|I am turning into Ross
// Friday, July 21, 2006; 7:31 pm
To quote the teenagers' great poet, Mr. Mick Jagger, "I am waiiiiii-TEENG."
Every day is just another square on the calendar to ride out. Thankfully, this seems to be working. The number of days until I go back to school is, yes, steadily diminishing (I understand this happens over time).
My kid sister just yelled at me to "save myself and go out", and I've been actually invited to get out of here tonight. I just never feel that motivated to leave my living room, but sometimes I guess I forget that not everything loses its lustre once you move it to Windsor. I shall attempt to kick my own ass out of the house and stop being such a creature of habit, because my habits are crap, and my friends are cool. So there.
In addition to unceremoniously stuffing my brain full of books, I've been constantly acquiring (thanks to both Dr. Disc and my dear CJM, who got me an indietorrents invite) more and more music. Natalia's latest obsessions include:
The Pipettes, who in addition to singlehandedly reviving Motown-era Phil Spector girl-pop, have excellent taste in dresses and have between the three of them bumped Natalia down another five points in the Great Drooling Over Girls Drive.
the new Sufjan Stevens outtakes record, The Avalanche. A dear colleague/Molester was on-the-fence about Sufjan's latest release, but to be frank with you, Blogosphere: I've been carting Illinois around with me in my tattered black best-of-the-best CD wallet [right between two different Smiths albums, a little down the way from Sebadoh and some Sloan bootlegs] for the better part of a year, but I can see myself spending even more time with The Avalanche actually sitting in the player.
Illinois was glorious. It was festooned with the same painterly details as Michigan (my introduction to the Wide World of Silent Js back in 2004), but with cleaner production and an extra few pounds of torque. (Perhaps "torque" is not the best word to describe the works of indie-folk's presiding pastor, but look at it this way: if Michigan was a rusty old Galaxie ambling through the strangely picturesque K-Mart parking lots of the Great Lake State, Sufjan's last '50 States' installment was an Illi-noisy freight train chugging full-force up green, grassy swells of strings to "Chicago".) It had highs and lows and twists and banks and plenty of between-song interludes with ludicrous names, and the result was not a collection of songs but a living, breathing song cycle.
The Avalanche, however, is more of (as Pitchfork said) a sketchbook for Sufjan rather than a full-fledged narrative. But it, too, has a strange sort of coherency; even the three re-workings of "Chicago" (all lovely) work well as plays on a central theme, or endpapers to three different parts of the album. I like to think of the record, however, as more like an Add-On Pak to a newly fashioned Build Your Own Album About Illinois Kit. As far as girls like me who spend most of their time with their mp3 players on shuffle are concerned, Illinois suffered from the infestation of forty-five second tracks that glued the actual songs together. Examining some of the additional material - which shares a sort of uniformly magical, firefly-counting-on-a-summer-evening glow - it's hard not to imagine an Illinois where tracks 2, 6, 11, 13, 16, 17, 18, and 21 could have been eliminated to make room for "The Perpetual Self" 's crunching guitars, the sprightly "Henney Buggy Band", or the whimsically robotic backing vocals of "Dear Mr. Supercomputer". Maybe instead of relegating such great stuff to B-side status, making them but footnotes in the great illustrated pop-up storybook of Mr. Stevens' ouevre, he could have sent them their separate ways. "Springfield" would have done just as well as the Springfield of Missouri or Kentucky or even New Jersey; that "runnin' outta Spriiiiiiiing-field" chorus is just too glorious to not be front and centre on a 22-track album. Assuming shadflies aren't exclusive to Illinois.
Smoosh. I wish I was half this cool when I was fifteen.