“a strong voice coming from the space”

a while back, i made a few lists of my favourite songs of all time (they can be found here and here). i have another one to add to the list: jabdah, by koto.

specifically, the 7″ remix (seen above) is my favourite version, largely because of how it starts so strong, right out of the gate.

an old friend of mine introduced me to koto a year ago. he sent me this link as a half joke along with a bunch of other “serious” music but this was the only thing that stuck out to me. i loved the synth sounds, the melodies, the flow of the song, the guy’s keyboard dance moves, his karate gi, the space station stuff going on in the background…all of it. it was sort of like babymetal in that i knew it was silly and i shouldn’t like it so much, but i did, and i still do.

something else about jabdah that i loved was how it made me feel. it makes me feel really fucking happy, like i just don’t care anymore about pollution or politics or any of that boring shit. at first i thought it was just because it’s a happy, upbeat song, but after listening to it many times in the last year and giving it much thought, i realized recently that the reason it makes me feel so good is that it literally makes me feel like a kid again when i hear it. so i wondered why it would make me feel like a kid, and i realized that it was the combination of the various synth sounds with the melodies — together they remind me of other 80’s synth music i liked as a kid, particularly danny elfman’s gratitude and harold faltermeyer’s axel f, both from the beverly hills cop soundtrack.

now, this element has a few layers to it: like most kids, i didn’t worry about all the stuff i worry about now. life was simpler and happier then so hearing music that reminds me of that happy time makes me feel good. that part is obvious. but going further down the rabbit hole, i also remember listening to the beverly hills cop soundtrack while on a road trip with my dad to drumheller, alberta to see dinosaur bones. i remember camping with my dad and brother, loving the tyrrell museum, eating rocky road cereal (a once in a lifetime treat from my dad), and visiting our relatives who had pinball machines in their basement — all things i really liked and have since associated with the beverly hills cop soundtrack.

so when i hear jabdah, its overall sound reminds me of the beverly hills cop soundtrack, which reminds me of that great road trip with my dad and brother, which reminds me of how good it felt to be a carefree child doing fun things. that’s why i like it so much.

well, that and the fact that jabdah‘s just a great song.

i like unraveling these mysteries of my own mind. i’m like my own therapist sometimes.

assorted thoughts

one. this is over a month too late but i’m absolutely psyched about this steroid-free USADA era in UFC. the fact that michael bisping never got a title shot till this year because he was beaten by steroid-using cheats is a fucking travesty, but finally winning the middleweight belt after those injustices just makes his triumph that much sweeter. and as much as i enjoyed all the fights from the wild west days of UFC, i don’t think that any of those results are quite legitimate due to the uneven playing field of users and non-users. now that everyone is starting to come on board and realize they can’t cheat anymore, we’re finally seeing who really is the best, and i find that thrilling.

bisping_michael_belt

everyone who called him a gatekeeper for all those years can blow it out their asses. in the new world of clean fighters, he’s proven himself to be one of the best.

two. i don’t think any UFC fighters should be able to use the excuse “my supplement must have been tainted” in order to decrease their penalty for doping. it’s been a year or two since the USADA has been testing fighters and in that time we’ve seen multiple cases of supposedly tainted supplements, so i think it’s reasonable that everyone using supplements should either routinely get those supplements tested so that they know they aren’t accidentally cheating, or they should simply quit using supplements altogether. everyone knows better by now.

three. i learned two days ago that babymetal just performed in seattle last week, and i had no fucking idea about it. i am beside myself with dismay. i checked their website just several months ago and didn’t see anything about a seattle date, and figured any concert announcements would give at least 4-5 months notice of the show, but it turns out i was wrong. this happened once before with dead can dance playing in vancouver. i was just as upset then. it looks like i need to either sign up for annoying email updates or remember to check the websites of a handful of bands more regularly. christ.

