So, I really thought that I'd get another review done today. I mean, yes, I admit to dropping the ball and deciding to watch Merlin on Netflix with my mom as soon as I woke up. And then maybe when my sister came home we went jogging, and of course I had to take a shower. And eat dinner. And now it's 9 o'clock, and I really don't want to use my brain.

You might expect that the bare minimum for today would probably be another really depressing post about something in my life, where I don't actually go into detail, but just sort of whine about it for several paragraphs. But to be honest, I'm really not feeling it. Not only do I not want to sit around and make myself depressed just so I can write something, but to a certain extent, I'd like to think that these sad things are behind me, and that I can look forward to something new and depressing in the future to write about.

If you're still reading, by now you've probably realized I am not actually going to post anything worthwhile. You can probably stop reading now.


If I Could Just Leave My Body For A Night

Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective

Certain albums simply define entire periods of a person's life. For me, 2007 was largely devoted to Of Montreal's amazing Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, while 2006 was Minus the Bear's entire discography up to that year. For most of 2009, I hadn't really listened to much music until I finally listened to Merriweather Post PavilionThis probably isn't uncommon for most people. As one of the best-received album in years (they got a 9.6 on Pitchfork, for goodness sake), most people are at the very least aware of Animal Collective, and even more have strong opinions about them (Because of this, it's almost embarrassing to seriously attempt a review of it).

I started listening to Animal Collective years before I heard "My Girls" for the first time, after hearing "Chores" and "Fireworks". Even though I liked them, I tend to enjoy music for only short cycles, and soon enough I had forgotten about Animal Collective. The next time I heard Animal Collective, I was in a cafe working when "My Girls" came on the radio. It may have been the extremely shitty stereo, or it may have been the unbearable heat and frustrating customers (this particular cafe is located by a Gene Juarez salon, whose hair stylists would be almost likable if they weren't uppity-snobs that never ever tip), but I absolutely hated what I heard. I spent several months completely ignoring the album, which wasn't hard to do when my computer crashed and all my music disappeared.

At some point in the year, however, my stubbornness was finally broken when I realized I wasn't finding any good music to listen to on my own. I no longer had people recommending me music to listen to, and it had been such a long time since I had looked up music on a site like Elbo.ws or Hype Machine that I really didn't know where to start. Well aware of the fact that most albums I hate I eventually love, I turned to Merriweather Post Pavilion.

I'd rather not try to go through each song and pick it apart, lyric by lyric, simply because I realize how long this post has already become (and also because I am itching to just get distracted and procrastinate on publishing this yet again). Anyone familiar with any Animal Collective song knows that there is rarely a clear narrative to any song. Much of the vocals are lost in reverbs, noise, and sometimes just complete vocal distortions so as to render any word incomprehensible. Instead, songs center around a general feeling or event which may only become evident after sitting down carefully with a pair of good headphones and the lyrics next to you. Even so, there are few bands that can capture a single emotion as keenly as Animal Collective.


Sun Bronzed Greek Gods

I'm literally sitting six drafts right now for this blog. Over the past two months, I've actually been wanting to write. And I happen to have some good ideas too. Each post is tagged with clear labels, each one has a carefully picked out title. Some even have their introductions written. And at some point in the middle of the post, my brain goes "Fuck it, let's check Hark, a Vagrant and then go bake something and then fall asleep." This type of thing usually happens with every blog I write ever, and I very nearly have to chain myself to the desk in order to finish anything. That's why, if anyone actually has talked to me while I am blogging, I average 4 to 6 hours per blog post (try to imagine how long it takes to write an essay).

There are people who probably wonder what I've actually been doing, if I haven't been listening to music or writing (namely, concerned friends that haven't seen me in about three months and only get sporadic emails). And the truth will probably piss people off, because there are people with actual problems in their life, that are actually working and doing things. But here it is: I've been watching 24 all day everyday. It wasn't exactly my idea, though. My sister came home towards the start of summer vacation and informed us we could use her laptop to watch shows online from her boyfriend's Netflix account. Since the start of the summer, my mom and I have watched all four seasons of Prison Break, the entire season of Glee, a season of Buffy, and the first five seasons of 24, among other shows.

To counteract the severe laziness of my summer, I've been jogging with my sister, sometimes twice a day (she wakes up at 6:30 and jogs). And at some point in my past, I was actually a pretty good runner and was somewhat athletic, but in the last three or four years I think my muscles have literally degenerated and atrophied. My sister, on the other hand, has been exercising continuously for years. Watching my sister and I jog together, you would think that I was dying, or at the very least about to fall down at any moment (two giant scars on my knees do nothing to build confidence that I won't eventually fall down).

