Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Song of the Day #300 - Phish - Free

 I feel the feeling I forgot


We're celebrating THREE HUNDO on Song of the Day today. At 200, I talked about my favorite song, so I figured this time I'd talk about the first song I think I can remember considering my favorite. It's my 25th birthday today, too, so there's some sort of nostalgia connection with that maybe. I remember my mom had this on cassette and she'd play it pretty often, usually just the first two tracks, or at least those are the only two I can really clearly remember. I think I can remember learning that "ph" can make the "f" sound because of this band. And I can really distinctly remember having no idea what was being said in the opening lines, and assuming it was just some word I didn't know, "ablittalot". It is a memory from the era when "this must just be some word I don't know" wasn't an uncommon explanation for problems.

Close to 20 years later, I return to this song and I still have no idea what he's saying. Apparently it's "I'm floating in the blimp a lot", and I have little or no thoughts about that. And Phish has become more of a punchline than an actual band to me now, "liking Phish" a one-note character definer well past cliche. I'm far from the type to camp out following the band on tour, or even attempt to keep up with the literally hundreds of concert recordings that dominate the what.cd top ten every summer. To be completely honest, Billy Breathes is the only Phish album where I can name more than one track. I know that's basically sacrilege to one of the most cultlike fanbases since the Grateful Dead, but uhhh, I'll do my best to overcome it by professing my love for this one song.

There's actually so much going on here that I still like, an almost uncanny amount. It's like all these other disjoint aspects of my music tastes were just taking a long way round to this central origin part. Like the huge sonic wall on the opening riff? And that feeling of "submersion" about fifteen seconds in, when everything dips way back down to this human level, building up again... those are dynamics I'd cheer for in any modern album! Or how about the way they mirror the lyrics?? Or the lyrics hitting that sweet spot between totally meaningless abstraction and so specific one couldn't relate to it? Such peaceful images, and yet such a powerful force of freedom behind them!

Ahh, it's so good. My favorite, though, still has to be the piano. The way the opening lines are punctuated by those little piano riffs, as if in some sort of dialogue, and then when they bust out the climactic "I'm free!", the piano just goes nuts in this amazing pattern that feels like some "evolution" of the previous riffs. And it feels like the same energy that resulted in the shouting of "I'm free" resulted in this complex pattern... that somehow the hands were possessed through sheer energy and moved "naturally" in this way. It reminds me of uhhh... this part, where it's such a sudden, crazy, interjection, and yet it feels sort of like the "function" of a machine which has been "switched on". Yes, this is the sort of intelligible commentary we've come to expect.

Anyways, I can clearly remember sitting in the car and thinking about that, and thinking it was just the coolest thing imaginable. "Character Zero", with it's anticipatory structure, was also pretty mindblowing, but I still tended towards the absolute quality of the opening track. Back then I mainly thought about music in terms of "what would this sound track in a video game I designed?" and pictured insane sequences of dinosaur platformer action or something. Nowadays I usually approach music in terms of "how would I write about this such that other people would like it?", but it is basically the same sort of energy, the same sort of dream borne of listening, where the dreaming is really the key part. But maybe some day I will still make a dinosaur platformer and today I am writing about a song for the 300th time and that's pretty good too.

I keep it 300, like thereisnothinglikecoldwater.blogspot.com

Yup, we made it to 300, and in pretty good time, too! Not 100 days, no, but nowhere near 285 either, which is how long it took me to do the last 100 lol. Song of the Day hasn't gotten really any more or less popular since then, each post getting 15-20 views. I'm honestly completely content with that, such that I'll continue doing them for the foreseeable future, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have some small dream of "scaling". Not even for any practical reason like making money off the blog (lol) or pseudo-practical reason like having people discuss it. Mostly just to see the numbers go up.

Unfortunately I've thought about it a lot lately and I think this blog is pretty unscalable. The biggest problem, I think, is that I'm unilaterally positive with everything I write. I only choose to write about music I enjoy or that I expect I'll enjoy. I don't see the value in writing something to discourage someone from checking something out, because I don't see myself as major enough to be someone "arbiter" in terms of what they prioritize hearing. Or rather, to the extent of the music I'm able to "cover", I'd rather just share what I feel is worth listening to, as I don't feel like I'm treated as a resource where people will have an album in mind and come here to see my opinion on it.

