Tuesday, November 29, 2005

no, i haven't heard your band 'cause you guys are pretty new

(recent image from postsecret)

When you're trying to get schoolwork done, there are few more destructive distractions than getting an e-mail from your newspaper editor that gives you less than 24 hours to send in a list of your top 5 albums of 2005. I hate year-end lists. I would much prefer reading, or writing, a non-ordinated selection of no fixed length of Really Good Stuff That People Would Do Well To Check Out. What does "top 5" even mean? The best five? What gives me the expertise or right to choose the best 5 records of everything that came out in the last twelve months? I've only heard about 20 full-lengths that came out this year. My five favourite releases, despite my highly questionable taste? I loved Ley Royal Scam's The Pregnancy Scare demo but that might not be the kind of love you share, with anyone, ever. How could I defend choosing B.A. Johnston's My Heart Is A Blinking Nintendo if it meant I left, say, The Constantines' Tournament of Hearts off my list? Should I include a local release that I have listened to more than probably anything else this year, knowing that if someone asks me why it's better than Sufjan Stevens' Illinois, I will have absolutely no satisfactory answer? (FACT: I like that record, and have listened to it a decent amount, but off the top of my head, I can't hum you anything from track 15 on, and there are 22.) Maybe I should wash my hands of the entire dilemma and just send this in:

  1. Weezer - Make Believe
  2. Weezer - Make Believe
  3. Weezer - Make Believe
  4. Weezer - Make Believe
  5. Weezer - Make Believe
If the above made any sense to you, and even if it didn't, you might want to consult The Field Guide To North American Hipsters, Vol. 1. Since most of you come here by Googling things like "songs about rejection" and "wayne petti's girlfriend," you are probably in there somewhere. (Oh, and also, you've been googling "kalan porter." I know your dirty little secret.) I'm not just pointing fingers -- I'm in there too:
Identification: Even if you live in the wilds of the Yukon, there'll be at least one shitty local band and at least fifty idiots who turn up at all their gigs and nod along to the music (the "beers in both hands" dance). In larger towns, there will be dozens of shitty local bands, and the scene will be bolstered by all the members of the shitty local bands turning up to see all the other shitty local bands when they play shitty local gigs. The local scene idiots will be at every show, fervently yelling out requests for songs that only members of their pathetic little stratum will ever hear ...

Local Scene Idiots are only cool to each other. If they go two towns over, they won't get much mileage out of knowing all the members of Butt Attack personally, because Butt Attack's rusty van can't make it that far afield without overheating. In minor markets, local scene idiots can never rise above "big fish/small pond" status, but that's enough for them. "Someday," they tragically think, "when Butt Attack gets huge, I'm going to say I knew them when."

Musical Taste: Butt Attack.

Benefits of Friendship: They'll get you out of the house. Even if the bands they love are crap, even if the local clubs are terrible, and even if the house parties they drag you to are lame, they'll get you out of the house, and you'll always love them for it.

Drawbacks of Friendship: When you've seen every band in your town fifty times and they've shown no signs of improvement, you might begin to curse your local scene idiot friend for dragging you out of the house when you could have been watching Hard Copy in your underwear.
Why does the Internet know everything about my life?