1998 Called…

1998 Called…

I did most of my growing up in the 90’s. I did a zine. Worked in record stores. Went vegetarian. Fell in love with misfits.. often who listened to The Misfits. Had an amazing record collection. Listened to Riot Grrrl. [Balanced that with Lou Barlow. Balanced that with Unwound.] Music was my everything, the score to a youth spent exploring, experiencing things, subcultures that have long since become exploited or extinct. I was cool, like Al Bundy was a high school football star.

Now, I am buried in time. Stunted in some capacities, I suppose. I still listen to 90’s indierock most prominently. {Maybe like my father listened to Do-wop while I was growing up.} I am out of the loop with new music. Maybe because I’d rather not listen to voices that represent this generation now [18-24 year olds]. To make a harsh, sweeping generalization, I find this world of young people to be trashy and spiritless for ladies and for guys, effeminate and arrogant. {To qualify this conclusion I must say that living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn grants me with credible empirical data.} Now everyone is a developed and tested marketing demographic, shallow multi-hybrids of confusion, while, in the 90’s, weird was still just weird. Industry did not [yet] know how to talk to us really… so they didn’t. {After Mogwai helped sell Levis and Spiritualized-several Volkswagons, a slew of indie musicians now branch to commercials. I guess in a world where Mtv no longer plays music, car commercials are the new video. And Nick Drake rolls in his grave. They’re trying to get us retroactively?}

That was a bit of a tangent, yes. And I sound like an old curmudgeon, yes. My point was that I find most current music empty and without a context. Maybe because music doesn’t play the same role in my life these days… or in anyone’s life really, save for those old souls still frequenting Bleecker Bob’s to complete their jazz collection. I used to scour record stores for b-sides and imports. That hunt was part of the pleasure, the investment–a requirement. Those with resources, intuition, perseverance and consistency won the prize. Now, in just a few clicks you can find what you are looking for. In a broader sense, I resent the instant gratification of the cyber-world because effort enriches; there’s lessons and experiences embedded along the paths that are being short-cut, creating shallow insta-experts in all walks of leisure life. And I am in no way a Luddite. Is this my equivalent of “When I was your age I used to walk to school”? Perhaps. When I was your age I had to dub a record to a cassette to play it in the car. When I was your age I use to love music, spend hours with it, discover it with my keen senses and it became my own in the process.

Through writing this I realize, I loved my time in the 90’s. Loved riding that last wave of counterculture before it all was fair game for advertisers, for every Tom, Dick and Harry, for anyone who could click a mouse. Beyond music I realize that most of my current best friends I met in the 90’s. I met my boyfriend in the 90’s. I went vegan in the 90’s. Maybe I live partly in the past. Maybe I am, for the first time, at the age of having enough adult history to draw from, to find patterns and reach hypotheses. Maybe I miss the love I had for bands, for songs like haunting ghosts who invade and tinker with my expectations–of music, of life. Whichever the case, this was all stirred up by nabbing Jeff Mangum tickets for his first 2011 tour date in Toronto, Canada. Mangum and Neutral Milk Hotel, who checked out of music in the hey-day 90’s, have since been buried and preserved in time. To time…

And quite possibly the best video on youtube: