Starting a series where I can document pieces of media that transform me, even for a bit. The Past Is a Grotesque Animal by of Montreal I saved a comment from YouTube’s audio-only playthrough of this song that just said: “have you ever felt every emotion at once?” I’ve only ever listened to Cherry Peel-era of Montreal works, which took place a good decade before this song was released. Seeing comparisons to Car Seat Headrest’s Beach Life-in-Death drew me to Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? in the first place. (This is of Montreal’s 8th studio album.) And wow, I can feel the influence, the reading off literary influences and hysterics to the clear psychedelic influences that punctuate the track. Kevin Barnes’ vocals aren’t particularly strong, but the composition of this piece is something else. It’s relentless and moving; you need to take this in with a serious listen to feel it enveloping you. I took a walk a few blocks around downtown New Haven, trying to feel the grandness of this album and tell myself that I was worth it. I’ve never heard a breakdown orchestrated like this: as if everything bad has been renewed and transformed and is out to be defeated once more.
Maybe you’ve read the Pitchfork or Stereogum lists thinking about how to encapsulate the way music transforms and shifts you; trying to figure out how it does so for others, figuring out what has moved you and what also excels technically. Lists are kind of shitty, and we can debate over patterns: why technicality and trends are at times praised over genuinely, or what truly defines influence in circles that are so secluded. In the end, there’s a common love and struggle in putting into words these inexplicable things that as easily divide as they unite us. There’s no reason to value my list. What I can offer however, is another take after seeing these 200 song-long collective curations–having lived this decade through music and records that were essentially formative. I sometimes recall the moment I was transformed and had found my first outlet in music in a summer in the Philippines, back in middle school, listening to America’s Suitehearts off Fall Out Boy’s Folie à Deux for the first time (when I got more “seriously” into music, it was also my first vinyl purchase). Since then, I, like the universal story of every other person who was once a teenager and a bit more lonely than average — moved through years with music by my hand, music guiding me through awkward conversations, music being the only time I would genuinely smile, music being something that destroyed me when I was deprived of it. It’s dramatic, but isn’t that what our teen years are for?
Starting a series where I can document pieces of media that transform me, even for a bit. This year, I made a decision to log the music I’ve been listening to per month. Nothing too intentional: just dumping the music that I would listen to, on repeat. I feel like someone who is very much shaped by the things I love — aren’t we all? I want to start doing the same for the things I consume, in turn, hopefully making me more cognizant of why I love them and why I am drawn. If there’s something that has meant something to you, I would love to hear what it is, too. Nicole Kidman / Anne Hathaway – Hana Vu Very much digging soft, groovy songs — especially when their music videos are recorded with dreamy California visuals reminiscent of what I wished my high school film projects looked like. Hana Vu is 19 (I am also 19) and has built this cohesive, wispy sound, toured across America, and titled an album the exact way I’d imagine a nineteen-year-old would name something. There’s themes about identity and displacement that I can’t stop thinking about. There’s screaming that kicks in right where I want it to The band’s Audiotree Live session is also wonderful. I’m in love with both their live and recorded versions, and am looking forward to more lives just because they’re cleanly different. Hereditary (2018) I was swamped in this weird headspace of uncertainty and quiet during the two-week stretch around halloween — just forcing myself to go out, experience things, but also not really absorbing anything. It was paralyzing and I don’t remember truly thinking. One night, I settled in alone with a bottle of vodka and just watched Hereditary the whole way through (as much as I could) for the first time; I’m the type of person who can only stomach horror when I’m in a very specific type of mood. (I can’t even read the SCP Wiki, something I love and used to contribute to a lot, unless I’m feeling that sort of energy.) That night, I feel like I got a deeper understanding of why we sometimes must be sickening to live. Ari Aster’s brutal, ritualism that did not decimate for the sake of it but to tell of something deeper; the last 20 minutes of the film pieced like a writer wrapping everythingMore?