Random Music I Love – M83 “Intro”

I was surfing WordPress this week and stumbled upon an amazing blog that I have no shame plugging here. It’s called The Last Song I Heard, and it seems to be one man’s musical life journey, written down into neat little journal-esque blog posts for his son to read later. Great idea, great blog.

To pull from that idea, I decided to jot down a few random songs that I love, that I think are worthy of a blog post.  I realized through his blog that journaling via music is a great way to capture moods, feelings, memories and a portion of one’s life that may never come back.

I’ve decided to start with the first song from M83’s “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming” album (which is amazing, in my opinion) titled simply “Intro”.  The song features Zola Jesus, who has sort of an ethereal voice that fits very well with the wispy/dramatic/chord driven music that M83 are known for.

“Intro” starts quietly and slowly builds, feeling VERY nostalgic with the band’s typical heavy synths, rolling eventually into a full-scale assault on your emotions.  It’s hard to listen to the song and not feel some emotion, but the weird thing is that the emotions felt are shapeshifters.  Sometimes when I hear it, I’m reflective and can’t shake my first heart break, other times I feel uplifted and inspired, like I could conquer the world using only my thumb.  But mostly I feel better about things.  It’s the kind of song that seems to say, ‘no matter where you are in your life, or what you’re doing, no matter what goals you’ve met or haven’t met, it’s okay…you’re okay, and you’re right where you’re supposed to be.”

Like many of M83’s songs, it starts with a low sound that can be described as little more that noise, the noise builds to synth chords, then a child whispering.  It’s impossible to understand all the lyrics – and sometimes I think maybe that’s what M83 is going for.  It doesn’t bother me, because it ends up being akin to the musical version of a Rorschach painting – you hear bits and pieces, and your brain fills in the rest with what you want (or subconsciously need) to hear.

I have no idea what M83’s intent with the lyrics are.  I can’t even decipher most of them.  But I think that, for me at least, the uplifting part of the song is the one repeating lyric that I can certainly understand: carry on the song tells me.  We all are one I hear at another point.  The human race as a whole must carry on, work together.  The beat and chords push me onward in a weird way, most notably when Zola Jesus starts singing and there’s a bass drum backbeat that feels not unlike my heartbeat.

Before you know it, the song bursts into a full orchestral and choral production, with no real lyrics, and forces my brain into recollection overdrive.  I start thinking about everything in my life I’ve ever done wrong, and how I wish I could go back.  Mixed with those memories are flashes of all the really good, warm feelings I’ve ever had, the times I helped someone, the times I laughed so hard my face hurt, the times I’ve been truly moved by something or someone.  Pain and guilt transcends to warmth, love, joy and finally when I get to the point that I think my heart might explode from all the emotion, it stops.  Almost as quickly as it started, my brain just stops.  Because the music has stopped… we’re back to a chorded drone sound now, and the synapses in my brain are still smoking from the fire, pieces of old memories still glowing from the inferno.

This is typically the part where I take a deep breath and look around.

Carry on…

Netflix… It’s a Love/Hate Relationship

I have been a Netflex customer for several years. I don’t know that there’s any better service to be had for only $8.99 per month. When Netflix’s infamous rate hike tossed their customers far and wide, I left with the masses. Their streaming selection had been dwindling and I was rarely using the mail service anymore. So the increased rate seemed like too much to pay for a service that I was feeling sort of ‘meh’ about.

My life without Netflix was, as you might expect, better in some ways and worse in some ways. But no matter what, the thing that stuck out in my mind is that when I wanted to watch something specific, I yearned for Netflix.

I rejoined Netflix and agreed to pay only for streaming, and have been trying my best to convince myself that I should just get rid of the dish and put all my eggs in the Netflix basket. If I want to be entertained by my television, I would either be watching Netflix, playing Xbox or making a purchase on the Apple TV. But I just can’t get myself to cancel the regular TV programming. There’s a weird reason for this that I will get back to…

But what I’ve come to realize about the available selection on Netflix Instant is this: there are tons of TV shows. Great ones even! But some of them don’t have all the seasons. Why? I think that their service would be FAR more valuable, and make FAR more money, if they would just completely convert to an instant service for TV shows. I know people will say “but that’s the same as DVR/TiVo” but it’s not. It’s not the same because Netflix offers these TV shows without commercials. No crap to fast-forward past. Also, it’s not the same because the selection is larger than what my DVR would ever hold, meaning that I can watch an episode or two of a show, decide if I like it, and move on with my life. It’ll be there waiting for me if I decide I want to watch more, not taking up any storage capacity space. Also, I can watch Netflix on SO MANY devices. I would gladly pay $20 per month or MORE for Netflix if they would get all the seasons of the TV shows they offer (Dexter, anyone?) and implement just one more feature that I can’t live without…

Netflix needs some kind of playlist feature, continuous play feature, or ability to automatically play the next episode or thing on your queue or something. Some people look at me like I have an arm coming out of my ass when I say that, but here’s my thing: Sometimes when I turn on the TV, I’m not looking for anything specific. I don’t want to actively “watch” anything. I kind of just want to…. chill out with something going on in the background. TV is perfect filler for that. I fall asleep with the TV on every night (keeps the bad dreams away, true story), I just put it on Adult Swim and turn the TV sleep timer on 90 minutes. About an episode and a half later, I’m snoozing. But I need to be ALL THE WAY asleep before the TV cuts off. If it goes dark and silent and I’m not asleep, I am not happy. Bad dream city. My inner thoughts lead me to dark places when there’s no outside influences… but I digress.

So, Netflix, the ball’s in your court. Why not just compete with television providers? You’d put cable companies out of business if you offered all the TV shows you do now, plus adding in new ones, with ALL the seasons, as they become available. But first, please integrate some kind of damn autoplay! I don’t care if there’s commercials in between, or ads on the screen where I am choosing what I want to watch, if that’s what you gotta do to get the show producers to agree to it.