Monday, October 29, 2007

Songs I Play When Down

This isn't really reflective of my current frame of mind, but I did want to procure a list of songs that I found helpful when jilted by a relationship, job or friend. Sometimes it's nice to thrust one's fist up in the air and get some anger management out of sufficiently angry music. While certain bands might come up more than once, it isn't because of preference, but rather that those song writers generally had the same situation. Some songs are there for your sense of empowerment, others to console.

- Red Hot Chili Peppers - My Friends
The phrase "Ex girlfriend called me up, alone and desparate from a prison phone, they wanted to give her seven years for being sad." Speaks volumes to those that didn't have anyone to which to turn except their own devices. Punishment for loneliness, and the like.

- Pete Townshend - The Love Man
A song for the lost girl, it talks of his losing his love to someone else. This was in the context of finding out he was the victim of infidelity - the 2:40 break speaks "Tickle me, don't let me hear him singin', dance for me, don't let me see his face, sing for me don't answer any questions, love me don't love him, don't leave the race". He was somewhat pulling away into devotion to an Indian guru at the time, but it is a fascinating statement of pain and loss.

- AC/DC - It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock And Roll)
Frustration, but a lot of empowerment in there. Bon Scott speaking of the toughness that we all require to put up with the b/s and survive in our respective callings. More of a "mad at my job" song than anything.

- Soundgarden - Outshined
Played this one to death (pun intended) after bad breakups - you know, those that one cannot control. It's loud and angry sounding, but it really just bespeaks of the typical Chris Cornell darkness in being unsettled, unhappy, and all the other "un's" that provide his songwriting prowess.

- The Archies - Sugar, Sugar
Just kidding.

- Aerosmith - Seasons Of Wither

A good one for being especially mopey. Sometimes it's just nice to hear mopeyness as per the "misery loves company" factor. Hell, who wants to hear Katrina and the Waves singing how they are "Walking On Sunshine" when feeling spurned?

- Pink Floyd - Pigs
For some reason the darkness and expansiveness of the song seems to fit the occasion. Not sure how it's immediately relevant (shut up you) but it's intonations and strangely positive, almost victorious finale works wonders for the mood sometimes. Five years ago I was in Seattle, 2000+ miles away from a sick friend. Helpless and powerless, all I could do was play that song repeatedly for about 48 hours straight. It probably helped me from going crazy.

- Van Halen - In A Simple Rhyme
The only genuinely touching song that took a serious slant, in a period (1980) when most of their lyrical content involved screwing, drinking, or being otherwise stupid. Lyrically it spoke of losing that girl, or feeling as such, and finally being honest about things, pulling the proverbial pants down, and saying "ok, I don't care about pride, I want you". It was oddly touching for such a relatively nihilistic band with little lyrical content other than words to bracket Eddie Van Halen's guitar playing.

- Black Sabbath - Wheel Of Confusion
Geared more toward the times when one feels like a failure in the world, this one hits home rather well.
"Soon the days went passing into years, happiness just didn't come so easy; Life was born of fairy tales and day dreams, innocence was just another word - was it illusion?"

- The Who - I've Had Enough
Yeah, this classic track from their Quadrophenia release has plenty of elements of failure, unhappiness and a sense of giving up altogether.

- Smashing Pumpkins - Muzzle
The song that reminds me of who I've lost...

"My life has been extraordinary - blessed and cursed and wild - Time heals, but I'm forever broken, by and by the way. Have you ever heard the words I'm singing in this song? It's for the girl I've loved along. Can a taste of love be so wrong? As all things must surely have to end - great loves will one day have to part..."
- James - Laid
Makes me cry sometimes. Speaks of past relationships, and its lyrics hit very close to home in every way. This song kills me for various reasons, as do others.

- The Who - Another Tricky Day
Previously cited in my "greatest songs" list, this was a song that helped me realize that things could always be worse. He was crying for help in this track, and it felt much like there was a sense of "misery loves company" conveyed through those hi-fi speakers. A song that spoke to me and countless others, specifically for when idiots like us were down, suicidal, upset, or just feeling jilted.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Relationship Injustice Part 8 - Commitment

It's funny when one ages into the infamous "thirtysomething" demographic plateau; to find that some things never change, and others tend toward premature closure, or lack thereof. I, in my middle thirties, would not be considered by the old coots as to be old, but still see those relationships, personae, and cliques, tend to find their untimely demise without anything more than a stutter and a wave of the hand from a disinterested observer. I'm now finding that marriages, those of which I stood up for or helped engender, are now dissolving into an abysmal cauldron of legal specifications, meetings, and turmoil. I, who never married, still find myself embroiled within various relationship issues, be it mere bickering, serious arguments, or legal proceedings.

I've realized that as we grow older, we don't grow wiser - we merely endure the ramifications of the misjudgements we made in the earlier years, be those years from the early twenties, mid twenties, late twenties, or early thirties. Regardless, it eventually becomes obvious that our past intentions were not long lasting, and most of the strong willed people out there take it upon themselves to resolve the imbalance and recognize that it might be time for a new phase of existence, rather than many couples who find themselves bound by their past union, offspring, and perceived "household".

I understand that it might be unfortunate to be in the mid thirties and unmarried, without a family, two car garage, picket fence, gun rack, etc; but is that any worse than those that married at 22, are bound to the family, and only feeling as such out of obligation? Hey, I can't count how many times I've heard males/females who married young, saying "hey, I love my kids...they are my world..." Hey fine, but never anything about the spouse - or general happiness. It is then when I realized that there is a single form of energy put forth by, say, a guy. In bachelor days, this energy goes toward finding a hot girl, then it's toward a wife - but then it's expended toward the children - and that defines the proverbial icebox under the bed once a couple had been married 10 or 15 years. Just like classic rock bands, once they lose that pervasive venom, all becomes, well, gray.

Marriage and settling down is certainly the ideal for any couple. Some couples are destined for each other, and one of the pair might have already been committed to marital vows. I'll divulge a personal scar by saying that the greatest girls in my experience were those that were already obligated to another. At times, I am sure they might have soured at the notion of committing too soon. I wish they hadn't, but it taught me a lesson in being sure who one should devote a future to, and the importance of the true meaning of commitment. I've heard the "if I weren't married..." phrase all too often, from people that just were purely wonderful partners in crime, so to speak. Too easy to be afraid of anything - guys don't fear commitment - people do.