In Between Molecules of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide
It's a long and circuitous journey from start to finish today. I started the day off thinking about Nine Inch Nails. The deluxe, two disc edition of The Downward Spiral will be released on November 23. And I though, great, I can depress myself in high resolution 5.1 digital surround sound! I'm sure you've never really sunk into a "my empire of dirt" bout of self-pity until you've done it in hi-res. Interestingly (or not), NIN's The Fragile was in heavy rotation on my stereo during the last presidential election. No social commentary there; I had hated the album when it first came out and it was then (a year after its release) that I started to appreciate it. So, Al Gore began his four year meltdown to the strains of The Day the Word Went Away. I can go back four years before that and tell you that on Election night 1996, I was listening to Soundgarden's Down on the Upside. I'm pretty sure it was a new release then (hang on while I check -yep, released in 1996) and we spun that one (as much as one can spin a CD, as opposed to vinyl) often. So often, in fact, that a then three-year old DJ became enamored of it. Every night, he would ask "Mommy, Soundgarden!" and he wouldn't be able to fall asleep until Blow Up the Outside World came on. That's just ridiculous, you say. A three year old listening to that song? Were you trying to raise a psycho? Hah. You have no idea. Soundgarden had only recently surpassed The Offspring's Smash as his favorite. You should have heard him sing Come Out and Play. To this day, we make fun of him when that song comes on the radio. Keep 'em sepraded! He's eleven now and hasn't shown the slightest hint of homicidal tendencies, despite what the other mothers in my Perfect Parenting group believed. It just can't be all Tom Chapin and Barney all the time, you know? That is what makes drives kids towards hobbies that include storing dead hookers in their car trunk. I do wonder, though, what the early musical tastes of children mean for their ideals later on. For instance, Natalie, at the age of four, was enamored of Green Day's Dookie album. While Green Day wasn't overtly political back then, I do wonder if her choice of music had some bearing on her becoming a tree-hugging hippie later in life. Look at Green Day now, they're commies! Hah. Just kidding. Of course, making songs about Americans - particularly conservative Americans - being idiots doesn't make you a commie. American Idiot is actually quite a good album, title song notwithstanding. Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Jesus of Suburbia are two standout songs from the CD, though Jesus tends to get bogged down in its length; Green Day is not a band that should delve often into Who-esque concept songs. But for what it is, its enjoyable. The title song, on the other hand, makes me laugh. That would be great if it were a novelty song, but it's supposed to be a serious commentary on the political climate of the day, I think. Witness this line: I'm not a part of a redneck agenda. And I think. Your name is Billie Joe. You look like this. It's funny 'cause it's true. So what album will I remember this election by? It's hard to say; I don't listen to whole albums much anymore, everything comes by way of Winamp and the shuffle button. 8,000 or so songs at my fingertip, everything from show tunes to angry German industrial metal. Well, we have been listening to Weezer's blue album a lot. DJ has taken a liking to it and he's determined to add every song on the playlist to his guitar repertoire. I'm telling you, it was a very proud parental moment for me when I heard him say to his friend, "You've never heard of Weezer? Oh my god, they are the Best. Band. EVER." I nearly cried with pride. So the other day I hear him trying to replicate the bass line from Only in Dreams. I can hear him softly singing along with the music. Well, I can hear him if I put my ear to his closed bedroom door. And then the music stops and I run into the laundry room so I don't get caught snooping on his singing. He finds me folding shirts. "Mom? That song is really sad. Like, when he says But when we wake, itís all been erased, and so it seems, only in dreams..." He pauses. Dramatic effect. "It makes me feel sad." Oh, honey, you don't know sad until you've listened to The Wretched in surround sound while reading the latest election polls. And there you have it. My admission for the day. Iím suffering from post-debate depression disorder. For the first time in this campaign, I feel like Kerry could actually win. That's put a knot in my stomach, the kind I haven't felt since I was in the throes of a love-soaked depression that made me crawl under the covers and listen to Stabbing Westward's Darkest Days for 48 hours straight. I'm not ready to drag out the post-modern wallowing in depression music just yet (I have Alice in Chains on stand-by), but I'm getting there. What I need is for someone to shoot me up with a hypodermic needle filled with hope. Which, as we know, dangles on a string, like slow, spinning redemption. Oh, lord. If the soundtrack to this election is going to be sung by Dashboard Confessional, we're in deep shit.