It’s amazing how your day can go from 60 to zero in a nanosecond. When it all seems to be going okay, even in a place where you don’t feel like being. You’re open, happy, cracking jokes and feeling good. You start thinking that things might not be so bad, and even though you’re looking at making it out of there, at least when you do leave, you can go on a high note. Hell, you might even miss the place! And then a seemingly insignificant action can send you spiraling back into your own head, where you physically feel your wavelength drop to a level that makes you bristle with contempt. Your spine stiffens, your jaw clenches, you feel the tension immediately develop behind your shoulder blades, and it’s all you can do to finish your job as quickly as possible so you can get the fuck out of there, hours be damned…
I guess I hadn’t explained to anybody that I work with that I’m a musician, and part of my personality as a musician is that when I’m listening to my music, I feel good. I don’t feel cool; it just makes me feel good in my brain. It’s a big part of who I am. And it’s not like the music you get to hear is particularly abrasive. Trust me. You’re hearing the tame shit. Because I take the other people around me into account before I start filling the air with noises. I’m not trying to subject anybody to anything that’s going to make them uncomfortable.
So when I heard “Tangled Up In Plaid ” come do an abrupt, premature ending, I thought, “Surely, no one here would be rude enough to simply come over, grab something that doesn’t belong to them and manipulate it without asking! The Wifi must be acting up.” But lo and behold, somebody did in fact feel the compulsion to do just that! So, I did what came naturally. I picked up the spray head at the dish station, pointed it in the offending direction and squeezed the handle. After all, I may not be your mom, but somebody should teach you some fuckin’ manners.
And throwing out jokes like, “What was that? Nickleback?”, to me only speaks to your laziness. “Oh, shit! Gotta think up something that doesn’t make me look like an asshole! Uhhhh… What’s that band that has guitars and people hate? No difference to these ears! All the same to me! Uhhh… Oh yeah! Those guys! Hahahaha! Get it?! Because everyone hates that band?! It’s funny. I’m funny. I’ll be over here if anybody needs more poignant and clever observations”
And that’s when I was taken out of this happy place where I felt like things weren’t so bad,
and I was immediately sucked into a head space that conjured visions of a sterile dystopia where people no longer listen to music, but tones – just basic tones – designed to numb the frontal lobe and lull the listener into a state of delusion and passive acceptance. No melodies. No arrangements. Just a basic 4/4 beat, some garbled lyrics floating around, and the constant “BUMMMMMMMM… BUMMMMMMMM… BUM-BUMMMMMMM…”, hypnotically drilling and merging into your subconscious. It’s enough to make The Velvet Underground sound like Scale The Summit.
Pop Rap is boring music for under-active imaginations. That’s all it is. It’s only place is an ill-fitting world where the youth are medicated to the point of solipsism, continually distracted by fantasies of money, drugs and promiscuity (none of which are particularly harmful in small doses, mind you). But like that is something that is true to them!
Like listening to a song by 2 Chainz is suddenly going to make you share in his success, but then you look around when the song is over, and you’re still standing around at your shit-ass dead end job, with your softening, aging body, in your corrupt, Capitalist environment. Better keep those songs coming before you have to stare reality in the face for too long.
I take back everything I said about the current state of heavy metal, because at least the people on those recordings are players. You know, like people who play instruments? Physically? With their bodies? And it’s not even a “music with guitars vs. music without guitars” situation I’m talking about here. Tupac Shakur was killed twenty years ago today, something I remember seeing in the newspaper, but nothing I could really identify with at the time because I was still a child, and in those days, I didn’t like hip hop. I was too busy learning how to play bass and keeping my eyes peeled for new music by Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots. But I do like hip hop now, and something that can be said about Tupac’s music, and hip hop in general, is that it’s honest. There’s a communication in it. You listen to “Dear Mama” and tell me that there’s not at least one part of that song that speaks some sort of truth to you.
Whatever is happening with the current state of popular rap music is fucking embarrassing. If I was Suge Knight, I’d have one of these false, pretentious mother fuckers dangling out of a window, just on principal. But I suppose it never really was about the music for that guy.
So whatever it is that creates a mentality where it’s okay to fuck with other people’s belongings and cut off something that they were enjoying, I can’t help but believe that it is somehow tangentially connected to the dumbed-down state of mind that can convince you to believe that Lil’ Wayne writes good songs. If you had only asked to change the music, it would have been okay. I probably would have said yes! At least that would have given me an opportunity to get mentally prepared for what was coming next. But instead, I had to jam earplugs into my head as deep as they would go, keep my head down and blast out any last duty that could have kept me in that place any longer, just so I could come home and air my grievances on a public forum. I’ve quit jobs for less, but I’m trying to be an adult now, and I’m in a pretty tough spot financially, so believe me when I say that it’s best that I didn’t tell you how I felt about it at the time. I don’t like getting fired, either.
I couldn’t help but notice that once my vibrations had reached a low point, certain people in my place of work suddenly found me somehow approachable. Is that it? Do I just need to feel stupid, angry and bitter to get along with you people? Maybe. I don’t care. Fuck you. Fuck every single one of you.