four. i felt sluggish, lethargic today. as if i should be getting stuff done but wasn’t motivated enough, and that made me feel a little crummy. then dana and i walked to mason’s and i suddenly felt much better. i was reminded that it’s summer and it’s fun to do nothing in particular. there was a really shitty, really small town-ish sign on mason’s door about a contest celebrating their 60th year of operation. it reminded me of similar tragic, sad signs i’ve seen in tiny stores in tiny towns on road trips with jenn. it was so nice. that’s the sort of thing i love about shawnigan.

peell3

here’s a poster jenn and i saw in pe ell, WA. it cracked me up.

i also bought an eat-more candy bar and a piece of smooth black licorice, and those were great too. they’re both a little obscure, very reminiscent of my youth, and obviously super delicious. i rarely see anyone eat those things and i don’t understand why.

i’ll close this entry with an old eat-more commercial that confused and fascinated me as a kid. now i just find it annoying. whatever.

karate

babymetal just released a new single and i think it’s fucking awesome.

i love how their shit continues to mix seemingly disparate styles and feelings. to me, this song is serious, silly, fun, catchy, heavy, whimsical, and touching — all at once. that’s amazing.

i’ll never understand how babymetal’s detractors can fail to see any value in what they do. i think it’s vastly more interesting, more multidimensional, and more fun than 99% of the bonehead garbage i hear in metal, or any other genre, for that matter. how could anyone not want to simultaneously bang their heads and copy the girls’ dance moves when listening to this stuff??

can’t wait for the new album.

saccharine

jenn and i watched the lego movie the other day. we both loved it. lots of fun. i’ve had everything is awesome stuck in my head since.

i love ridiculously simple bubblegum pop music. when there’s no pretension, no acting like they’re actually saying super important things, when it’s just straight ahead fun, that’s the stuff i really dig. interesting musical subtleties still help of course, but only as long as it’s not done in a “look how clever we are” kind of way. it’s best when those neat details feel more like someone having a good time fucking around with a song, coming up with cool things to add to it. that’s how i feel about everything is awesome: it’s fun, catchy, interesting, unpretentious. that’s just dandy.

there’s a fair amount of pop music i like for similar reasons. i love a lot of stuff by japan’s puffy ami yumi. i think nice buddy was their first song that i was like WOW over and i’ve since found quite a few more by them i also like. like the theme song for their cartoon tv show:

and of course, i’m a huge babymetal fan. they obviously venture a little further outside of traditional pop territories but i still think that’s basically what they’re making: fun, quirky, catchy pop music. just with distorted guitars and some background growling vocals now and then.

as much as i tend to primarily listen to death metal, i really believe there is a time and place for most things, and bubblegum pop is no exception. people who can’t dig on madonna‘s immaculate collection now and then are probably taking themselves far too seriously for my liking.

why live music is dying (or part of the reason, anyway)

i fucking hate electronic music, or EDM or whatever you want to call it. basically, if some loser with a laptop and mixer in front of them is just pressing ‘play’ on their computer and then pulling this stupid move

i’m loading a gun right now

as if they’re actually playing music, as if they’ve actually created something unique and interesting, i become homicidal.

but it’s not all EDM’s fault. live music — live rock and metal music in particular — have been doing some fucking corny stuff for years and years and years, and even still continue to perpetuate the stuff, so i can’t blame people for wanting something different, something new. my first complaint is big light shows.

oh wow, COOL, i love lights

light shows are fucking stupid. maybe coloured lights were cutting edge back in the 50’s when people still used tins cans and string to call each other but wake up, it’s 2015. and the worst part is that all those expensive lights and their crazy controllers can’t compensate for a boring fucking live band. just look at the pic above. imagine it with normal room lighting. it would be boring as all hell because the band is all just standing there, doing nothing. throw some lights on it and guess what. now it’s red and blue and still boring as all hell.

and smoke machines. give me a fucking break. who thought smoke machines were cool in the first place, and why? did they think it looked like a seance, like a demon was being summoned? it just looks like a corny fucking magic show at a kid’s birthday to me. i honestly don’t understand what vibe or ambiance anyone is trying to achieve with smoke. plus it dries out my eyes, nose, and throat like crazy. it’s basically the equivalent of clapping a bunch of chalk board erasers together — it’s shitty, especially for the people on stage singing and playing instruments.

