Tuesday, February 15, 2011

50th Post--An iPod Retrospective

Recently I had to stop what I was doing and clean house.  There was shit everywhere; I encountered things that I saw on a daily basis but never even thought about anymore, things that mimic the superficial relationship I have with the people at the train station.  I see them, but only register them on the most shallow possible level and then immediately forget that they exist in any way.  But I was forced to consider these things again; I had finally met my end and I couldn't get anything more into the space available.  My 30 GB iPod had finally been filled, and since I had to find a way to cram about 12 new albums onto it so that I wouldn't be without them at work, I was forced to go through and evaluate my taste in music.  It was humiliating.  It was liberating.  It made me remember how bad my taste in music used to be.  So for my 50th post, I'm going to take you on a journey through my ancient iPod.

My iPod is a first-generation iPod video with 30 gigs of capacity.  I've had it for going on four years now; since iPods age about 35 years for every one revolution around the Earth's sun, it's going to be about 140 this Christmas.  It's old to the point that a group of Eskimos have been following me around, waiting for me to leave the device unattended so that they can put it on a hunk of ice and push it seaward so that it may expire with dignity and be eaten by killer whales.  But I can't allow this to happen because, like many of you, I'm ridiculously poor (and blogger money isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when you don't allow ads on your page).  So I gently will it to keep going until I can save up enough money to buy the latest and greatest thing that will be completely obsolete in a year.  The battery only lasts about an hour at this point; luckily, that's enough time to entertain me with music and stunt my social interactions for the entirety of my morning commute.  Over the years, I've filled it with music that I liked/wanted/was told to listen to, and it has perfectly preserved several snapshots into my past as a Metal D00d.

In order to do it up proper, I spent my lunch break at work one day going through the list of bands that I had on there and made a hand-lettered list of things that I haven't listened to in years.  I made the mistake the last time I went to clean it out of being overly nostalgic about the music that was on there.  Sure, keeping all my classical guitar music that I used to listen to during college on there makes me feel fancy and smart, but I haven't listened to any Bartok String Quartets or Brahms Symphonies since they gave me the degree that I now use to remove stubborn stains from the rim of my toilet.  It was time for that stuff to go.

The most striking content that was on there was my metal stuff, most of which I avoided like the plague as I evolved into the super-kvlt, totally grim form that I am today.  I'm talking about the music that I picked up over the course of my life, and I'll be candid about it with you, the reader, because I know for an absolute fact that people start off with absolutely terrible taste in music when they get into heavy metal.  I made a note that the first three Dragonforce albums were never going to be listened to again, so I said goodbye to their odes to flying away.  I noticed that my love of Cryonic Temple had long since wavered and dried up, the formerly hilarious language barrier that endeared me to songs like "Shark Attack" and "Beastslayer" now annoying.  I nixed Shadow Gallery for similar reasons.  Yes, I used to love power metal; I know it sucks, but none of us are perfect.

I threw Into the Moat into the moat.  I allowed Earth to float silently into the void and confirmed my hypothesis with Liquid Tension Experiment.  Machine Head went to the graveyard while Nile was pushed into the reeds to be picked up by an ancient king and lead the people to freedom.  So many memories!  So many bands that I listen to now with the self-aware grimace of a man who has found things that are so much better.

Probably my most horrifying youthful foray involved metalcore.  When I was coming up in California, we used to refer to shitty metalcore as "hardcore," not understanding the difference that a D-beat will make between the two genres.  In those days, every local band was doing their best (read: most generic) impersonation of Hatebreed, which we all thought was totally sweet and br00tal.  My band was not immune from this; to this day, I am guilty of metal atrocities like writing terrible breakdowns, taking horrible solos, backing up ham-fisted lyrics about Jesus (that's right, we were a specifically Christian band), and indirectly encouraging people to hardcore dance.  I always viewed hardcore dancing as the stupidest and lamest pursuit any human can engage in, but I stood idly by and watched a legion of people clumsily wave their arms and kick their legs.  To this day it haunts me, and I've never forgiven myself for allowing such stupid activities to take place.

Invisible ninjas!  Oh, God, they're everywhere!

Music like As I Lay Dying was excised from my playlist, as was Still Remains, Himsa, and several other bands that were guilty of the same crimes against humanity that I was.  I wish I had one of these to randomly post at metal shows:
 I don't think this would help, but if I could curb this dastardly activity I would feel a little better about myself.

As I pay penance for my musical missteps, I ask you: what were yours?  I know for an empirical fact that nobody just up and has great taste in metal.  It's like beer, an acquired taste that takes time to evolve and flourish.  Account for yourself, release yourself of the burden that you carry with you for the Symphorce CD you bought, or for thinking that Opeth sucked the first time you heard them (these both happened to me)!  Relay these in the comments if you are so bold.  Cleanse yourself!

As I look back at my 50 posts, I remember nights spent writing dick jokes, collaborating via email with bands and people that I respect a great deal, and discovering albums that I would have never tried to experience if it weren't for the suggestions sent to me by my friends and readership.  Nights I spent slaving over a metaphor that best describes my thundering D-boner, nights I D-jacked-it, nights I spent typing with one eye open because I was too drunk to use my cell phone or even see with both eyes simultaneously (you've probably seen more drunken screeds written by me that you'd like to even know about).  It's been fun so far; I hope to do it again soon.

I gaze at my iPod, silently willing it to stop reminding me of the tasteless retard I once was, and this relationship with my iPod will likely continue once the bands that I'm currently into have proven themselves obsolete, bereft of new ideas or to be involved in passing fads with no staying power.  I will hold my head high, however, because I am slowly developing the sense to resist such things.  I have accounted for my shitty taste above, and I encourage you to do so as well.

I briefly considered putting a Golden Girls thing here, "Thank you for being a friend" or whatever, but that's boring.  So here's something else for your Tuesday:


  1. This is a perfect post.

    Nine Inch Nails
    Linkin Park
    Sum 41
    You know, the shit that was popular when I was in middle school. Modern Rock Radio.

    I still don't like Opeth, and Jethro Tull is a way better band.

  2. Is "Audioslav" some kind of Ukrainian tribute band, Will?

    Also, I still own three Soulfly CDs.


  3. That's a bold confession, Van. I'll counter you by saying that I still have three Stratovarius albums and every studio release by the Mars Volta.

    I know, right? (I can hear you from here)