Way back sometime in late 1997 or early 1998, Gregg Araki’s film Nowhere wormed its way into my psyche, grabbed hold tight, and made me show it to all of my friends. I was completely enthralled. I watched it over and over again. I dissected it, analyzed it, explored its themes, bought the soundtrack, and watched Araki’s other features. It was easily my favorite movie for a brief period in college, and I screened it for everybody, hoping in vain for a compatriot to share and revel and delight in this overtly stylized film. Somebody, anybody had to feel the same as I did. Certainly one of my friends would be as captivated as I was.
Am I seeking structure? It’s all but impossible to make it through a normal day without putting pen to paper and concocting a list of some sort or another. Lists of goals, lists of chores, or to-do lists. Top fives, top tens, or top 100’s. Favorite books, favorite movies, or favorite songs. Today even, I spent a half an hour writing an overly long and detailed list of tasks and things to accomplish today and over the weekend, one of which was the actual writing of this essay.
Well, if my clocks are correct and Ryan Seacrest and Carson Daly did not lie to me a couple of nights ago, 2014 has officially begun. So allow me to get my jollys by bombarding you all with some last second year-end, best-of lists. To be fair, I’m repeating myself here, having already spewed opinion and favoritism all over my blog page, so in the spirit of brevity, I’m limiting myself to my top 5 albums of 2013 and my top 5 films of 2013 (for the full lists, go here and here). Without further ado, let’s get to the ranking and filing…
Any popular movement or genre (or sub-genre for that matter) of art or music is bound to spawn imitators. And those imitators spawn imitators who spawn imitators and so on and so forth, until like a copy of a copy of a copy, the original model is so pale and so degraded that it’s impossible to see how awesome and majestic it once was. Such was the case with the grunge music scene of the 1990’s whose initial monster acts gave way to wave after wave of cheap knock-off bands, polished turds of which many are still trolling the reunions circuits and bargain bins of Walmarts across the country. Stone Temple Pilots surfaced during the heyday of the second wave, and while they sold millions of records, the band was critically derided and often criticized as aping a sound that did not belong to them. While those comparisons and critiques were justified in the beginning (and at the end), the group grew organically over their subsequent releases, culminating in two excellent albums that stand out as some of the best music of the genre and the decade, rivaling much of the work of their predecessors.
Lists are popping up all over the internet, as they always do in December, a nonstop onslaught of opinions, items, films, music, and art ranked for your easy consumption and delight. Being a music guy, i too succumb to the unwitting desire to tell the masses what i think of albums and songs that come out year after year after year. But, i’m not necessarily doing that here (for those, head over to heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com). Instead, here are some random albums (compilations, reissues, new soundtracks. and free online mixtapes) that i think deserve your attention…and maybe your dollars too. And so…
Time is moving faster. Or, at least I perceive that it’s moving faster. It’s because I’m getting older, or because collectively our culture is nearing its inevitable end. As postulated by deep thinkers and sci-fi writers alike, time is a fluid thing, and it’s moving in a circular fashion as if down a drain, going faster and faster as it gets closer to the center (the end). Days, weeks, months, years pass in a blur. Seconds, minutes, and hours fly even faster. It wasn’t so long ago that I was unmarried, that I was single, that I was a college student, a high school student, in grade school, an infant. The days were huge and expanding. I had an eternity. All activities were simple specks of time and space strewn out before me.
Everyone knows Faith No More for their absolutely massive hit “Epic” from 1989’s “The Real Thing.” The band’s mix of metal, rap, and funk struck a nerve in both metal heads and pop scenesters alike. It was everywhere. Radio. MTV. There was even a mild controversy over the video’s use of a fish flopping and gasping out of water. Then came 1992’s “Angel Dust.” While eclectic and influential, the record did not perform near as well as its predecessor. Hardcore FNM fans touted it as a masterpiece (which it is), but the fair weather fans and masses jumped ship along with lead guitarist Jim Martin. With Mike Patton now becoming the more principal song writer, the band began to drop some of the rap-metal and glam rock that had propelled them to stardom in the first place. Replacing it was more experimentation and forays into progressive rock.