Sunday, December 16, 2012

five ways to enjoy new music in an oldschool way.

In our digital-20teen-era, we often forget to sit down and truly let our music wash over us in the way that we did back in our more analog childhoods/adolescencies (is that the plural of adolescence? is now!). As the end of the year approaches, you might find yourself worn down by all the Christmas music and extra food-intake. Can’t think! Yams in the brain! What to listen to besides Bing Crosby (honey-voiced-perfection though he is) and that terrible Paul McCartney Christmas song? Thou shalt not fear; I’m here to help.

  1. Five “disc” shuffle: Remember when you were a teenager settling in for an evening playing MarioKart after school and you didn’t want to listen to the annoying MarioKart noises, so you put five CDs in your boombox and changed the setting to “5-disc shuffle”? No? So often in our digital age, we shuffle our entire libraries--gigabytes of music, and while this can be a formidable way to rediscover your music collection, sometimes what you REALLY need is to shuffle your five current favorite albums. For this task, create a playlist with five albums in their entirety and then shuffle it. Takes you right back to 1996, doesn’t it?
  2. Listen to a record: There’s something so deliciously chill about setting a needle on a record. From your comfy chair, read the lyrics in real time to the warm sound of the grooves on your LP. It truly is a divine experience and can feel like meditating to concentrate your entire brainspace to an album one side at a time. A really cool thing about LPs these days is that they often come with a code to download the mp3-version on your computer so you can have a warm and crackly record without sacrificing the ability to take it with you on your phone or iPod. Acquiring records is a great way to collect music you really love in a tangible form that’s still very relevant. As it’s often said by audiophiles, an LP delivers a truly singular sound, so invest in a record player if you don’t already have one.
  3. Go for a drive: I know, I shouldn’t suggest wasting gas, but this is still a way that I like to enjoy my latest mixes. If your car gets great gas mileage, jump in it and drive, baby! Amble mindlessly via feet with music in your ears if you don’t have access to an Earth-friendly car. I find this is a great way to clear your head on a stressful day...just you and the music.
  4. Block party playlist: Remember back in the days of radio (What, it still exists? Ok, fine.) when DJs used to play “Block Parties” consisting of three songs each of an artist? Create a playlist by choosing three songs randomly of your top five artists or use the “Three of a Kind” feature in the iOS app “Groove”. 
  5. “Radio”: I put this word in quotes because I must confess I haven’t listened to the real-live radio in YEARS. I fear that it’s all Pitbull and Taylor Swift, so I steer clear all judgmental-like. Please correct me ( if I’m wrong. That said, how I’m defining “radio” here is any playlist not compiled specifically by you such as Songza (app or, (app or, any other internet radio app/site, or even the ACTUAL radio, if there’s a station you enjoy in our area (seriously, if there’s something good on the radio and I’m missing it, email me). Letting a DJ pick out the tunes for you can be very enjoyable as long as you get to pick the genre you’re in the mood for at any given time. I’ve mentioned it before, but if you haven’t tried Songza, do it right now! You won’t regret it!

I hope everyone is enjoying our last days on Earth (just kidding--I don’t believe in Apocalypses unless they’re on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) with some great tunes.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

High Fidelity (2000).

This is probably my favorite movie of all time (we'll see by the time I'm done rating these movies--the stack is dwindling). I love the book.

The only thing that could make the movie better would be if the music were more my taste, but the aura of High Fidelity is totally and completely perfect. I AM ROB GORDON. Well, I'm not as much of a pushover (and I hope I'm not as much of an asshole), but my music habits are very similar. The concept of "top five" leeches into my existence on a daily basis. I find it indispensable. It's so much more quintessential than a top 10. It forces you to commit to FIVE. Genius.

Perfect use of Jack Black, too.

Ok, this movie could also be better if a female was a main character and NOT just an object of Rob's affection. And if there were gay characters...I'll dock "atmosphere" a point for that. I dig that Rob puts on music before he even checks his messages when he gets home from work, a place wherein he listened to music throughout his entire workday.

I get goosebumps every time I watch the scene when Rob is reorganizing his record collection "autobiographically". That is so fucking ambitious and awe-inspiring. I'm boring and I do alphabetical then chronological within artist. Well I did do, before my CDs flew away. Now, iTunes organizes for me. The distinctly specific comfort Rob describes at reorganizing his record collection is no longer a comfort I get to enjoy. However, I am starting to collect vinyl, so perhaps someday I'll have a wall covered in floor-to-ceiling shelving full of vinyl. What I really want is mixtapes. I wonder if I could get friends and strangers to donate their mixtapes to me, since I only have like twenty of my originals. If you're reading this and you have old mixtapes gathering dust in your garage, email me ( I will send you stamped self-addressed boxes for you to fill up and send me your beautiful old cassettes. Seriously.

Joan Cusack NEEDS to be in every one of John's movies. And vise versa. She is just a gem.

I want to live in Rob's apartment. It's so cozy and dark and full of personality. Like a little cave-like sanctuary. I will have that again one day.

This is one of the few movies that I still like the middle and end. I'm IN with this movie up until the end. Usually, plots blow their load in the first act, but not High Fidelity. And it doesn't end when you think it doesn't end when they get back together. And I think that's awesome. And their relationship isn't this divine thing that fixes itself and ends up perfect. It's not crazy or terrible, just good. I love it. Real.

Rob doesn't even describe the "art of making a tape" until the end of the it. It truly feels like getting a glimpse of a real person's life instead of a neatly packaged plot which doesn't happen in life! I hate neatly packaged!

I love that Laura says no to Rob when he proposes to her. And I love that he explains the "other woman" as being a "fantasy". It's one of the only examples of a realistic relationship in film I have ever seen. I thought it was primarily the dialogue and Rob's relationship to music that drew me to this movie, but it's also Rob and Laura and all the genuineness between them. Y'all know I'm not a sappy girl; this is a love story I can get behind!

replayability: 10
character average: 9
atmosphere: 9
music: 8
dialogue: 10