Brian’s Birthday-O-Rama

An Apology:
The best part about making glaring mistakes is having them pointed out, and then feeling horribly embarrassed about it … wait, that doesn’t sound very good at all, actually. Maybe making mistakes has no noticeable plus side, unless, say … you were an absent-minded professor, and you accidentally added some highly volatile substance to a mixture and created Flubber in an act of sweaty serendipity. That’s the only example that comes to mind. This past issue, I helped with the sprawling web of Broken Social Scene connections, and to my chagrin, I said the supergroup is based out of Montreal, when in fact they’re from Toronto. I think I knew that, but I was subconsciously scared of a. Raptors, b. SARS and c. that Jersey Girl was filmed there, and therefore fled to another Canadian metropolis. I apologize, and hope to reestablish myself and, if you’ll let me, my cred over time.

The End of an Era:
Time, like love and hair, is a universal theme in modern music. As the famous British-American lyricist Madonna once said, “Time goes by so slowly,” the molasses-pace of my personal clock has moved past two decades on this day. Now a mature member of society, totally removed from my teenaged years, my age and experience allows me to look back at that age and the music it inspires in a fully realized retrospective … sort of.

In high school, there are phases I think even casual music lovers go through. The Doors are the best thing ever invented for about a month of a 16-year-old’s life. Jim Morrison is sex incarnate, regardless of orientation or preference, and his music is a direct reflection of that. “Touch Me” is liberation on a CD as a guy pumps his fist or a girl stares creepily at that Jesus/ Jim Morrison poster in her room. Of course, there’s the realization that the band is more unrepressed sex and unfocused art than quality music, which causes a move onto the next phase.

Zeppelin offers a similar good for the awkward adolescent. Be it the explosion of “When the Levee Breaks” or the relaxing feeling of “Over the Hills and Far Away,” Zeppelin is the human experience, at least for a little while. After this, classics either grow old or get replaced by other preoccupations. Modern acts fill the need of rock and roll created by hormones and painful orthodontics.

Alanis Morissette’s musical rantings at Uncle Joey from Full House make for great car drives and The Strokes’ first record played as an anthem for pointless and undirected frustration. The great thing about these bands and songs is their timelessness. People listen to Zeppelin their entire life and The Strokes are always a welcomed surprise on shuffle. One genre, though, missed out by me particularly, and by most in general, seems to slip out of consciousness and lose its effects as listeners move out of their teen years and into adulthood … punk rock.

I wish I had the chance to love the Sex Pistols as a curly haired freshman, failing honors algebra and getting cut from the basketball team. I never found Minor Threat to back my moral crusades as a sophomore and couldn’t rock it to The Buzzcocks either. Brilliant artists with fantastic visions, musically and culturally, but their angst and their power seems lost as time progresses. There’s an optimum receiving time, like say, in an ovulation period, and if the punk doesn’t find its way to the listener, there is no fertilization and the moment is lost.

I listened to the Pistols’ discography for the first time last year, and it was lost on me. Now being an old, old man, like Neil Young’s “Old Man” or like Neil Young himself, I suppose, I wish I had a year or two back to really soak up this great music that passed me by. Although bypassing the whole Hot Topic, Safety Pin lameness has had its advantages. Crap-punk and crap-marketing, more than anything, I think, ruined the dynamics of angst-incarnate found in the founders of punk. Sigh … I think I’ll blog about this on MySpace. What smiley face am I feeling right now?

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