if i was a caveman, this smoke might add an element of mystery or danger to the show.

and it’s the same thing as the lights — take the smoke away, and is the show entertaining? get that band playing in broad daylight, is it still exciting? because if it isn’t, if a band is relying on tired old fucking gimmicks as a pathetic attempt to inject some energy into their live shows, they’re a fucking disgrace. smoke and lights do not an exciting show make.

artists and performers who love and believe in what they are doing make an exciting show.

i don’t need any god damn advice

i’m just a goth girl at heart.

i realized a number of years ago that i don’t like getting advice from anyone. i noticed this over a few times when i was dealing with some kind of bullshit in my life, trying to figure out the best way to handle it. each time, i was aware of my different options or whatever and the various consequences, and was having a hard time deciding which would be best for me. i talked to a few of my closest friends about what was going on, and no one really had any good advice. i got a lot of “shit, that sucks,” “i don’t know what i’d do if i were you,” and “i’d do this.” and none of those things were any help to me. i was still left with the same options and consequences.

the thing is, no one can make any decisions for you. when you’re dealing with shit, you have to deal with it. that’s all there is to it. it can be hard as hell but that’s what needs to happen for you to get through it. i used to think it felt good to talk to friends about stuff i was dealing with, just as some sort of release or catharsis, but now i don’t even believe that. i consistently found that whenever i talked to friends about heavy shit, i wound up hoping they might illuminate some sort of new understanding or way of looking at my situation, and that rarely happened. so all those times, i just wound up spending 2 hrs rehashing the same shit i had been mulling over in my mind for the last week, except this time i did it out loud, which was even more annoying. and i was no further ahead by the end of it.

so now, i usually like to just keep my drama to myself. i bottle it up inside until i’m under an immense amount of pressure. then i react violently and unexpectedly to the slightest unrelated thing, like when someone bumps my ankle with a shopping cart at the store and i throw my basket down in a rage, spilling oranges all over the floor, and scream “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, DO YOU HAVE NO FUCKING AWARENESS OF ANYONE ELSE AROUND YOU, YOU STUPID SELFISH CUNT? I HAVE A GUN IN MY CAR, DO YOU WANT TO SEE ME USE IT?” just kidding. i actually keep a lot of my shit to myself because i have learned to be confident in my abilities to work through my personal problems. i just need enough time and rational thought to achieve it. and i feel good about that.

i HATE it when people bump my ankles.

this isn’t to say that i don’t need friends to lean on. i absolutely do. sometimes there is some unknown aspect to a problem i’m working through, something i can’t put my finger on, and sometimes a friend can see what that thing is or lead me to figure it out myself, like dana did when i was depressed by babymetal last year.

something kind of funny related to my babymetal depression is that after dana helped me figure out why i was depressed, i told ben about the whole thing. but before i could even finish what i was saying and get to the punchline, ben said, “so you felt like you were able to remember and appreciate what that youthful joy felt like but you were no longer able to experience it firsthand anymore because you are so weighed down by adult concerns.” it was absolutely incredible. ben’s intuition and understanding of me was stunning, like that of a high paid psychotherapist. that was one case where i could have gone to a friend for advice and been fixed right up but it was a real one-off. you can’t expect that kind of magic from people, ever.

no, the only way to reliably get through the shit that life hands you is to give yourself lots of time to process it and decide how you can come to grips with it. at least that’s what works for me. you do whatever the hell you want. i don’t care.

babymetal: one year later


this is the weirdest thing. it was around this time last year that i first heard of babymetal so i guess the cold and gloomy weather reminded me of it and had me listening to them even more than usual for the last week. then i thought i should write a blog post about how i feel about babymetal one year in, to see if the novelty had worn off or anything like that. i started and wrote, “i got into babymetal almost exactly a year ago.” then i wondered, what was the exact date i got into them? i knew that i had emailed peter, slayer dave, ben, and dylan (my super elite casual metal conversation bros) when i first learned about babymetal so i searched my email for that particular correspondence.