The problem here is that it doesn't really lead to any sort of discussion or debate... at most people can just sorta say "hey, I liked it, thanks for telling me about it" or maybe "I liked it for these other reasons, too". And if you like an album, your "community" force is largely based on the album itself, just sharing the music. Like the ideal takeaway someone has from my blog is finding music they enjoy, and sharing that, but not necessarily my "critical context" or whatever. If you dislike an album, you'll be more interested in critical voices that "commizerate" with you, or something? I think this also goes along with my reluctance to rank albums, or score them, or do anything that has any sort of meaningful "objective" claim. My opinion can't really be broken down into something that can bait threads on /mu/, or whatever. But this is the way that I enjoy writing, and I'm not really interested in

So I dunno. If I do an album review soon after it comes out, I post it in the what.cd comments and that gets some views. Like really I should promote my work everywhere until someone tells me "the quality of this does not suffice for you to be promoting it like you do" but I honestly don't know where or how lol. I think this post, via being the "300 milestone" and containing a bunch of "effort" is maybe "scalable" insofar as people will see it as "admirable", maybe, but uhhh, where do I tell people? Hmmm. I think if I somehow get a job I'll spend 20 bux of my job money to get a banner ad on /mu/, that could be fun, or something.

The other problem with my writing is that it is very long and no one wants to read 2000 words that can be summarized with "Young Thug is very good".

I think it's cause for so long I'd been haunted by guilt around laziness and procrastination that I've just defined "success" as "many words". I have no plans to rectify this.

To celebrate here are many more words:

Pointless Stat Retrospective!!

I thought about splitting this into another post because I don't know if anyone else cares about it but then I didn't. Like last time, the 201-300 number will appear first, and then the running total for all 300 in parenthesis.

People rapping: 50% (52%)
No rapping, mostly synths: 22% (23%)
No rapping, mostly instruments: 28% (25%)

Country of Origin
America: 75 (211)
United Kingdom: 9 (19)
Japan: 4 (29)
Canada: 3 (18)
Korea: 2 (5)
Estonia: 2 (2)
Iceland: 1 (4)
Sweden: 1 (2)
Venezuela: 1 (1)
Algeria: 1 (1)
Latvia: 1 (1)
Germany: 0 (3)
Brazil: 0 (1)
France: 0 (1)
Hungary: 0 (1)

Year of Release
2016: 18 (18)
2015: 31 (71)
2014: 5 (67)
2013: 7 (24)
2012: 7 (17)
2011: 4 (15)
2010: 1 (10)
2009: 1 (5)
2008: 1 (3)
2007: 4 (7)
2006: 5 (13)
2005: 2 (8)
2004: 2 (6)
2003: 2 (5)
2002: 0 (3)
2001: 1 (2)
2000: 4 (6)
1999: 0 (4)
1998: 1 (1)
1996: 2 (5)
1995: 1 (1)
1994: 0 (1)
1985: 0 (1)
1983: 0 (1)
1978: 1 (1)
1977: 1 (1)
1975: 0 (1)
1974: 0 (1)
1973: 0 (1)
1970: 0 (1)
1900: 0 (1)

< 1 min: 0 (1)
1-2 min: 0 (6)
2-3 min: 12 (36)
3-4 min: 26 (83)
4-5 min: 27 (80)
5-6 min: 15 (47)
6-7 min: 7 (18)
7-8 min: 4 (6)
8-9 min: 2 (6)
9-10 min: 4 (5)
10-11 min: 1 (1)
11-12 min: 0 (1)
12-13 min: 0 (2)
14-15 min: 1 (1)
15-16 min: 0 (1)
19-20 min: 1 (1)
> 36 min: 0 (1)

Total length: 8:12:37 (23:35:11) (closing on the big "day"!)

Average length: 4:56 (4:43)

Artists featured more than once

Kanye West - 10 (18)
Young Thug - 8 (30)
Joanna Newsom - 6 (9)
Animal Collective - 4 (5)
Gucci Mane - 3 (7)
Kendrick Lamar - 3 (7)
2 Chainz - 3 (6)
Ty Dolla Sign - 3 (3)
Quavo - 3 (3)
Lil B - 2 (5)
Riff Raff - 2 (5)
Radiohead - 2 (4)
Jay Z - 2 (4)
Death Grips - 2 (3)
Arvo Part - 2 (2)
DJ Rashad - 2 (2)
KOOL A.D. - 2 (2)
Outkast - 2 (2)
Travis Scott - 2 (2)

Days since post #200: 211 days
% of days I did in this period: 47.39%
Days since Song of the Day started: 714 days
% of days I did in total: 42.01%

Total length of all posts: 134611 words

Average length: 448 words

Okay that was a bunch of stuff that... honestly is very thrilling for me to look at and satisfying to compile, lol. It wasn't too much work for me to do because this sort of task I can largely automate and do with speed and accuracy.


