Saturday, March 28, 2009

I've been listening to the playlist of the Q1 Top 40 posted earlier, and suddenly things feel more in focus, musically, this year. That isn't to say they are, of course, though I'm proud to say I have only one full Lux & Ivy's Favorites volume to go before I'm completely caught up. (That Forced Exposure package should arrive any minute now, of course, punting me right back into the weeds.) It's sounding better and better, which I was hoping for. It's even sounding kind of coherent, though it's obviously not any kind of real overview. That probably has to do with my having already invested some time with them, their familiarity making more sense bunched together instead of scattered about. That's true any year, but what feels off about this one is that there hasn't really been anything that's made me re-listen obsessively for reasons other than trying to get a bead on it for the Stranger column. No. 1 is No. 1 because when I re-listened it hit me much harder than it had when I was getting familiar with it, and I liked it plenty then. It's got a formal perfection to it that I really admire. But in the Top 10, only No. 2 (The-Dream's "Kelly's 12 Play") and No. 8 (brakesbrakesbrakes' "Ancient Mysteries") are songs I repeat three or nine times, that I obsess over, and even then it's less obsession than re-pressing an enjoyable button ("Ancient Mysteries") or wanting to fill the room ("Kelly's 12 Play"). Admiration is as important to me as adoration; it keeps me afloat in thin times. But watching things crumble as they have been (the other day, Blender--yes, good writers galore, but having read nearly every issue cover to cover, many of its surface effects still put me off much of the time--tomorrow, who knows? And of course, that's merely one tiny corner of it), suddenly a sense of belief seems like the only reason to keep going. All the admiration in the world isn't producing it, not lately. [xpost w/SLM]