Song Of The Day 6/19/2015: American Music Club – “More Hopes and Dreams”

This isn't the song I had planned for today. It's a last-minute change.

Let me tell you how Song Of The Day works. I have this editorial calendar for the purpose of keeping track and planning Song Of The Day and all the theme weeks. Right now this calendar goes up to, believe it or not, February 26, 2016. Not all the spaces are filled in of course; in fact between the end of this coming July and February 2016, probably three-quarters of those slots are empty and waiting to be programmed. But next February is where it goes up to now.

When I get a theme week idea and think it might be good, I check the calendar and pencil in that theme week, typically quite a few weeks, even months into the future. Then I go about finding songs that'll fit the week and fill them in until the week's complete. Pretty simple. Sometimes in the planning stages I might decide the theme isn't going to work -- not enough appropriate songs, research trails that go stone-cold, a really flimsy or over-complicated idea, whatever reason -- so I can that idea and rearrange the schedule. But that doesn't happen so much. Generally I have ample time to figure out how to make that theme fly, or at the very least coast along with acceptable momentum.

Finally, when I have all the embed codes and images in order, I try to write up and publish the Songs Of The Day as much in advance as possible. That ends up being kind of hit-or-miss; there are still plenty of weeks when I'm writing every night at 10:30 for a midnight publish. But other weeks I've written all the blog posts early and have set them to publish on their respective days. The original post that was going to go up here today was written and set up this past Wednesday.

This week's theme was "Synthesizers That Are Dead Inside." The general idea (which I strayed from a little bit) was songs that were primarily electronic with vocals that either betrayed little emotion or accompanied a complete emotional breakdown. Then I'd write my usual pithy commentary, generally organized to give information and have a little meaningful laugh over the blankness and rigidity of the vocals. A bit arrogant or mocking, maybe, but that's what I do for entertainment here, and usually it's all in good fun.

Today's song was supposed to be "Frankie Teardrop" by Suicide. The idea behind putting that song was to end Synthesizers That Are Dead Inside Week with a shock. A lot of you may have heard this song; it often shows up on listicles like "The Most Depressing Songs of All Time." For those that haven't heard it, it's a 10-minute near-dirge about a man who loses his blue-collar job, comes home and commits unspeakable violence against his family before killing himself.

The accompanying text I had planned was a really long disclaimer discouraging you from listening to the song. I wrote a long opening paragraph telling you to go to the garden center of your local discount store and buy some perennials, spend some time planting them, and enjoy watching them grow with your family. Just don't listen to the fucking song, which I've conveniently placed at the top of this page. Ha-ha. See what great laughs we're having about artistic nihilism; by telling you not to listen to the song I'm of course daring you to listen to the song, but don't say I didn't warn you to do some gardening instead. Ha-ha.

Well, maybe someday when my desensitization barometer's back in the blue again I can pull that joke off. After what happened in Charleston last night, though... about the last thing I want to do is crack wise about a song with such horror at its center. It's a brilliant piece of art, but I can't put it up here today.

I used to occasionally -- very occasionally -- veer from music on this blog and write editorial pieces about things that made me angry. At heart they were intended as comic editorials -- I mean, the things that get me angry are, like, seeing the media get stuff wrong, driven by my frustration at not being able to fulfill my ambition to work for a media outlet. (I mean, Christ, where are the proof-readers and fact-checkers? Doesn't this stuff embarrass the Washington Post or Rolling Stone? Or is it just not in their budget to -- never mind. This is another story.)

That parenthetical part is why I don't do that kind of writing much anymore. I'd ramble and ramble in efforts to nail absolutely every part of that story to the wall, to put up so many points and marks against someone else's perceived stupidity that I'd be considered the victor by sheer mass. It was what Bill O'Reilly notably called "bloviating."

There have been times over the last year or so when I've thought about saying something, because I've been incensed over what's been happening in the country. I haven't. I've said stuff in short bursts, maybe, but not in long treatises. But my cynicism over the sociopolitical landscape in America -- which I'm unhappy at myself for possessing, but I don't see what else I could be in good conscience but cynical -- just prevented me from saying something, because I thought I'd either be (a) too histrionic and inflamed; (b) too out of touch; or (c) too repetitive.

This event, though... fuck it.

It was terrorism. You've heard that a lot in the last 48 hours and that's exactly what it is. It was an intellectually segmented fool who was either raised with or acquired a cosmically idiotic and fallacious notion as to what "pride" is supposed to be. He invented an enemy that I will bet you seldom, if ever, posed any threat to him.

And in this bullshit climate where a failed police academy hopeful can hunt down a black kid coming home from a 7-11 and shoot him, where a panicked patrol officer can shoot eight bullets in the back of a black man running away and then try to frame him in full view of a camera, where a Texas cop with a Starsky and Hutch complex barrel-rolls in a heroic effort to contain the clear and present danger of a 15-year-old black girl in a bikini, and where squirrelly pundits on hyperactive "news" channels try to insist racism wasn't behind any of these grotesquely stupid creeds and actions, this sunny-faced kid thought it was completely appropriate to take the gun his daddy so thoughtfully gave him for his birthday, go to a church (a church) and gun down nine African-Americans. After sitting through an hour of their religious service.

That's it. Fuck it. Where the hell are we going to go from here? What is anybody going to do about this? How long do we have until we turn into Mad Max East? You're telling me there's even more headroom to go before we crank up the dystopia?

There's lots of invective flying around. It is, sadly, what we now expect to emerge from the muck when tragedies like this happen. You can almost set your watch by it. Those detached from reality of what's going on 60 floors below them on the street come up with their fail-safe solution, usually some globule of open-carry rights, a weathered King James Version, stopping a mosque from being built and demonizing the poor. Maintaining the cycle is far more important to them than meeting the people aggrieved. Let alone offering to help, God fucking forbid.

I don't have anything to say to them. But I don't even have anything to say to people I agree with. What good is saying anything doing? What has it done? Even now, I'm looking at all these words I'm writing (and editing in after first post) and wondering what real value is inherent in them. Nothing changes. We talk and talk and type and type and people just keep getting sicker.

(Sigh.)

Anyway.

I regret if this SOTD has caused you any inconvenience, but I couldn't put more violence up here today. Even if it's great art, even if I was going to hilariously demystify it, even if there was an honest point. In fact I didn't want to put anything up here today. I wanted to put absolute neutrality up here today.

But, well. Hate to break the streak. This American Music Club "song" from Mercury pretty much says how I'm feeling at the moment. Or at least what I'm capable of.

We'll get back to regular programming tomorrow. Everything will be cycled out by then, I'm sure. Right.

Thanks. I mean that.
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