23 February 2010

I bought this on Amazon for less than a pack of cigarettes

The Thermals: The Body, The Blood, The Machine (Sub Pop 2006)
The Onion, possessors of my dream job, apparently are making some cutbacks. The internets via Gawker reported today that the New York A.V. Club offshoot is being shut down, which really fucking sucks. However, the arrival of this news today is also mildly strange because this morning while listening to this album I began to develop a strong feeling that the A.V. Club loved this record when it first came out. It's not a slight, but it kind of makes sense. An album about trying to fight back and escape from an opponent whose ways not only oppress, but frustrate as well. It's about dealing with hypocrisy, and it deals with handling bullshit and in 2006 there was a whole lot of that going on. Dubya had been at the controls for awhile, and the country's transformation from "America, fuck yeah!" to "America, fuck you." was nearly complete.
Given the landscape, it's understandable that the Thermals were pissed at the time. It works, though. Living in the only conservative county in Maryland, I found myself really digging the outrage. Christgau said that the lead singer might just be an emo boy complaining, and I can see why he would say that because there are times where if you didn't know any better you might think it was something like that, but I think it's just the dude's voice. There's a certain resiliency to it. It gets higher than it should at times, but there's also an urgency that comes with it and the delivery method allows for more words to be crammed in which adds to the overall importance of the whole thing.
I don't generally try to understand Pavement lyrics, but the first verse of "Here" resonates when thinking about this Thermals record. "And your jokes are always bad, but they're never as bad as this/ Come join us in a prayer". It sucks getting told what to do. There's nothing worse than when someone tries to tell you how to think and act. They're not you. How can they possibly say that they 'get it' better than you when in all actuality no one really 'gets it'. Worse, yet they take society and turn it into this stadium for devotion and the masses accumulate and now more and more are telling you how to get by. More and more who don't 'get it', and all that incessant chatter makes it extra difficult it figure 'it' out for yourself. And while escape seems logical, it's not always an option as sometimes it's just not possible but that's what tomorrow is for. If this album taught me anything, it's that you don't need faith to make it. Just balls.

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