Sunday, June 14, 2009
Me: An Introduction (Noughties Edition)
[EDIT: Quick tech note, I've finally forwarded this blog to the domain name http://www.cureforbedbugs.com -- the blogspot address will still link here, but the direct link is the regular dot-com]
For the next few months, I'm going to be posting intermittent pieces about life in the 00's [how are we pronouncing this? I like "oh's"] and What It All Means, mostly as an excuse to wax nostalgic over the (so far v. exciting) Poptimists 00's Singles Poll. I may post according to heat (er, it's complicated) or just according to year, haven't decided yet. But it's all part of the History of Jop project.
So for those of you who don't know my entire life story, or weren't following along during the History of Jop roughly-sketched autobiographical stuff, my history with rock and pop music as a Thing began in earnest in 2001. I'd followed music on the radio and through a few personal influences, but it was never a major force in my life until I got it into my head that this should be something I Take Seriously. This was pretty much the peak of the Napster era -- I think in 2000-2001 I was using Audiogalaxy a lot, that bright blue beacon of mislabeled promise -- and the musical genealogy that I carved out was almost entirely internet-aided. I spent an inordinate amount of time navigating All Music Guide, obsessively marking down albums that either interested me or seemed important in a giant Word document unassumingly titled "music list," a ten-point font monstrosity that was too large even to print out. I've long since lost that list, and the countless crappy CD-Rs I burned during this period, usually cobbling together albums from track listings song by song, but it ran the gamut of rock and jazz standards.
So what did music history look like when you established it "cold" from piecemeal from internet sources? Well, the question is a touch disingenuous to begin with. No one is "cold" when it comes to pop music -- just look at a dozen or so Napster-aided mix CDs that immediately preceded my "homework period" c. 2000 and plenty of mixtapes of Metallica and Weird Al before that!) and my existing tastes and social circles largely dictated how I searched. But roughly it was, in those early days, a firmly Rolling Stone-sanctioned list -- positions I then held but have since revised: The Beatles Got Better After Rubber Soul; Rap Music Was Better When It Was "Positive"; The Pixies Are the Genesis of Contemporary Rock Music; etc. etc. I still like all of these things -- post-Rubber Soul Beatles, "positive" rap music (which I now feel totally compelled to put in scare quotes for some reason), the Pixies -- but I do like to think I've developed a bit more of a holistic understanding of music history, my own personal tastes (which have changed, though not as much as one might think), and general knowing the ropes of rock crit over the ages.
Anyway, I'll talk about this more in 2001. Just as a table of contents of sorts, here's what to look for:
ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOOL
2000: 10th grade - Pre-obsession, ear to the radio and residual adolescent RAGE!
2001: 11th grade - Obsession, doing yr homework, finding a conversation and lurking in it, constructing a history
2002: 12th grade: Connecting constructed history to contemporary history via current online sources
I LOVE COLLEGE
2003: Freshman - First forays into music criticism/synthesis of "homework"
2004: Sophomore - Early (lucky) breaking point in terms of music crit exposure -- short-lived -- newfound fear of posing, being "caught," etc. (a recurring theme)
2005: Junior - Break from exposure, return to lurk, taste realignment
2006: Senior - Re-entering the conversation (if only I knew then what I knew now)
MY TEMP YEAR
2007: Finding and trusting a voice, feeling comfortable publishing for the first time
I LOVE COLLEGE AGAIN, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I HATED TEMPING
2008: Grad School 1: A bit of floundering, some cracks in a more assured voice, trying to take in more perspectives, more conversations (e.g. the year I went back to school)
2009: Grad School 2: Er, not sure what the Big Idea here is yet, do I? Probably has something to do with The-Dream.
I'll also be tracking my personal life through the decade. I'll be marrying Emily toward the end of this year, and we've been dating since the very first piece I ever published (on my first blog). She was the one who encouraged me to start writing in the first place.