Thursday, September 30, 2010


When I purchased False Priest (amazing, btw) from Polyvinyl, I received The M's Future Women along with it for free. I've been extremely busy listening to False Priest as much as humanly possible, but today I finally listened to Future Women for the first time. As is more or less always the case when I listen to new music for the first time, I was unable to get much out of the experience. In fact, all of the songs sound sort of the same to me. It's not that I really think they all sound the same, but the differences all kind of blur together. They all sound like generic songs. And even as I can't tell the difference, I know perfectly well that if I listen a lot to this album, the songs will (probably) stop sounding so generic to me, I'll be able to pick up the distinctions, and they'll all sound relatively distinct, whether or not I end up liking the album (although this is not invariably true - one reason why I dislike albums like La Belle's Moon Shadow, The Dismemberment Plan's Emergency & I, and The Webb Brothers' Maroon is because the songs never became un-generic to me; even though I listened to those albums a lot, I can barely remember a single distinct from them).

This is not an original thought; I have had this thought many times before. However, what was original was that today was also my last day of classes for the year, and I was also thinking about my relationship with my students. I'm terrible at remembering people, and out of my five classes there are actually two where I can't honestly say that I know all of the students. But that makes three where I do, and I know those students reasonably well - I have ideas about all of them in my mind. Even in the classes where I don't, I know a lot of the students. And yet I am reasonably sure that when I start new classes in 2011 I will know barely any of the students at all for weeks, and for months quite a few of them will be a blur to me. It's hard to imagine now, when the students I teach all seem so familiar - can they really remain blurs for so long? And yet, judging from past experience, that's precisely what will happen.

So apparently my relationship with music is actually quite similar to my relationship with people - they both seem like indistinguishable blurs to me at first, but give it enough time and most of them resolve into quite distinguishable figures. That's kind of interesting. I've been reminded lately of just how unusually non-physical I am by a friend calling me weird because of it - and it really is true - I've often said I wouldn't really miss all that much if I became a brain in a vat. I love music, of course, and I like having ears. But it's interesting to me that all of these sensory impressions, whether auditory or visual, take quite a lot of time to take on me. I think I'm just less good at the physical than the mental, in general, even with those physical sensations that really are important to me.

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