As many of you know, I have been importing music for quite a few weeks, and while I am doing it, I am correcting the metadata, updating the artwork, etc. It’s a tedious process, made more difficult by the fact that I have A LOT of live Dead that doesn’t come with album art so I have to search fan databases or look for ticket stubs and the fact that itunes uses the Gracenote ACR which allows any semi-literate lead paint eating fuckboy to upload incorrect bullshit to the database.
At any rate, one nice thing about it is that I am listening to a lot of music again. When I quit drinking a few years ago, I lost interest in music to a large degree. It didn’t feel as good. So I spent several years just driving with no music or radio at all. I liked the silence. Since I started cataloguing the library, though, I have music playing almost nonstop. While importing, it give me a chance to listen to a lot of stuff. Sometimes I listen to a couple songs, sometimes just one, other times it is just get it in and pretend I don’t own that.
One thing I have noticed is that a lot of the stuff I listen to when importing is simple stuff- stuff like, well, embarrassingly enough, Huey Lewis and the News (which I guess is relevant because of American Psycho releasing his emails today). It’s not that I love it to death, but it brings back memories, they are short songs with singable verses that you can listen to while working, and it is just very accessible. That’s very underrated. I think one of the main reasons the Beatles were so popular is the reasons listed above.
Music snobs (I’m not really one, I think “good” music is like any art- if you like it, it’s good. If you don’t, don’t buy it or use it) don’t get that or don’t care. For varying reasons, almost every single music snob I have ever known just fucking LOVE the Velvet Underground and Captain Beefheart. When Lou Reed died a few years ago more people publicly professed their love for him than the VU or he combined ever sold albums. And Beefheart. Don’t get me started on that hot mess. Some of the early blues stuff was good, but that’s almost unavoidable when you have Ry Cooder around. And I really like Zappa, so some of the later years are pretty interesting every once in a while.
But most of it is just unlistenable jibberish (and again, if you like it, good on you). in 1969, the Beatles followed up the White Album with released Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road and a year later delivered Let it Be. Captain Beefheart released Trout Mask Replica. It’s 120 minutes of aural clusterfuck:
It’s horrible by any metric. But the music snobs, who will crap all over more accessible music, will tell you that it was an important contribution, a criticism of current trends, etc., ad nauseum. Rolling Stone magazine has it as the 60th greatest album of all time:
On first listen, Trout Mask Replica sounds like a wild, incomprehensible rampage through the blues. Don Van Vliet (a.k.a. Captain Beefheart) growls, rants and recites poetry over chaotic guitar licks. But every note was precisely planned in advance – to construct the songs, the Magic Band rehearsed 12 hours a day for months on end in a house with the windows blacked out. (Producer and longtime friend Frank Zappa was then able to record most of the album in less than five hours.) The avant-garde howl of tracks such as “Ella Guru” and “My Human Gets Me Blues” have inspired modern primitives from Tom Waits to PJ Harvey.
Oh shut the fuck up.
And again, I love Zappa. I love Tom Waits. But this is shit. It wouldn’t even make for a good acid trip. I forget the point of this post, that’s how god damned disorienting that shit is.