Now let's move on to something that someone could conceivably have an interest in... AWARDS!!:

I did these on the previous "hundos", Idk if anyone read them or if everyone tuned out some point during the stats. I think they're fun, tho, so here we are.

Longest song: Fire Orchestra - Exit: Part One
This one is kinda unfair cause it's a whole like... jazz... session... thing, or whatever. I don't know... much about jazz... as is evident. But I like this.

Shortest song: Hot Sugar - Blessed (ft. Big Baby Gandhi)
It's a sort of jazz, too... a sort of haunting feeling of the most important aspects lingering somewhere beyond what you can hear. Is that... jazz?

Longest writeup: Joanna Newsom - Kingfisher
If I write 2000 words about just one of her songs, I'm sure she'll abandon her rich/famous/handsome/funny actor husband and watch anime with me~!!

Shortest writeup: Hot Chip - And I Was A Boy From School
I can't remember why this one is so short, but when I first started this project it would have been above average, so... yay? Is this an achievement? Makes me want to shout "Weee tryyyyyyyyy", like in this song, or something.

Most popular writeup: Hop Along - Horseshoe Crabs
Because I thought it was pretty pertinent, I linked this in the /emoe/ thread on /mu/, and got a very warm response. It was even linked in the OP of subsequent /emoe/ threads for awhile. This is maybe the closest I have had to a taste of what could be called "scale" and it made me overwhelmingly happy.

Best intro: Young Thug - Fuck Cancer
I talked a lot about this in the post itself but the idea of starting your song by shouting "fuck cancer" and then not talking about cancer for the rest of the song hasn't lost any of its appeal. Every song should start like this, I think.

Best verse: Chance on Kanye West's Ultralight Beam
Shoutouts to Lil Ugly Mane's computer voice verse, Riff Raff on Bird on a Wire, Kendrick on Untitled 2... there are many others... I had to give it to Chano tho. This is the sound of dreams coming true.

Another sound of dreams coming true: Deakin - Country Report
When I first heard this in 2011 it was like... some hidden essence of AnCo that I had always forgotten in the silences between hearing them had manifested into an entire song. And then Sleep Cycle was a whole album of that, so I'm not entirely sure I'm even awake rn.

Kanye Award for Most Kanye Kanye Song: FACTS
Nobody loves Facts the way Kanye loves Facts, which makes it the most Kanyesque song to Kanye. And I find that every single line of it can get stuck in my head at any time (currently it's "Couches couches couches couches, which one should I pick?"), which is like a perfect microcosm of his whole career.

Best word: "Panda" on Panda
The understanding of how fun it is to say the word "panda" while rapping is probably the leading cultural advancement of the 2010s.

JAM OF A LIFETIME AWARD: Animal Collective - Brothersport
This award functions like the Spirit Bomb in Dragonball Z.

Best beat: Kanye West - Gone
This was a pretty tight race, but I gotta give it to 'Ye... this is the ultimate form of a sound that revolutionized hip hop so hard that people are still catching up, and, when they do, it's so good that they're begging for more.

Best ending: The Beach Boys - Surf's Up
The reason this wasn't initially released in 1967 is that the ending is so good it would have ended music entirely. The reason it was OK in 2011 is that Have One On Me had come out so people agreed music could keep going to see what the next Joanna Newsom album would have been.

Best silence: Right before the beat comes on in Kanye's Wolves
I figured this would be either the silence before "And we sing in the garden" on "Anecdotes", or the silence between "This is" and "my prayer" on "Cosmia", but Kanye blows past both of them by hitting us with Frank Ocean reciting the auditory equivalent of a candle seen in the distance in a snowstorm, then a slight hesitation, and then the drop we were waiting a year for. Really, the silence here is a year long, it isn't a fair comparison.

Best artist award: Kanye West
I didn't do this award before because it would have gone to Young Thug so obviously that it felt dumb to even say it. This time, though, Ye won out on every metric I could conceive of (number of songs chosen (won 10 to 8)).

The last 100 were the Drake period (in that I wrote a novel that was largely about Drake at the time, and I complained a lot).

The next 100 will be the Kanye period (in that I'll get things done, make money, "scale").

This is the main subject of a lengthy birthday post I've been working on (as I've done in previous years) but I haven't finished it in time, orz. It will be up soon along with some other stuff hopefully.

Please continue to support my efforts. To know that people enjoy reading my writing means the world to me. All I want to do is put myself in a situation where my life is relaxing enough that I find the time and energy to write, but stimulating enough that I have things I want to write about.

That's all for now :)

1 comment:

Karl said...

Happy birthday man! Hope you keep it up :)