Saturday, April 2, 2011

Conor - Distracted

I'm beginning work on my annual mix CD today. Right now, actually. Here I sit in the Union at OU, splitting the difference between optimism, pessimism, bouncing off the walls and falling asleep in chair I'm sitting in. I have been all week. It's been a good week, but I'm exhausted. I probably haven't been getting enough sleep lately, but that's not changing tonight due to a free viewing of True Grit that's starting in 2 hours.

Just went through my iTunes and picked all of the songs that jumped out at me. There are a lot of songs that aren't on this Macbook for some reason or another, for some reason it's next to impossible to import a full library from one computer to another, and there are several noticeable albums that are absent. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot isn't on here. Disappointing.

Interesting. After one really quick run through of my iTunes I picked 58 songs from 26 artists. I'm a little surprised by how small the number of artists is. Only 26 artists? What, have I been listening to less music? I honestly don't know if that number is down from whatever that number would've been last year, but I feel like it is. I fear that it is, at least. I feel like my world is shrinking. I fear that it is, at least.

To my right the best scene in Pineapple Express is currently playing.  James Franco and Seth Rogen are currently breaking everything in Danny McBride's house for my entertainment. Fight on, fellows. Bam! Bong to the face, and then they throw the fool's head through a wall. The best part is how clumsy the whole fight is. I read in an interview with Seth Rogen around the time this movie came out that the action scenes were supposed to be "what would happen if real life people were put into ridiculous movie like situations and then tried to act like ridiculous movie heroes." That's a pretty great description. These guys are going for really ambitious moves with decidedly awkward results. Comedy.

My world's not shrinking. Obviously no it's not. I'm in a new place, surrounded by new people. It's been expanding. Things are going really well here at OU. I'm recently appreciating/realizing that I'm happy here. I spend a lot of time with a lot of really cool people. I don't have many huge, exciting stories to tell people when I go back people, but I have characters to describe.

A new kid recently started coming out to frisbee so he was thrown onto the B Team with me. Earlier this week we were throwing around and I was trying to talk to him and get to know him. Conversation was awkward at first, but it eventually picked up when we discovered we were both willing to bet most of our worldly possessions over a game of Mario Kart, but before that talk hit its stride he asked me something that I thought was really depressing. After a brief gap in conversation he asked me "what is there to do around here?" That question really caught me off guard, partially because off the somewhat pained tone of voice he used, partially because it's late March and this guy has been here for over half a semester and hasn't found an activity or a group (hopefully he sticks with frisbee), but mainly because I didn't really know what to tell him. I don't remember what I told him, but I don't think I made my day-to-day sound all that exciting.

Norman isn't a lame town. It's not terribly unlike Springfield. It's not about events or awesome parties or anything like that for me, it never has been. It doesn't really matter what you do if you do it with the right people. I've found a lot of really good people here. I'm living in a house with 6 other people next year, all of whom I didn't know at all 7 or 8 months ago. One of those guys is on his way here to meet right now. I think he's bringing me a Monster, too. Because I'm tired and he's a good friend.

Fool just sat down infront of me and changed the TV from Pineapple Express to the OKC Thunder game. Boooooo. Let's fucking vote next time, chump. Boooooooooo.

Here's one song that's definitely going on this mix. I haven't been able to stop listening to it.

I could go on and on about what I love about this song, but I doubt my composition professor would listen to it twice.

Today during our one-on-one composition lesson, I actually worked up the courage to request that we listen to and then talk about a Band Practice song. I gave him a copy of the EP right after we got back from winter break, and every time I've come into his office there it is, sitting there on the desk where I put it after originally offering it to him, seemingly undisturbed. It's entirely possible that he has listened to it and that I'm just being paranoid and self-pitying, and even if he hasn't listened to it, I couldn't be too mad at him. If someone handed me their CD and said "listen to it," would I? I wish I could just say yes, but I know I couldn't guarantee it. People have given me mix CD's over the years, and I don't listen to a lot of them. I'm trying to fix that. I listened to one from Lauren, one from Carrie and one from my sister Betsy over the past couple of weeks. Betsy's has been waiting for it's moment for four years.

So I sat down with Professor Lamb and listened to "Tunnel," the song I'm proudest of off of our EP. The kind of song that I'd show a music professor. We sat there and we listened to it, and for the first 2 minutes or so I would explain every element that was in there and try to make it sound cool and impressive. I'm sure that was pretty pathetic. After we got done he complimented it and told me he liked it, and I think he meant that. He's a nice guy. I don't think he understands how his words affected me, though. After the initial compliments got through he talked about how this kind of music is good for "being at a club, when people are drinking, not really paying attention, hitting on eachother..." etc. He said that for a "generation of the perpetually distracted" this works, and he likes it on those terms. If he was sitting in a concert hall with his equally well educated peers, he wouldn't be fine with the repetition and lack of evolution.

I just sat there and nodded. A lot of what he said is true. I don't know if "Tunnel" is captivating. I want to make an argument, but I don't want to make it on behalf of our music. He's right about being distracted, I mean look at this, I'm writing a blog post about his thoughts while listening to the Magnetic Fields, texting my friends, and glancing occasionally at Fox News to my right. I never know what to say on behalf of our generation. Technology is both a blessing and a curse? You're right?

My argument stems from one thing he said while looking at one of the pieces I presented to him today. At one point in the song I had a plain C chord taking up an entire measure. He brought attention to this, and said it was too plain, too skeletal. He added an A and a D in there, and said that sounded "better."

"Better" was a horrible word to choose, Dr. Lamb. Maybe our music isn't captivating enough yet, but pop music as a whole isn't for just for playing over the loud speakers at K-Mart. There's phenomenal, emotional, amazing music out there. Some of it is simple and some of it is complex. But do not take umbrage with an artist who didn't add a few more embellishing tones into a chord because they wanted it to ring out with clarity. That's a choice.

But also in his defense that song he was talking about was sortof shitty and a little too simplistic. The A and the D he added made the chord sound better lololololololol


Just got out of True Grit. What a good movie!


  1. At least your Classic Brian post evolves a lot. I don't think any two paragraphs were about the same thing.

  2. I was listening to that Mountain Goats album while reading this. Weird...

  3. I am crazy obsessed with Liza Forever Minelli. What're your favorites?


  4. Hey! I passed you when you were writing this! Now I feel famous. I ended up not seeing True Grit, because of the weird showing times you informed me of. But I like your blog! Sometimes I get embarrassed for our generation as well. I think we do pretty well for ourselves on the whole.

  5. You listened to my mix!!!! I honestly didn't know if you ever would. Thanks dude!! PS: Might have convinced my dad to play a BP song on his show in the near future. NPR listeners in the Springfield area might soon be coming in the droves to buy your EP.

  6. I think it's crazy of him to say that "that kind of music" is good for certain situations. It would be far more accurate to say that it's good for certain tastes.

    The fact that he thinks that other kinds of music are basically inferior really shows his narrow mindedness.



  8. Nick,
    You're actually wrong. It's a scientific fact that every piece of music ever written can be ranked according to its objective goodness. This is what the people who mapped the human genome are doing right now. Soon we will all know which songs are better than which other songs once and for all.

    -Sean O'Brien