November 24, 2009 at 11:12 am | Posted in Music | Leave a comment

I am 30 years old, sitting in my one-windowed office and listening to a new Pearl Jam album (Backspacer) that I stumbled upon last night. I have a condo, a puppy, a Mazda. They come with a mortgage, a schedule, and a car payment. I manage a team of people and a fairly large-sized business. I travel a lot, always with my iPod, always loaded with every piece of music I have ever owned, available via a simple button press at any given moment. I cannot imagine a better music technology ever existing.

I am 17 years old, driving my Mother’s minivan to the used CD store with my next-door neighbor to pick up a copy of Vitalogy so that I would now own all of Pearl Jam’s albums on this awesome new media format. I have a Sony Discman that I can play in the car through a very fancy tape-deck adaptor. When I drive over a bump or a pothole, the song skips and takes a second to find its way again, but I am utterly convinced of the merits and staying power of this new device.

I am 19 years old, in college now, sitting at the dining room table of my fraternity with a tape deck hooked up to the same Discman, making what I have titled the “Ultimate Pearl Jam Mix.” I am disappointed to have to be using a tape for this endeavor, but everybody knows that you can’t just record a CD with whatever you want on it. My mix tape leans more towards their newer stuff, Merkin Ball, No Code, and I think that this is really clever and deep. Everyone knows Ten, but Merkin Ball is small and unknown and special.

All of which is a long way of saying that though I know they say that scent is the strongest memory trigger, I do think that music has it beat on most days. And while I love the discovery of an unheard band or song or album, something new by one of these bands, one of these musical touchstones in my life, a band whose career I can literally chart through the calendar of my youth and into adulthood, it just means more. And you start to understand why people are still buying new Rolling Stones albums forty years after they released their first single.

These bands, they bring you back.

I am 30 years old, sitting in my office, writing a blog about Pearl Jam.

Anywhere but here

June 26, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Posted in Life, Music | Leave a comment
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It is late on a Friday evening, and here I sit in my office doing homework for a particularly dubious cost accounting class.

I sit, also, upon a bit of a metaphysical precipice.

There is a song playing in the background in my little gray room, reverberating off the stark walls amidst the outside patter of rain and the inside roar of the cleaning crew, and it goes like this:

Have you seen me lately?

I was out on the radio, starting to change, somewhere out in America

It’s raining

Could you tell me, one thing you remember about me?

Just one thing you remember about me?

I remember me

All the little things that make up a memory

She said, she loved to watch me sleep

And she said, it’s the breathing, it’s the breathing in and out and in,

Have you seen me lately?

I can name at least three significant events of my life during which this song has been playing, quite randomly. This song, rather maudlin, always plays for me at times just like this.

I’m not quite sure what that means.

The song remains the same

June 23, 2009 at 8:43 am | Posted in Life, Music | 1 Comment
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These have been gray days here in New England, a seemingly never-ending onslaught of rain, clouds, and temperate temperatures not entirely befitting the month of June.

It weakens the soul, it does.

I have chosen, amidst the bleakness, to focus on something I encountered a few weeks ago when I need encouragement. At the beginning of the month, I found myself, rather last minute, attending a Dave Matthews concert here in Hartford on a Friday night. It was rainy and muddy and crowded, brimming with an uneasy energy that you encounter at these outdoor shows that mark the beginning of the summer season.

And it was absolutely teeming with youth.Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King

The setlist began, old standards intertwined with songs from their latest CD, and I noticed something rather remarkable. While yes, the ants marched on as always and everybody sang along, these folks, these kids, were also singing along with all of the new songs.

Songs from the album that had come out three days ago.

My heart soared.

I remember these days. These days when a new album coming out was a big deal, an actual event in your life, and you and everyone you knew were consumed with getting it, playing it, and memorizing the lyrics to it. It played at the parties you went to, it rang out from small radios behind the counters of summer jobs, and the beat up cars of college compatriots blared it from their open windows as they drove by you on the street.

Before These Crowded StreetsI, obviously, not only recall these days, but do so with great fondness. For me, the album wasn’t about a Groogrux King but rather the precedence of Crowded Streets, but I suspect that the experience largely remains the same.

