17 August 2009

I Bought This on Amazon for Less Than a Pack of Cigarettes

Do you remember 1999? I remember that was the year I finally got rid of my bowl cut hair style in exchange for the Caesar look that George Clooney had made very popular at the time. My tragic fashion past aside, do you remember the music? In 1999, Britney Spears was on top of the world as her debut album ...Baby One More Time was basically the top-selling record for the entire year, and her videos were all over MTV and MTV still played videos. This was also the same year that Christina Aguilera burst onto the scene with "Genie In A Bottle". The Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC were both insanely popular. This was the year of really shitty pop music that would go on to completely change the definition of what "pop" music was. On the other side of the spectrum, Limp Bizkit and Korn were both mad popular with those with angst. There was also Eminem, who everybody dug while being simultaneously frightened and offended. Then that led to that whole thing where Eminem started making fun of Britney and Christina and Fred Durst, and he made that one video to further emphasize that point. Everyone thought Blink 182 was zany because they made that one video where they made fun of all the boy bands. And, the members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers all stopped using heroin and their music suffered as a result. 
It wasn't all bad though. In that same year, the Flaming Lips delivered The Soft Bulletin, The Roots dropped Things Fall Apart, and Wilco arrived with Summerteeth. The Jesus Lizard and Pavement both broke up, and that was awful but the whole year still wasn't a total bust. A young, up-and-coming rapper from New Orleans released his very first album. He went by the name Lil' Wayne, and remarkably he is still around today.
Everything that has already been mentioned fits nicely into the pantheons of music history which now leads us to the album that I just bought on Amazon for less than pack of cigarettes. And, I have to plead general ignorance on this as well because truthfully I had no idea that this band was releasing albums this long ago. Les Savy Fav released The Cat and The Cobra during the turbulent time that was 1999, but its a record that doesn't slide properly into place. Rather, this disc is a bit of a beast.
With this album there's the music on one hand, but there's a whole other story going on at the same time. The songs on the album are post-punk revival or post-hardcore or art punk or whatever the hell else you want to call it, but the whole thing is bigger than that. At one point on "Wake Up", Tim Harrington delivers the line "The air in there is static and unstable/There's a rapping at the door." Is this a song about the weather with a possible Poe reference tacked on the end of it? No. It's more like a relay for the impending revolution. Its LSF saying, "Hey. We know there's a lot of shit at the moment, but don't worry because eventually this shit won't be so bad." Its similar to that line of thinking in which some believe that the only way society will correct itself is after they see the absolute worst that is possible. LSF is talking to the real people. They're not singing limp-wristed songs about how they want it that way or how if you rub them the right way you'll get what you want. They're recognizing that we as people actually live in a state of unsatisfied desire as opposed to the guise of satisfaction that the masses live under. "We're all gluttons" as they say, and no matter how unsettling that is to the majority its closer to the truth then whatever bullshit was permeating to the surface at this time. On "Reformat", there's a sailor about to be executed and as the ax closes in on him all he says is "set me free". It doesn't matter if he doesn't make it in this particular life time because he is going to be free somewhere else. Its all about sacrifices, and being willing to just let go. If you can't let go then you're just going to be this tightly wound ball of nerves and concerns and you'll end up drinking yourself to an early death because of your inability to revel in the moment. Without reveling there is no revelation. 

2 comments:

  1. Also remember this was a year when many people thought they world was going to end. Maybe drinking yourself to an early death did not appear to be such a negative thing. Maybe time is better spent drunk. All the bullsht music let people escape/ignore what was real. Clearly LSF was not embracing the party like its 1999 mentality. However, messages like those discussed should never be ignored and can just as easily be applied in these bleak times. Maybe I should get this album from you.

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  2. Very true, but drinking yourself to death is kind of like giving up and no matter how bleak and awful shit becomes its kind of lame to just check out like that. You can escape all you want, but you gotta touch back down occasionally. But yeah, give the album a listen. I can mail it to you or whatever. Just tell me where to send it.

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