I’m in love with the organs on this album.
I’m in love with the organs on this album.
It was recently pointed out to me that Sufjan Stevens’ “Illinois” is now 10 years old. Illinois came out just after I had graduated high school. I have never been to Illinois. I didn’t understand many of the references. But the lush arrangements, the depth of the lyrics and the vulnerability in Stevens’ delivery struck me and stuck with me, and have for a decade.
I’ve pointed this out before, but I’m acutely aware that all the music I loved in high school is now aging. I can remember the feeling of time fading away when I first heard Pearl Jam on the classic rock station, but I was never a Pearl Jam fan; it was just like seeing a Buzzfeed post about Tamagotchis; a moment of remembrance, nothing more. But now it’s happening with art I felt a connection with, that moved depressed teenage Myles.
Illinois, unlike some of the other music I was listening to 10 years ago, has deeepened for me over the years. Whereas in my first year of college I gravitated toward the raw hurt of Casimir Pulaski Day, a story about a seemingly random loss, now my favorite might be The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us. People have been arguing about the song for years on songmeanings.com. The prevailing theory seems to be that the narrator is a boy whose romantic feelings for his friend drives a wedge between them. Whatever the reason, it too, is a story of loss, not because of “cancer of the bone,” but because of love, and how that loss can linger.
Anyway, they’re all great songs, and they’ve all stood the test of time. I should note—I’m visiting Illinois later this month. Luckily, I’ve had my travel music picked out for a decade now.
And yes, I realize I haven’t written here for months. I’ll try harder.
I went through a stage in high school when I only listened to ‘Legend,’ the Bob Marley compilation. This is Marley’s most romantic song, and my favorite of his. This video is way goofy though.
I’ve been listening to ‘Atlas,’ the new Real Estate album, for about two weeks straight. I love their music. It seems like it was made for driving around the suburbs. Even the cover art speaks to me – it’s the Alexander’s mural that stood at the intersection of Routes 4 and 17 in my hometown of Paramus. I don’t know if I like ‘Atlas’ more than ‘Days,’ but luckily for me, I don’t have to choose.
Sorry about the gap in posts. I was dog-sitting. It didn’t go well.
I’ve been bumping this today and it’s making me feel better. I’m not a man of faith anymore, but if they played this in church I might stand and praise. I first heard this on a “How to Kill the DJ” mix by Optimo. I forgot about it for a while and then I heard it again at an LCD Soundsystem show, where the band used it as its entrance music. It got us dancing from the get-go. I’ve never been to a club. When I dance it’s at a concert or a wedding. But some songs will get me moving no matter where I am.
I bought Sun Kil Moon’s album “Benji” last week. It’s a collection of earnest, intimate songs like this one, set against plucked guitar with lines like “Micheline, Micheline, Micheline / She had dreams like anyone else.” You can’t play this music in the background. The songs and the stories they contain are too insistent. Just listen.
I heard this randomly Sunday while trawling the Last.fm charts and Spotify. It got my head bopping at work. If you’re having a party, throw this on and please invite me. Kitsune makes a bunch of great mixes if you have more parties. Happy dancing.
I bought this CD last week. I had downloaded it in college and I listened to it frequently on Spotify before ordering it. I put the title track on a mix CD in the fall of my sophomore year when I broke up with my first girlfriend, and it always reminds me of driving through orange leaves, no matter when I listen to it. Nick Drake had a sad life. He had overdosed on medication and died before he turned 30. No one had really heard his music. Now this song is in commercials. His lyrics: “Pink moon gonna get you all,” are so ominous, but he sings so calmly and the lovely little piano phrase that drops in halfway through is so insistent and reassuring that you end up feeling OK anyway.
Real Estate makes melancholy music shrouded in sunshine guitar lines. I listened to their 2011 album ‘Days’ all summer and then more after that. My brother got me into them. We saw them play a benefit concert at a middle school in Ridgewood, where they grew up. The shitty speakers blew out the vocals but you could still tell they had great songs. We saw them again with my sister in October at Bowery Ballroom. I won my tickets in a contest. This time the songs reached us unadulterated. They played several new songs, including this one. I remember dancing a few feet away from my brother and catching his eye as they played, grinning and mouthing ‘so good,’ drawing a nod of agreement. Their next album ‘Atlas’ comes out in March. I can’t wait.