And this, for some reason, fills me with great happiness and hope. For in a time of unquestionable turmoil, crushing economic conditions, and immense uncertainty, young people are still memorizing the words of an album within three days of its release, if only to be able to stand in a field on a Friday night and sing it out loud with their friends.

It really does lift you up.

Music and Lyrics

May 5, 2009 at 7:54 am | Posted in Music | Leave a comment
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For a blog titled Lyrical Uncertainty, I don’t actually spend much time discussing music here, as was, I think, part of this blog’s original charter. Or, at least, the charter in my head.

I wish that I believed in fate

I wish I didn’t sleep so late

Part of it comes from the fact that by the time I usually feel like I’ve digested an album enough to write something about it, I get some new album that excites me even more but that I recognize, thankfully, I am not yet prepared to write something coherently about. Seriously, if I put up a post within the first week of purchasing most albums, I would end up recommending to you some very, very mediocre music.

I tremble

They’re gonna eat me alive

If I stumble

They’re gonna eat me alive

One might wonder why I would willingly listen to the mediocre music in the first place. I think that in reality, while I am a lover of music, I am actually more of a lover of lyrics (maybe that was this blog’s charter, I don’t know, it’s all a haze at this point). Which is why, I posit, I am sometimes able to listen to sub-par music if the singer in question says something smart or insightful or funny. And also why I always want to sleep at the symphony. I don’t know. Maybe I should try poetry.

And the wanting comes in waves

What I do know is that if I come across one of these lyrics, a lyric that tickles my metaphorical mental-bone in some way, that song is going on repeat for a long, long time. And if you are around me, in my office, or my car, or my home – you will be made to listen to this new song a lot. And for that, I do not apologize, because these lyrics are good and special and rare.

I don’t even know what I’m in the game for

I don’t even get your T-shirt’s pun

So, I think that what I’m going to do here, the new outlet I am choosing for this lyrical obsession, is to start including random song lyrics that I’ve recently heard into my blog posts. Yes, what I’m saying is that I am extending my lyrical obsession beyond the auditory, and will now present them to you textually. Which, I suppose, is better than sexually.

Because I don’t know you all that well.

Positive Energy

April 9, 2009 at 8:27 am | Posted in Hartford, Life, Music, TV | 1 Comment
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As it’s wont to do, life has gotten a bit in the way of the chronicling of it lately. Apologies.

Being a marketeer and product developer, I often find myself  frustrated by the sheer apathy of the consumers of the world when we launch some new product or service that we’ve been laboring on for months and months. With that said, I would like to take a moment to give credit where it may be due, to recognize, to name names, and to honor those companies and products that have managed to surprise me (pleasantly) as of late.

Readers no doubt recall my recent burgling by Hartford’s criminal underworld. Returning home (in the rain), garbage bag strapped to my window and flapping in the wind, I steeled myself for the call to my insurance agent and the inevitable frustration. I needn’t have feared.gekko

Geico, of the gecko, was polite, friendly, and efficient. I was off the phone with them within 15 minutes, and they had already set up an appointment with Safelite to replace my broken window within 24 hours in my office parking lot. Thanks to them for being supremely good at what they do – fixing automobile problems in a timely and pleasant manner. To my many friends at their well travelled competitor, I am sorry, but it must be said. That gecko knows how to do car insurance.

I have, in the past, spoken quite highly of iTune’s new Genius feature. Their new line of iPods have this feature built in, and after owning one for two weeks now, I now rarely listen to music in any other way. An incredible improvement on an already fine product. Well done.

TiVo. If I were a man who wrote sonnets, a sonneteer perhaps, I would write one to TiVo. Your product is so good, your customer service so friendly, and your commitment to feature expansion so resolute, that I must commend you. Whenever I hear of the crushingly small market-share you currently have, it truly breaks my heart. Anybody in possession of eyeballs and thumbs (which, I think, covers most) – go buy one of these things.

How about you, readers? We dwellers of the Internet, we commentators on the world, tend to take a more critical look at things in the world around us. Let’s be different. Let’s be positive.

What impresses you these days?

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