Friday, December 14, 2007

Thing About 2007 In Arbitrary Order #2
"Curses" by Future of the Left

Mclusky broke up in 2005. Future of the Left released their first album in 2007. Really, two years? I was kind of deathly afraid that Andrew Falkous wouldn't ever put out any more material worth listening to, so two years really wasn't very long to wait.

Sometimes I have to treat music releases with reverence. I'd venture that this might be one of the starkest generational hallmarks of the age. Not to get to far into it, but kids, even kids born like a year after me, are so used to downloading music and having music that the idea of anticipation, of self restraint, of waiting to hear music, is becoming a lost idea. I'd fallen out of touch with what post Mclusky machinations were amounting to. I'd heard that Future of the Left had formed, and at the time had searched half heartedly for some tracks on Soulseek, coming up with only a couple of songs buried deep in some cavernous queues that I never was able to delve into. So, I was surprised when "Curses" came out; I didn't actively long for it or anticipate it. I did not count the days, or wait outside the record store or even go over on my lunch break to purchase it (though if I found it on vinyl I'd still gladly pay for it). Nope, I download it like everything and everyone else the day after it was reviewed on Pitchfork.

There was no reverence. There of course was no fucking reverence to Future of the Left. Would that they had it so easy.

With a couple of exceptions "Curses" is the only album released this year that's worth listening to. David Lee Roth, who by the way is awesome watch these videos if you don't believe me

David Lee Roth Video One

David Lee Roth Video Two

once said that if you bought a Van Halen album and put it in your collection with the rest of your vinyl, all your other records would melt. Computers and iPods make that comment irrelevant to "Curses" but it's as close to the same thing as you can get. It will melt something if you put it somewhere, maybe not quite so much as "Do Dallas" but as close as you can get.

I've mentioned it before, but it's worth repeating that Andrew Falkous is remarkable not for being a snarky cynical asshole but for being a snarky cynical asshole who writes about the banalities and uglinesses of human life with such compassion. It's sort of about cartharsis, but, as usual, that's a relatively shallow way to look at it. Saying "violence solved everything" is juvenile out of context, but who's to say what the context of "The Lord Hates a Coward" is, really? As despicable a statement it might be, Falkous invites you to identify with someone, like him, I guess, who would say such a thing with such conviction. Rather than giving release to your emotional impulses, it validates the darker impulses, confirms the darker thoughts that you file away all day as you sit behind your desk. The joy of "Curses", and the joy of Falkous's writing in general, is this confirmation. Not an ecstasy of release but an ecstasy of ultimate inclusion.

Anyone knows that inclusive groups quickly become exclusive, but Falkous offers a picture of humanity so fucked that, who cares? I hate you, you hate me, I hate me, sometimes, gee whiz if we aren't all human in the first place. And separate this please from the "punk" ideal of nihilistic self and other hatred - the Sex Pistols syndrome, the Richard Hell "I'd kill myself if I could get up the nerve" shit my pants pussyfutting around believing in anything. Falkous's speakers have obviously believed, and often still do, in something if only the idea that life is worth living just because. The joy of making fun of others, for one.

Here's one of the best lines:

"Make a living by contract bridge. Boring and magnificent. Surely you're amazed by it. Suddenly these processes do not seem significant. Now we are not worthy of friends."

And what it comes down to is how can I hear that and not say, "Christ he has me pinned the fuck down all over again."

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