I got the pulsatin' rhythmical remedy (busychild424) wrote,
I got the pulsatin' rhythmical remedy

  • Music:

Okay, I kind of like this record.

I realized a few days ago that strangely enough, Blink 182's music has had an odd emotional parallel with my life for a lot of years.

They started out making silly stupid fun music at a time when I was having a lot of silly stupid fun in my life. The only song I ever really performed well when doing karaoke was All The Small Things, and that was the first song on my going-out-drinking CD.

Their music and my life were dotted even then with serious moments though. When my cousin Adam shot himself at the age of 17, Blink had just released an album with a song on it called Adam's Song. This is no joke:
I never thought I'd die alone
I laughed the loudest who'd have known
I traced the cord back to the wall
No wonder it was never plugged in at all
I took my time, I hurried up
The choice was mine, I didn't think enough
I'm too depressed, to go on
You'll be sorry when I'm gone

I never conquered, rarely came
16 just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn't wait to get outside
The world was wide, too late to try
The tour was over we'd survived
I couldn't wait till I got home
To pass the time in my room alone

I never thought I'd die alone
Another six months I'll be unknown
Give all my things to all my friends
You'll never set foot in my room again
You'll close it off, board it up
Remember the time that I spilled the cup
Of apple juice in the hall
Please tell mom this is not her fault

I never conquered, rarely came
16 just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn't wait to get outside
The world was wide, too late to try
The tour was over we'd survived
I couldn't wait till I got home
To pass the time in my room alone

I never conquered, rarely came
Tomorrow holds such better days
Days when I can still feel alive
When I can't wait to get outside
The world is wide, the time goes by
The tour is over, I'd survived
I can't wait till I get home
To pass the time in my room alone
The line about mom makes me cry every time...

Then a couple years ago when Tandra left me and I was absolutely miserable, useless, and consumed with distress, Blink's self-titled album dropped. It was clear that the group had matured musically and personally, and I'd heard that due to their huge commercial success, their label had allowed them to deviate somewhat from the MTV formula that made them famous and explore themselves musically. This combined with their undeniable musical talent resulted in a truly great album which was strangely appropriate for that time in my life, including the following:
I Miss You
Hello there the angel from my nightmare
The shadow in backround of the morgue
The unsuspecting victim of darkness in the valley
We can live like Jack and Sally if we want
Where you can always find me
And we'll have Halloween on Christmas
And in the night we'll wish this never ends
We'll wish this never end

Where are you and I'm so sorry
I cannot sleep I cannot dream tonight
I need somebody and always
This sick strange darkness comes creeping on so haunting everytime
And as I stared I counted the webs from all the spiders
catching things and eating their insides
Like indecision to call you
And hear your voice of treason
Will you come home and stop this pain tonight
stop this pain tonight

I've been here before a few times
And I'm quite aware we're dying
And your hands they shake with goodbyes
And I'll take you back if you'd have me
So here I am, I'm trying
So here I am, are you ready?
I'm Lost Without You
I swear that I can go on forever again
Please let me know that my one bad day will end
I will go down as your lover, your friend
Give me your lips and with one kiss we begin

Are you afraid of being alone
Cause I am, I'm lost without you
Are you afraid of leaving tonight
Cause I am, I'm lost without you
So, you can see how that might find its way into my heart at a time like that. But even then, in my mind those parallels were disparate individual things - I hadn't yet realized the pattern. I just thought they were a group I liked.

Well, that's not entirely true. I think I had this subconscious, nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I should be a more active fan, maybe actually pay for some of their music, see them play live, explore the rest of their music, or something. But I just never got around to it. In fact, I even won a pair of tickets to the Vans Warped Tour in Kansas City in the summer of 2002, but I didn't have anyone to go with, or couldn't get the time off work, or something, and I didn't go. I should have.

Last week Tandra fell asleep watching Next or some other dumb crap on MTV. Around 5:45 the next morning Kai started wailing, so I had to get up and change his diaper and give him a bottle. This is unusual; he generally doesn't do that before I get up for work and take care of him. So around 6:15 I was asleep again, though perhaps not as deeply as before, when something caught my ear. It was enough to pull me up out of the depths of dreaming to a place where I was just conscious enough to think, "wow, I don't know what that is, but I really like it." And as I liked it more and more I listened more closely until at one point I thought, "That sounds an awful lot like Blink 182. Ooo, maybe they've got some new stuff out, that's worth checking out." By the end of the song I was awake enough to drag my nearsighted squinting ass up close to the TV to see what the new album was called, absolutely convinced that it was Blink. I was very surprised to read that it was just another of the multitude of soundalike bands with a dreamy emo/Coldplay name - Angels and Airwaves, and the song was called "The Adventure."

