suggestive strip between where the top of jeans end and the bottom of blouse begins. I listened to Jesus Christ. I loved it. It seemed so resonant, so beautiful, so lyrical. I felt like you'd get me, alone and precocious and sad all the time for no reason. But for some reason I never approached you. I'm sorry, i know, but back in those days i was on dial-up internet (remember that haha) and I could only download one album a day from the library lest I raised suspicion and, I don't know, I just never got around to saying hi, introducing myself, getting to know you. But now my comfort albums are worn out, like much-beloved soft toys hidden in chests, I wish I had known you, back then, and that we had gotten to know each other. But I don't know. I remember Toby Driver was so alluring, bedroom eyes glittering and he had a solo album and I don't know I got swept away in the experimental romance of it all -- I guess I just kind of forgot all about you for a while there. I know we met, and hung out, but it wasn't the same as it would have been. I'm sorry I guess. I could use you now.
Contrary to popular opinion, it's not much fun being contrary. There's not a whole lot of pleasure to be gleaned from telling people that actually, GY!BE are ***, or that their favourite album is trash is entry-level or trite or insipid or crude or misogynistic or whatever. More often, I wish I understood what some cruel God has chosen to obfuscate from me. I grope around hazily in enough corridors as it is. When I go for walks these days, which is often, the light shines in brilliant white lines against my field of vision, and -- you know how sometimes you smell a fragrance, and it takes you back to situations, people, with such vividity it can leave you reeling?. The light shines in a certain way and I remember The Guillemots, Feels, the suite of stuff I listened to that magical summer before I left my home-town to make new mistakes at University.
This album isn't one of those albums.
Which is to say: the extra ache I feel, when I appraise this record, which wasn't often but is surprisingly often these days, is that of a missed opportunity. If I had have heard this album in high school, i would have fallen head-over-heels, ass-over-tit. I was older, and I didn't fall in love with the same ease, especially not with barre chords and emo punk. The lyrics "I'm not your family" fell on grizzled ears that had heard the sentiment before. Even Jesus Christ, the pinnacle of the album, is kind of adolescent, right? Jesus Christ I'm alone again? Jesus Christ.
How much difference a year makes. I listened to this album in full -- after adoring Jesus Christ for a while -- before I returned to university, out of first year. I was, in hindsight, detracted, lost, missing people who, I was surprised to find in retrospect, were intrinsic in forming me. Isn't that always the way. I thought i was invincible, indomitable, learned, ***ing educated. Just a year before, I had heard American Football and Cap'n Jazz and Unwound and I carry them with me now, and I hope it always will. And it's not just that I suspect The Devil and God would have entered this pantheon -- it's that I know
. I would have fallen hook, line and sinker for the guitar solo that concludes Limousine, the shades of optimism which permeate Luca and Handcuffs. Now I know better. I think Limousine is a cynical exercise in cheap emotional manipulation -- i'm sorry, but who doesn't know someone who's died in a car crash? and of course the victim has to be a female child, the very essence, a metonym, of vulnerability and potential, Luca stupid and faux-poetic, Hand Cuffs trite in its symbolism and musical composition.
We talk about music entering our lives at the right moment, but never the wrong one; we talk about albums that are given a chance to grow on you, to age well, but not ones that stagnate. So let this be a testament I guess. The smallest of choices matters because I could ***-sure go for a drink with you now, the way you were back then.
What might have been.