i found it, and guess what date that was. november 29th, 1 year ago to the day. if that’s not spooky, i don’t know what is. it certainly makes me feel like something is telling me, “yes david, babymetal is awesome.” anyway, this is what i emailed to the SECMC guys one year ago:

i’ve seen this name mentioned on blabbermouth several times recently, sounded stupid, didn’t care. finally wore me down and i checked it out. in typical japanese style, it’s fucking weird. so it’s a teenage girl and two pre-teen girls essentially singing japanese pop and dancing to very competent metal. i actually like the dancing, silly japanese girl shouts, and pop aspects more than the metal but overall it’s pretty neat.

i clearly remember feeling like “i’m going to be annoyed by this any second now…any second now…” but after a week of repeated listens, i tucked my tail between my legs, admitted defeat, and realized i actually really liked babymetal. and now here i am, a year later, and i still love em for all the same reasons. there’s one particular live video of them from the metrock 2013 festival that i really like. the japanese crowd is going nuts, you can see crowd surfers and circle pits. it’s with the skeleton band who don’t actually play their instruments but they are so much fun to watch, jumping around and acting goofy. even though the music is canned in this vid, su performs all of her vocals live, and you can tell by how pitch-y she gets that it was a really exciting show. she’s obviously really pumped from the crowd and over-performing just a little bit, getting a little sharp here and out of breath there, but combined with the crazy crowd, fun skeleton band, and super fun dance moves, the little vocal imperfections make the performance riveting to me.

watching and listening to this particular live vid reminded me of the depression i spiraled into after getting into babymetal. it was really weird, and tough for me to figure out. here’s what happened, in a nutshell. basically, a lot of babymetal’s music reminds me of being a teenager in shawnigan lake, of endless sunny days and driving around with friends and going to beaches or gigs or parties and camping on mount baldy and late nights. it gives me the same feeling that i experienced in those happy times, those times in my life that may as well be a silent grainy 8 mm film from the 60’s, or an episode of the wonder years. life was pretty much non-stop fun and good times then. i didn’t worry about plastic bags in the ocean, re-injuring my back, making sound but green-friendly financial investments, widespread corruption in government and business, the impending extinction of countless animals, glaciers melting at astounding rates, and racial issues. so it felt really bittersweet and beautiful to listen to babymetal and be clearly reminded of that simple, wonderful, long-past time.

then i started feeling shitty, and i couldn’t figure out why. it lasted two or three weeks. finally i went for a walk with dana and talked about it with him. after a little while and some good chatting with a good bud, we figured it out: i was depressed because i could remember carefree times of my life and relate when other people experienced them, but felt like that period had passed for me and i could only ever now view it as an outsider. i felt like i could look through a window and see people inside, experiencing the same joy i used to when i was a kid, and say, “yup, i remember feeling like that. it sure was great.” but due to adult life and my bitter outlook on the world in general, i could no longer be in there with those happy folks and actually feel that joy myself anymore. i felt relegated to a grey adult life of worries and concerns, and that sucked.

as soon as i understood why i had been feeling so shitty, i actually felt pretty much fine again. i guess just understanding the root of my problem gave me a lot of comfort. i also realized that i was being a huge baby and still had lots of description-defying fantastic times in my life, like the first time i went to burning man with jenn. they may be a bit harder to find now but those moments are still around. i also learned that those moments happen more if i actively seek them, by just going out, partying with friends, doing cool stuff. perhaps not by mere coincidence, the summer following this depression was the best one i’ve had since i was a teenager, full of old-fashioned, carefree joyous moments and tons of fun with friends. so take that, depression. life isn’t so goddamned bad.

and that deep personal insight babymetal gave me is only icing on the cake. even disregarding my profound experience brought on by their music, i still love babymetal. i still think their whole package is fun, heavy, professional, smart, and well-executed. i still listen to them on a regular basis and don’t think of it as a gimmick or novelty. to me, it’s just a new, crazy, legit thing.

conclusion: after one year, i still think babymetal is just as awesome.