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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Full Albums:

  • The Cure, Galore
  • Daft Punk, Tron Legacy Soundtrack1
  • Does it Offend You, Yeah?, You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into
  • The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
  • Interpol, Interpol
  • Joe Bonamassa, The Ballad of John Henry2
  • Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  • Kate Nash, Made of Bricks
  • Kings of Leon, Come around Sundown
  • Led Zeppelin, II and IV4
  • Lily Allen, It’s not Me it’s You
  • Ludacris, Chicken & Beer
  • Muse, The Resistance
  • Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday3
  • Prince and The Revolution, Purple Rain
  • R. Kelly, Chocolate Factory
  • Robyn, Body Talk
  • Saves the Day, Stay What You Are and Through Being Cool
  • The-Dream, Love Hate
  • Wiz Khalifa, Kush & Orange Juice
  • The xx, xx

Random Excellence:

  • Talking Heads, “Swamp”
  • Slim Harpo, “Rock Me Baby”
  • John Mayer, “Crossroads”5
  • Jaime Foxx, “Quit your Job”
  • Drake, “Shut it Down”

Songs of the Week:

  • Kanye West, “All of the Lights” and “Monster”
  • Yelle, “Amour Du Sol”
  • Nine Inch Nails, “Discipline”6
  • Mark Ronson and The Business Intl, “Bang Bang Bang”

Reviews:

1. Makes me want to dig up those classical albums I was given as a kid and promptly never listened to.

2. Take this hammer. Carry it to the captain.A

3. Absolutely, yes; I can see why people like her, but this whole album isn’t that good. I’d pass it if it was taking rap classes from me–solid C or something–but I wonder how much of her ability to rap relies on not having to rap for more than one verse. It’s definitely cool to hear her sing, too, but I’m worried that a lot of her success comes from being…the Lady Gaga of rap? Can I say that? She’s almost more of a spectacle than content? I’m worried she gets more credit for being hot than rapping? I don’t know, there are some really great songs here, but I think what I’m really worried about is that she seems to be willfully categorizing herself with her labelmates and, by association, with this bullshit punchline rap. She only does it once in a while, but when she does she definitely pisses me off. You know what you did, Drake and Yeezy.B

4. Come to think of it, I might know how to play rhythm guitar for every song on these albums but two–that’s just how important they are to me.

5. You know what you did, Robert Johnson. Well played, selling your soul and whatnot.

6. Almost can’t be listened to without “Echoplex” immediately following, but excellent nonetheless.

A. Tell him I’m done; I did it, I’m fed up, I’m quit.

B. Only relevant members of Young Money, frontrunners in punchline rap bullshit.

Comment:

It’s funny how time disappears when you suddenly have stuff to do. The things you do once a week suddenly become once every week and a half, your applications become reckless and your social life becomes a blur. Some of my acquaintances blame it on the season, but I think it’s more of a combination of holidays (thus seeing more people you haven’t seen in a long time), cold weather boarding you up indoors and general American Puritan work ethic. If you’re not doing something, you’re not American.

Maybe that’s not quite it, but there’s definitely something to be said about catching up with old acquaintances or seeing and meeting newer ones. Something that just makes you go, “Holy shit, I thought I was doing things but I’ve obviously been sitting on my hands for at least a month.” All of a sudden I’m averaging a job application every two days.

I’m obviously not entirely happy with my life the way it is, now it’s time to fix the things I’m not happy about (employment) because I know goddamn well I don’t want to a) work in oil b) make retail a career or c) move back home. I might have to make a compromise or two, but wouldn’t it be far better to do something else than what I’m doing if I can’t stand it?

Copy editing or death or copy editing before death–I will get there but this is the bullshit I have to put up with in the mean time. May you have all the power to understand what you want to do as I do, but none of the stubbornness that has prevented me from getting there.

The only real way to answer the question, “Are Texas girls hotter than New York girls?” is to give you way too much information about me in the hopes that you’ll understand my answer. Perhaps, in understanding me, you’ll understand why I feel the way I do.

I’ve said it before–very likely many a time in this very blog–I’ve said it at least twice now on the Internet: some of my favorite people are my mom, my sister and my grandma. I always leave my dad out of that grouping because it’s three against one and because that undercuts my main point: I sincerely love women. I honestly don’t think there’s ever enough of them in my life. I get my loyalty, dedication, sense of humor and puritanical work ethic from my dad, but I also got creativity, listening skills and even more humor from the women in my life. Out of all the grandparents I’ve had, I’m glad Elaine is still alive because she’s my favorite out of all of them.

My mom used to tell me I have an old soul. I always thought that meant I was more mature than some of my colleagues, which kind of made sense because I always got along with adults really well. Regardless, I’ve got the sense of humor of a fourth or fifth grader and the mouth of a sailor. So I was always conflicted: was I wise beyond my years or just a kid in teenager’s clothing? Even now as some semblance of adult, how mature am I really? The only things I tend to take seriously are jokes or how badly I want to be a copy editor. Ridiculous though it may sound, I seriously study jokes.1

When I was in high school I felt more affinity with nerds, emo kids and punks than I did with jocks, despite being lacrosse team captain. I was the kind of jock that got passed over for All-District goalie my senior year because we were terrible that year. I would even call myself a Secret Jock: I played sports and played them well while still sequestering myself in AP classrooms. I got recruited by a couple of Division I and III teams and decided to go to go to a school with solid academics and walked on. In retrospect, all of this isn’t really that hard to believe.