Now that my mom has caught up with 24 — she started watching 24 during the sixth season — she has completely lost interest in watching anything, which means she no longer comes into my study room and commandeers my computer. I can now continue watching 24 at my own discretion, which means I have an opportunity to cut down on the amount of time watching television and increase the amount of time spent blogging and listening to music.

Though the six drafts I have backed up are vaguely interesting to me, I've reached the point in my summer where I feel capable of being less than depressing. I don't think I have the ability to write about happy subjects in as good a manner as the sadder things that I write, but at this point I am a little less interested with trying so hard and a little more concerned with just writing reviews and getting back into the rhythm of writing everyday.

If I want to have any chance at accomplishing this 365 project, I'll have to start writing a review at least once a day, if not more. I'm not exactly used to writing more than once, or even to just sit down and finish a single blog post without getting up and distracting myself, so I will probably write more posts like this until then, just to practice being long-winded.

For the longest time I found myself unable to share anything, namely because I woke up one day to find out that my mom had read some of the things I had written that wasn't actually meant to be read by her. I felt really awful, because I can say and write the worst possible things sometimes, and it didn't help very much when she shouted, "You're evil!". That single event was resolved very quickly however, because my mom was kind enough to tell me that even though she read those things a while ago, she loved me anyways and it didn't change that at all. Even so, the whole situation made me self-conscious about the things I share and the way I think. I didn't even really want to write here anymore, and was about to delete the blog altogether. But I know at this point most of my readers have very little faith in me, so I am pretty okay with spilling my guts again!


Hey Listen World, I've Had Enough!

I thought that I would give up on my project, particularly because of the months I have taken off because I didn't (or sometimes couldn't) listen to any music. But as I was writing a statement explaining my decision to change it from a project to simply a wishlist of albums I will eventually listen to and cross off my list, I felt incredibly sad. Maybe I have a habit of starting more projects than I can finish, and I may not have the commitment to see many of those projects through, but the 365 project was one of the few things that I really looked forward to for the first quarter of the year. The last two months I have not even thought about music, but now that I finally find myself wanting to hear music again, I suddenly feel like it would be such a waste to give up now. I have five more months ahead of me, or more specifically, 188 albums to review in 176 days.

So, I might as well get started.

Nine Times That Same Song by Love is All

I started falling in love with music because of the freedom it gave me. My family is incredibly tight-knit; growing up, my mom tried to force my sister and I to be as close as conjoined twins. As a whole our family acts like a collection of reclusive people, so desperately alone that we cling to each other for dear life. I grew up sitting on an old orange couch, listening to old school hip hop and pop music from the 90s my sister liked on the radio. And that music simply never moved me.

I started listening to rock music by happenstance, and it was amazing the personal space bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana afforded me. For the next several years, music was an active assault on the limits of my life, and had a very physical presence in my rebellion against my parents. If I lied, had "attitude", or fought with them in any way, their immediate and swift punishment was to take my music privileges away. They believed that music would play only a small part in my life, a stage I'd eventually grow out of.

Unfortunately for my parents, the passion for music never really went away. When I turned to indie music in 2006, I immediately gravitated towards loud, forceful music that would drive my family away. I started listening to Love is All precisely for that reason: Josephine Olausson's half-shouting, Markus Görsh's driving drums, and even (sometimes especially) Fredrick Eriksson's frenetic saxophone. Between "Talk Talk Talk Talk" and "Trying Too Hard", Nine Times That Same Song is fast-paced, frustration-fused songs about love, watching too much television, aging, and trying too hard. For people like me that may or may not rely too heavily on lyrics to derive meanings, it may be frustrating to find that Love is All sometimes buries its lyrics through a fog of reverb and accented vocals (made worse when compounded by the fact that I can't even find lyrics online for half of the songs on the album).

After a while, that frustration with my parents and my lack of privacy eventually died away, and my music tastes became a bit more reasonable. I still seek space when listening to music, because I simply don't want to be accessible to people. A lot of bands have fallen by the wayside due to this shift, particularly Love is All. When I had finally realized I didn't need noise to build walls from the people that cared about me (my rotten disposition is good enough to accomplish that), I turned to twee and pop music. It took me a long time to find my way back to anything remotely "noisy", beginning with Animal Collective and burgeoning from there. It took a long time to find my way back to Love is All, which I needed yesterday morning to drown out the sound of my parents yelling.