"Okay," I decided, "I'm awake now, and even though that was MTV, I liked that enough to check it out." (Looking into new music is something I rarely do any more.) So I put my glasses on and stumbled over to the computer where I discovered that there was a very good reason why it sounded like Blink 182 - this band is fronted by Tom DeLonge, guitarist and vocalist for Blink. Unfortunately, discovering this meant that by necessity, I also discovered that Blink 182 broke up, I guess almost a year ago. If I'd been a better fan I'd have known that before now. And it was at that moment that I realized the kinship I felt with Blink and their music that I've described here. I also realized that I really regret never having seen them perform.

Growing up I always had this philosophy on concerts: It's always worth whatever sacrifice it takes to go, even if an electricity bill goes unpaid or something, because it's something you might never get another chance to do. When you think back, you won't remember how strapped you were for the couple weeks after the show, but the memories of seeing that artist perform which meant so much to you will always be there. I mean, look at the Simon and Garfunkel reunion concert in Central Park - the S&G folk music hippie era was long gone by then, replaced by stuffy cubicles and Moonlighting. That concert was an amazing and rare second chance for people who never got to see S&G in the 60s and 70s, but you know there's no way it was quite the same - their voices would have changed slightly, they had to have been a little out of sync by then, and many of the people who really felt S&G during their youth, who would have been on LSD and had flowers in their hair at the time, they probably had to find babysitters or bring their kids along to the concert - life and therefore music would just not have been quite the same. So I always went to concerts when performers I liked went on tour. I've been to Tulsa, Kansas City, Lawrence, and Denver for concerts. I've seen 311 twice, Orbital twice, the Crystal Method three times, and the Samples four or five times.

But I never bothered to see Blink, and now I have to wait and hope for a reunion show, which will never be the same as they were in their heyday, and I feel sad about that.

But I liked this AVA song so much that I decided to download the entire album via bittorrent. I set it to download before going to work, and when I got to work, connected to the home computer and uploaded it to myself at work.

Oh - AVA is the abbreviation for Angels And Airwaves. In their logo, the A for And is flipped upside down. Looks cool, and Ava is Tom's daughter's name.

Anyway, I fired up the album in Winamp, and I seriously have not listened to anything else since then. I can't believe or even explain how much I like it. I'm old enough and I make enough money that I can pay for the music I really think is worthwhile, and I feel good supporting artists who I think actually make good music. So when I got paid on Friday, the very first thing I did was go out and buy their album, and Blink 182's best of CD.

If the maturity and evolution from the beginning of Blink 182's musical career to the end contributed to the quality of the music, then the undoubtedly painful breakup of the band and Tom's newfound freedom of musical expression have had ten times the effect. Listening to this album I hear shades of what I consider to be the best of U2's days - the Joshua Tree/Achtung Baby era. I discovered today that I'm not the only person who thinks that - there have been major music magazine reviews comparing AVA to the exact same albums. When I played it for Tandra, she pointed out that the full, lush sound of this band and some of their melodies and instrumentation combine to evoke strong images of the Cure's Disintegration album, and I have to agree with that as well.

I can't explain why this album resonates with me the way it does. I'm sure part of it is the emotional connection I've realized I feel to Blink's music, and you can definitely hear traces of Blink in AVA. Part of it might be the way their sound evokes memories of those U2 and Cure albums - music I listened to at a younger age when music seemed so much more amazing and revolutionary and when listening to music helped me to express feelings I hadn't yet learned how to manage any other way. And I'm sure part of it is the fantasy and optimism in the lyrics. I've always loved dreamlike feel-good imagery - the vague, symbolic, poetic, angelic and hope-inspiring lyrics and vocalizations of Enya's music; the blind, happy, youthful optimism present in Blink's earlier work; the scene in Contact where Ellie (Jodie Foster) visits a world conjured by her mind that combines her childhood image of a Florida beach with her lifelong pursuit of life among the stars. The liner notes on this disc even have some of that fantasy/sci-fi artwork in them, and even the cover art and font used appeal to me and seem to match up with the overall feeling.

I mean, look at this, from The Gift:
There's a strangest excitement today
If you're awake then you're welcome to hear
I got a gift and it blew me a way
From the far eastern sea straight to here
Oh God I feel like I'm in for it now
Its like the rush has gone straight to my brain
But my voice is as lonely as loud
As I whisper a joy of this pain

And suddenly
You've done it all
You won me over
In no time at all

And now I'll stop the storm if it rains
I'll light a path far from here
I'll make your fear melt away
And the world we know disappear
On the surface of it, especially coming from a skeptical point of view, I can't justify it. If you're not into it, it's going to sound like every other Sum 41/Lit/Blink/neo-punk/alternative whatever you want to call it formula rock band on MTV.

But for me, it's been a very long time since I heard music that made me emotional - not because it was sad, but because of how much I liked it.

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