…does today’s music really suck? part 4

I was writing elsewhere and said something like, "why don't we just move to California?" I think about California a lot. I was born there but have very little memory of it. Generally, I find California to be a kind of idea: both returning to where I came from and going to a place made primarily of dreams; though California is the place of Raymond Chandler and O.J. Simpson, a place where dreams sometimes go terribly bad.

Anyway, I found myself humming a tune by some pop group about California. I had seen the video three or four times last summer while on vacation, and the line "California, California…" stuck in my head.

So I was humming this tune, and I thought I should find it and listen to it. I googled around and found it quickly enough. It's called "California", and it's by a group called "Phantom Planet."

What a sucky song! The melody of the verses is a direct rip-off of Oasis's "Wonderwall" (if you're not a musician, you may not hear it; if you are, you can't miss it. "Wonderwall", by the way, was an absolutely superb pop song.) The chorus is pure ear-candy, and once you hear it you are practically forced to sing along. But that doesn't make it good. Also, the chorus was obviously written by some kid playing an E chord on the guitar and sliding the fingering up to the third fret and then the sixth, all the while singing "Califooorniaaaaaa…Califoooorniaaaaaa!" I wrote songs like that when I was thirteen. No kidding.

But they can be forgiven for a musically weak song. This is the 2000's, after all, not the sixties. But the lyrics are absolutely unforgivable. Lines like,

"We've been on the run/driving in the sun/looking out for number one"


"Pedal to the floor/thinking of the roar/gotta get us to the show"

Hell, that last line doesn't even rhyme!

And of course the chorus:

"California, here we come!"

I was very disappointed. If this was a hit, perhaps I should sell some of the songs I wrote when I was thirteen and make a few million.

Talentless, silly boys.

BUT: as I wrote this I was listening to Chris Thile's Stealing Second. So today's music doesn't really suck: just the stuff that passes for mainstream popular music.

If you want to listen to music played by an immensely talented young man who didn't go the pop route, go buy a Chris Thile CD. You shouldn't be sorry. If you are, you have no taste anyway, so you might as well go buy the next Phantom Planet CD. For that matter, you might as well just forget about buying music and just listen to the radio. And you can also leave a comment telling me that all these things are subjective anyway. GRRRRRRR!



I am in a foul mood again…

…and I suppose it would help if I would start writing.

My parents came, and I did not suffer too badly.  My son enjoyed their visit immensely.  No big fights.  A few nice meals.  All went agreeably well.

When they left, rather than writing here I went back to a couple of other writing projects.  They are theoretically more "important" than my blog, but since my audience is so small for all my writing projects, I suppose the word "important" is exagerated.

Does exagerated have one G or two?

My sister complained about my spelling on the blog.  The truth is that I don't really spell all that badly; it's just I'm too lazy to go back and correct mistakes while typing, and too forgetful to find them when I'm finished typing.  Here in the wordpress editor there is an ABC in the menu at the top, and I suppose it's for spell checking.  I've never tried it.  Perhaps I will.

The point of this pointless post, however, is to say that I am in a foul mood again.  And I know very precisely why.  My current phase of unemployment has lasted for eleven months now.  Anything going a year or more starts to eat at me.  I start to feel sorry for myself:  sorry I lost my academic career, sorry I moved to Germany (at least on the work front), sorry I'm not the door-knocking type, sorry I have no connections, sorry I'm not the kind of self-starter who creates meaningful work for himself, sorry, sorry, sorry for everything I've become.  I am a family man, but I am not a working man.  Why can I not have both?

But as it is, I will have to write a bit more here over the next few days to keep my mind sharp and my fingers nimble.