I never really appreciated Nine Times That Same Song when I first listened to it, namely because I heard it for the sound. Of course, the sometimes angry-as-hornets sound is important in defining the album, as it expresses general frustration but also wound-up anticipation for life to get started. The album is, to a degree, rooted in real life events in the band members' lives, but it largely conveys sentiments: particularly, the album explores themes of love, apathy towards life vs. a hunger for something bigger, and generally trying too hard and still doing things that you realize probably weren't the best idea. There is an impressive presence of balance on the album, balancing frantic noise with melodies and pop hooks, as well as balancing all that energetic sound with lulls (just listen to the difference between "Spinning & Scratching" and "Turn the TV Off").

And luckily enough, if you happen to like Nine Times That Same Song, Love is All manages to keep from disappointing in A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night and Two Thousand And Ten Injuries (they kinda seem to have a thing for numbers, don't you think?).


have a heart, have a heart, have a heart

I store my life in the oddest of places. I kept my 9th grade in two cabinets at the bottom of the dresser in my room. 11th grade is directly on top of 8th, though it's mostly dust and ungifted scented candles. 10th grade I left behind in the corner classroom with my favorite teacher. 18 I think I left in the passenger seat of your car, along with my green plaid scarf and the camera you said was mine.

The day you called, I left that day on the Burke-Gilman trail at the University. I left last summer on the 520, spending so many hours stalled in traffic. I left the holiday season in Cafe Habits, where I worked for free because I thought you needed me (I left in a hurry when I realized you didn't). Freshman year is stretched between the Henry Art Gallery and McMahon.

The trouble is, I'm running out of places to go in this city. The reality is, I'll never go back to those days. The buildings of Bellevue and Seattle stand like the ruined temples of Chichen Itza. This is a city of dead memories and people I used to know. Let's just get out of the country.


please please please put me out

You make me tired of apologies. I'm tired of saying them, you're tired of hearing them. I'm tired of forgiving people who won't forgive me. I'm tired of keeping everyone at arm's length, of trying to convince everyone to keep their dead mouths from accosting me.

I look at everyone around me, and I wonder why we ever allowed each other to grow up. Why did I ever let you stop telling me stories, why did we start worrying about the shape of our bodies and the types of clothes we wore? Why did we ever allow ourselves to repeat our parents' mistakes?

If there was ever a place and a time when we could just stop, I'd peel away your scars like old bandages. We'd build a fort between our beds, we'd lay our legs under your mattress, we'd take the dollhouse out of the closet and invent stories again.

But we are grown up. And I am sorry for that.


Triangle Walks

I remembered you yesterday, in the backseat of the car as the 550 passed us by. I remembered there's still evidence of you, buried under the unfinished game of Battleship, which I took down from the closet for us to play. I remembered the letters I tossed out of the old wooden box, nondescript details of some nondescript day when you were still here. I remembered the perfectly curled downy feather from your uncle's funeral, the one that means goodbye (why were we always practicing how to say goodbye?).

I threw out the bottle of vanilla extract yesterday. The wheat flour is still in the cupboard, but it will be gone soon, too. The game of Battleship will eventually find its way back to the closet, the letters will disappear in some dark corner I won't bother trying to reach. The feather will just be a feather.

You might not answer my calls because you might not care anymore. I might still find myself saying "I hate you" with less and less conviction and more habit. I might forget your smile lines and the exact shade of your eyes. I might forget what your hair felt like, or the whiskers on your chin. I won't remember the crook of your elbow as it hit me across the chest that night I realized you'd rather go out of the country than stay by my side. The evidence will be gone, and this house will be buried, these bones will break, and in the end all I can think is, were you ever really here?


Friday I'm In Love

These are the days when I am supposed to smile. You take my hand and lead me out to the sun, you cup my chin and turn my eyes to the clouds. And these are the moments when I no longer can cry. These are the days when there is no dark, no corners, no covers. Bare legs, short sleeves, hair tied up.

I should try to climb that rock wall. I should try to take care of flowers like tender, thirsty children. This is when I should cup bumblebees in my hand, chase crane flies. I should be examining the asparagus patch, tasting the sweet tang of the strawberries and eying the blackberries.

Instead I am waiting for the guillotine to finally fall.