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Monthly Archives: October 2007

For the past 3 days, I haven’t been able to get this song out of my head, nor this candy bar out of my mouth. Marilyn McCoo has the eyes of a crazy person on an insufficient dose of tranques, and nuggets of dark chocolate suspended in a cytoplasm of soft caramel is sheer brilliance. I must find the Hazelnut bar at once. Major props to Emily for introducing me to the 5 Stars. I wouldn’t know of half the things I like if it weren’t for you, man.

I finally bought this at Powell’s, and it is excellent. Ashley — you can totally tell which entries are by Sars, and she’s truly in her element here. It’ll make you hella nostalgic for Tomato Nation’s golden era. I’m loaning it to you when I come home.

The only qualm I have with it so far is the pejorative entry about I Love Lucy. Lucille Ball is a sacred television cow (She makes the other television cows look like television…um…ungulates that are appreciably less respectable and compelling than cattle), and to profane her exalted name is to forever condemn oneself in my eyes.

I have been trying to find an opening for this job for months, and I come to find out Alaska is having a job fair this week — only to be crushed by the discovery that you get to train for 5 weeks in Seattle (Be still my heart), which will unfortunately conflict with my stupid school schedule. So instead of getting to go to Anchorage — Rapid City! Tulsa! Minneapolis! — for free (for serious) whenever I am so moved, I get to watch my Intro to Business teacher pat himself on the back over how much money he has made in various real estate ventures for four hours every week for $280 (for fuck’s sake). And to think I was having a hard time remembering why I dropped out of college before this quarter started…

It’s a small consolation, but I think I might make all As this quarter, which hasn’t happened since, I think, freshman year of high school. Making this already small consolation even more minute is the fact that I can say for near certain that most of my freshman high school classes were considerably harder than anything I’m taking now (with the possible exception of Managerial Accounting).

It has recently come to my attention that the word “replete” means “full of”, and not “void of”, which means that I get to be all paranoid for the next 2 or 3 days, and think back to every instance where I might have possibly used that word in error since the age of 16, so I can figure out who secretly thinks I’m an idiot. Awesome.

Likewise awesome is that it just occurred to me that the only reason I was really using it to mean “void of” was because it rhymes with deplete, and if I’d every actually taken two seconds to actually look at the goddamn word, I would have noticed the fucking prefix.

Anyway, you might notice the slight adjustment I made to my last entry based on this discovery. Fuck all of you for not making me aware of this when you read that entry, by the way.

Before I forget: what are your Thanksgiving plans, Mama McDaniel? Could they possibly include me? And if not, maybe a trip to the Casa with you and Ken the weekend after Thanksgiving? I get in on Wednesday, and I have to spend Thursday with the folks, and I’ve got to spend some quality time with the Ashley (and hopefully Shirey and the Fraz?), but other than that I’m wide open, and crazy starved for some Fritter Love.

Shiny = Shitty. (Also shitty? My pedestrian stabs at ‘clever’ titles.)

So the new Joni Mitchell album Shine came out last week. Given the bitter, raving idealist she’s become in recent public interviews, my expectations were not terribly high. They even did a press-release style YouTube video for the album with her commentary, and in the same breath she manages to rail against corporate hegemony, and then thank Starbucks — Starbucks — for handling the album’s release and promotion. I hate it when people I admire so fervently make me wince so hard.

The mere fact that she’s releasing it through Starbucks — the same way that false musical messiah Paul McCartney dropped his latest craphole of a record — makes me a little queasy. I am also slightly annoyed — though hardly surprised — that his album received buckets more of attention, despite not being any better.

Even more than that, it makes me sad that the first exposure that a whole slough of young barristas are going to have to the most influential female musician of the last century will be having an unusually shitty album forced upon them over the Muzak system 100 times per shift. I won’t blame them if they’re not particularly eager to dig into her seminal 70’s stuff after this.

But so of course I dropped by the PSU Starbucks on Tuesday to purchase it. How could I not?

It’s weird how hearing something you dislike can so rapidly draw all of the attributes about something you do like into sharp relief. I’ve never been able to really explain why I liked Mitchell’s lyrics so much. But hearing the lyrics on this CD, it’s super easy to define what was present on previous albums that’s absent here:

It’s the careful little observations she makes about her subjects. It’s how she can be singing about an object of love or revulsion, and no matter what she still manages to give enough empirical, unbiased attention to it that she can uncover something that you either missed or didn’t fully understand. It’s the details she includes when describing something that are superficially irrelevant, but her inclusion of them makes all the difference in your perception. It’s lines like “He makes friends easy — he’s not like me; I watch for judgment anxiously,” which describes my social demeanor to a fault plus end rhyme! It is, as a reviewer on Amazon put it, “…moments where the specificity of images meets the vagary of the instrumental arrangements,” which is something I’ve been trying to put into words since forever.

Anyway, Shine is empty of any of that stuff that make the songs from her glory days so great to listen to. Here, she’s dissilusioned about everything to the point where she can do nothing more than generalize. The objects of her disdain are trite and vague. The environment, war, consumer culture, la-de-da. Nothing new to say about any of it. The assertions she makes about this stuff aren’t particularly melodic, either. Neither, for that matter, are the melodies. Her musical awesomeness has mostly waned since the 80’s, and it’s hit a new low point here. The only track that really stands out is the completely instrumental One Week Last Summer, which reminds me of the openings to a whole bunch of her other songs.

But so the good news is that the crappyness of a million Shines couldn’t undo the joy of one Hejira. She can make blah albums until she dies, and I’ll still be grateful to her for the experience of driving to nowhere, listening to Amelia, and forgetting everything beyond the edges of the windshield.