There's a short story by George Saunders in his collection Tenth of December called "Escape from Spiderhead" (which is like straight out of the Hardy Boys or Jonny Quest, title-wise) which is about a penopticon-type situation in which drugs are administered through little packs in order to test the subject's reactions. The drugs are powerful and work alarmingly well. The story is of course about the drugs and about studying humans but, under that, there is another question. How does reading about drug induced intelligence and lust and even violence make you feel about the chemicals in your own brain? And their authenticity? Some find it heavy handed, or the question itself ham-fisted (most delicious insult!) but I personally have never been able to let it go.
I think it has to do with your perception of the world. Do you feel a need to have an opinion on it? My sister and her husband don't like sad music (or only in the right conditions: dreary, rainy Sunday skies). It's understandable. We are all dealing with our father on his deathbed and sad music can get you stuck in that pity loop that takes you past exploring your emotions into something much less aware. But for me personally, there is just no other type of music. Music is about emotional connection (I've started dancing to Kate Bush in the mirror), which is why I try and never write reviews (I don't care if you like Chumbawumba, and you don't need to hear me mumbling to myself all day, Hounds. of. Love).
If you can connect with other people over your music tastes, that's wonderful! Mind meld over Diana Ross it will make life more fun. But ultimately, music's super power has always been user compatibility, no community necessary. AND FOR ME? (who, me?) It ain't worth a thing if it aint got that sting (of sadness). More importantly, I don't think of Beach House as SAD. I think of Beach House as dreamy, nostalgic, it makes me think about that fathomless longing that loomed out of windows (Amy Poehler describes it best in Yes, Please) in younger years. It makes me feel what generational epics make me feel. It's complicated. It makes me feel a lot of things. And that's what I like. There are some artists who actually make sad-ass music, (Elliot Smith and Sufjan Stevens come to mind) but if it's coming from an honest and mature place it's usually gut wrenching and cathartic and beautiful. A strong connection with music makes me pour rainbow sherbet from my fingertips (it's pretty messy, especially while driving) no matter what the music itself sounds like.
This is a way of talking about perspective. If you've ever dealt with depression you begin to realize the stakes of feeling things. That is at some point you stop. You may be doing all the same things you've always done, cooking, cleaning, reading, writing, running, masturbation, friends, family but they won't have the same effect. You will begin to wonder how this is possible, but there will be a refrain, explaining it all away. It doesn't matter. When things go wrong, all the wires show. The Wizard's cape is showing (is that what happens?). And you realize you would give up a lot of things to have your feelings back. You realize that without them life is, well, lifeless. And when you find your way out of your hole, you will not forget the object you used for a shovel. Whatever tool, is the perfect tool.
And once you've had to cling to say, self-help books (I love hyphens!), or cross-fit, or obsessive-home-cooking to claw back to your life and the meaning in it that you thought was inherent, you realize that other people liking things is not worth having an opinion on, unless it truly fills you with joy (and not the addicting burning feeling of shit talking). Which makes you stop saying things like "why is everyone so in love with cronuts?" Which is a fine enough question coming from my emotional corner of the world: bewilderment. But is another thing entirely when recited without actual interest ALL OVER NEW YORK CITY. You can imagine the political buttons: "Pronut" or "No-nut!" This is the language of a 9 million person city. Extra-sensitive and for long stretches at a time, too busy defending your existence to be self-aware.
So after all that romping over the hill and dale of the brainscape (in say, a little yellow schoolbus) I'll say what I've been wanting to say because it's the new year (whatup monkeys!), and no matter HOW YOU FEEL about New Years and "new year, new me" and resolutions and emotional recaps and everyone cramming into the gym to lose the 5-15 of holidays hanging on their waists like a baby koala (aww.) just remember.
Take care of you. Everything else is noise.
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