Thursday, June 19, 2008


I woke up to find Michelle watching a Doctor Who marathon on TV.

So yeah, today is the day we prove our geekiness and just watch Doctor Who all day long, apparently. Summer vacation rocks.


Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "I Feel Fine"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Jesus Of Suburbia"

So I came one step closer to becoming suburban middle class scum yesterday: Michelle and I got a Costco membership.

I've resisted places like Costco for years. Hate them. Hate the idea of purchasing a palate of breakfast cereal because it was "on sale cheap." I feel kinda like I've sold out, even if the only reason we got it was so we could purchase stuff for the school.

Oh, and a case of Vitamin Water. I don't care for the stuff, but Michelle does, and 24 bottles for under $20 is a ridiculously good deal. Seriously.

Only a couple more days to go. The end is nigh, people, the end is nigh!


Song of the Moment: My Morning Jacket, "I'm Amazed"

Monday, June 09, 2008

"The Good Times Are Killing Me"

My boss announced that she's leaving midway though the summer. Part of it is the possibility of her husband moving midway through the next school year, and part of it is exhaustion.

This job wears people to the bone. The burnout rate is ridiculous, though it's better this year than last (when we had 9 of our 22 staff leave, including the director).

Just three and a half days to go, then I get a break. It's all I can do to hold off panic and bolt myself. I hate these moments of self-doubt.

In other news, the computer at my desk here in the classroom is wheezing like an asthmatic running a marathon at 7,000 ft. elevation. It's a bad scene, yo.


Song of the Moment: Modest Mouse, "Bukowski"

Monday, June 02, 2008

In Defense of The Bends

You'd think that, after more than a decade, an argument like this would be over and done with. You'd be wrong. Most people, to my knowledge, still say OK Computer is the best Radiohead album. The usual counterproposal is that it's actually Kid A. Me, I've always preferred The Bends.

Don't get me wrong, I recognize the importance of OK Computer and Kid A, I really do. But I think, for my money, The Bends is stronger from start to finish.

Sonically, The Bends is more interesting than either of the other two. While OK Computer and Kid A may each manage to develop a very specific sonic palette, with the former full of murky foreboding and the latter full of all manner of electronic squiggles and blips, The Bends goes for a clean, crisp production style that puts the guitars and Thom Yorke's vocals up front. While OK Computer and Kid A may create a strong sense of mood with their productions, a strong sense of mood does not great music make.

A lot is made of the thematic content of OK Computer, and I will admit that you've got me there. There's no overarching thematic concept to The Bends, unless "let's make a great record full of great songs" counts as a theme. And really, what makes a record great: the theme, or the songs? Let me answer that question for you: the songs. If the songs aren't great, the album won't be great, no matter how compelling the concept (just ask Pink Floyd). Taken on a song-by-song basis, The Bends is stronger, more varied, and more interesting. There are great rockers ("Iron Lung," opener "Planet Telex"), cerebral ballads (the glorious "Fake Plastic Trees," the lilting "Nice Dream"), and songs that fall somewhere in between (the breathtaking closer, "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"). While there are arguably some great songs on OK Computer ("Paranoid Android" and "Karma Police," of course, and the off=putting "Climbing up the Walls"), they get lost in the murk and virtually all slower, downtempo songs. Too much gets lost in the swell of shimmer and ephemera.

Honestly, whenever I reach for a Radiohead album, it's usually The Bends or Hail to the Thief (which isn't as consistent as The Bends but is still fantastic). OK Computer may be the one that folks crow about, and Kid A may be the one that changed all the rules about what rock and roll is supposed to be, but for my money, The Bends is the best record.