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Addiction is optional, and encouraged…

Music is such a personal thing to me. Even listening to it feels personal. Music can’t always totally cure what ails me, but it always manages to make me feel better. In that respect it’s like a drug with no nasty side effects. Addiction is optional, and encouraged.

mouldThe weekend my Ipod wheel (throwback old school…that’s me) stopped on Bob Mould. His band stuff with Hüsker Dü (with a little research you too can get the dots up there) and Sugar, and his solo records. I’ve got them all. Some of the early Hüsker stuff is so frantic that I get lost…..without melody my ears get bored….but by Warehouse: Songs and Stories I was completely hooked. Just in time for the band to break up of course, but when Mould formed Sugar and released Copper Blue…..this to me was everything good about the music of the 1990s…without the media hype. Anybody who thinks Nirvana created what Nirvana sounds like never listened to “A Good Idea” (or the Pixies…for that matter). Mould was doing this “alternative” thing before anything thought to give it a name. His subsequent solo records have all been crammed into my head….and remain there. In June he’s got a new record coming. At my age I don’t look forward to much…perhaps a morning I can sleep past 8am without having to let the dog out…or watching a good movie on Google Chromecast without being interrupted by the phone….but new Bob Mould music makes this old man smile.

Tomorrow it might be something else. But for now, it’s Bob Mould.

Why certain music at certain times though? Always questions.

Why when my Dad passed away did I listen to nothing but Irish traditional music for 6 weeks? Why do I keep returning to records like Quadrophenia when I’m feeling confused and old…..or Fairport Convention’s Liege and Lief when I’m feeling run down, or something by the Clash when my ass needs kicking? Why does John Prine make me cry? Why do we still care about Big Star even though I hardly even feel the need to listen to Big Star? Why can I not listen to REM for a year and then listen to nothing but REM for 2 months? Why is Stay Positive my favorite Hold Steady record, and not anybody else’s favorite Hold Steady record? How is it that the Beatles….perhaps the greatest band of all time, never improved on “I Saw Her Standing There”, one of their first songs…..and still changed the world? Why did Chuck Berry write some of the greatest rock and roll songs of all time in a relatively short burst…..and then just stop writing rock and roll songs? Why does Bono wear shades indoors? And why can’t the Edge just admit that he’s bald and take off the fucking skull cap? Why aren’t Los Lobos and The Replacements and Warren Zevon in the rock and roll hall of fame? Why are Rush in the rock and roll hall of fame? Why do I despise jazz?

Why did my father, not exactly a lover of pop music (more of a Tommy Dorsey guy), absolutely adore Paul Simon’s Graceland.

I could go on and on I suppose. Sometimes I do go on and on but I won’t tonight. The hour is late….and I must wake in the morning to beg for my supper…..spending 8+ hours doing things that have nothing whatever to do with music, which depresses the living shit out of me. But still. Reality and all that. The house is asleep now. The TV is on, even though I can’t hear it for my cranked headphones. I think the show is The Voice, which is enough to destroy the will of any self-respecting self-taught music freak-turned musician. Can’t these people just bash away in garages like the rest of us….learning how to be good by sucking first? These people are all so technically good they sound fucking horrible to me. I’m thinking of a young Bob Dylan singing “Song to Woody” for Blake Shelton and actually giving a shit about his reaction…and it’s making me desire illegal pharmaceuticals. And if I go there, I’ll never get to sleep.

A final word if I may. There’s a new song (at least new to me) by some dude named Pharrell Williams called “Happy”. Apparently it’s been played to death on the radio and people are starting to hate it…but I’ve heard it about 3 times in total and think it’s fucking great…..a throwback to Motown or Curtis Mayfield….a genuine soul song that sounds old and new at the same time. It gives me hope. If starts my feet tapping. It makes me feel something.

Maybe even happy.

Ain’t that what it’s all about dammit?

In a bit…


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