I’ve probably been the skinniest fat kid you know since I discovered E.L. Fudge in like sixth grade or so. I’ve had a love of food since before I can remember, but it has become more serious since my mom taught me how to cook. I’m the Oprah of my friends: I lose weight, I gain weight, I lose weight, so on. I know the solution, but my retail job, application-writing schedule and writing for people for free keeps me from playing sports. I’m lucky enough to have been blessed by those four people from the second paragraph to have even more awesome hindsight: though I love eating, I don’t need to eat as much as I do. I can enjoy the flavor without enjoying it to the point that I need to unbutton my pants.

Going home last week made me realize I felt like a nerd and an emo kid in high school because of the geography, not because of who I am. In high school I was actually hit on by one of the most popular cheerleaders but took her friend (also a cheerleader) on a date when I called to ask about how her friend felt about me. I will never be able to explain that, but the lesson was that I’m a pretty handsome guy despite my love of delicious foods and asking most attractive women on dates.

For a long time, the thought process was: I’m the underdog, a good guy who couldn’t get any girls because girls like bad, immature guys. Aren’t girls supposed to like a guy who likes dating2, cooking, laughing until it hurts and chick flicks? Everything was black and white back then, but now I know some girls like it and some girls don’t. Some girls will complain about not being able to find guys like that while some girls won’t complain and will just try to find those guys. But that’s not how Texas works.

Spending a week in Texas brought high school back and made me realize the last six years have been steps away from becoming a reclusive emo kid who listens to music more than people. The realization was that it’s not me, it’s the location. There’s something very, very strange about Texas women.3

I think there’s this old myth that your worst nightmare is a hot woman who knows she’s hot. I’m not really sure what the idea is–something like hot women who know they’re hot will take advantage of you because they know they can take stuff from you because you’re a dude that thinks only from his hips–but it’s as if these women have taken that idea and run with it. They seem to travel in packs. There doesn’t seem to ever be a girl on her own. The event doesn’t seem to matter: at the bar with her friends, at the bar ordering a drink with a friend, birthday party, girls’ night out, shopping, movie night. A girl in Texas cannot be found  with anything less than her boyfriend, her gay friend or a guy related to her. A woman by herself in Texas is a married woman at Kroger.

I am a proud member of a group of friends that calls themselves the Dick Clique. There have been debates about who named us, why we were named that or who is actually a member, but we’re basically a group of eight to ten dudes. And I always thought that that was because we were the kind of emo kids who didn’t hang out with girls much; we spent most of high school playing video games and enjoying each other’s company. Sometimes a member would pick up a date or a girlfriend but we spent a lot time having sausage-type parties. In college I had what was the same problem. To make this Massachusetts digression as minimal as possible, some of my best friends in college were four or five guys. I say “or” because one of our favorite people transferred. Despite losing a member, it was still a bunch of guys. Girls were casual acquaintances, potential dates.

When I graduated and moved to New York, I realized not every girl I’ve every known wanted to date me or would be a potential date. I learned I like hanging out with a lot of girls I would never date. I am who I am because of the women in my family and I would never date any of them. There’s something magical about girl talk and I’m not saying that because Gregg Gillis makes some pretty awesome music. Being privy to that kind of discussion, that insight–to be able to clarify why we make some of our decisions  or come that much closer to cracking the woman code–is kind of awesome.

While I was in Texas, I spoke to less than two girls I’d never met before, but the first night I went out in New York I met a bunch of girls. I exchanged lengthy discussions about popular culture with a woman I’ll probably never see again. We made jokes about her boobs. Had I done that in Texas, and I know this from experience, I would have gotten–in this order–the laugh, the eye roll and the cold shoulder. Granted, I did not make out with this girl, I did not get her number and I do not know her name. But still, she made these jokes with me and it’s my fault for not trying to keep in touch.

Sometimes it’s not even the names or the phone numbers that matter: I’ve kissed, made out with, dated, [redacted] more women in the past year than I did all throughout high school and college combined. I can pretend it’s because my old soul has finally caught up with the women around me, but my calculations have lead me to believe that’s bullshit. I live in a city where women vastly outnumber men. I’m going out of my way to work in an industry where women vastly outnumber men. I work for a chain of stores where women vastly outnumber men. I occasionally write for a blog (besides this one) that is primarily frequented by women.

I am attracted to women, so I am attracted to New York.

Also, consider the diversity: Texas women are notoriously attractive, but if you’re in the market for anything besides white women, you’re up shit creek. Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of white women–a nut for redheads and the occasional brunette–but I’ve been known to have a crush or two on black women or Latina women. My running theory about my type is that I might not actually have a type, just a preference for women with beautiful faces and…how to put this…chesticles. New York, in the parlance of the last century or so, has everything.

This is city where women who don’t speak up move home, suffer, hit on unattractive men and die. Hyperbole aside, this is the kind of place where women can’t afford not to speak their mind. That was what pissed me off about Houston, too: the Houston bar scene I experienced seemed like a bunch of shitty bars with music too loud to hear each other. Don’t you at least have to talk to each other a little to know one of you isn’t going to strangle the other?4 Or are all one-night stands based on how well you can shake your hips?5 I feel like one-night stands are myths: hook ups, in this short a duration, are the myths we’ve created as a generation to make ourselves feel better about hating the word “dating” even though we’re dating.

I’ve digressed, though: the point is that, in Houston, the girls a very insular. There is some aura of guys being perpetually creepy and that somehow feeds into how we always feel creepy when we look at girls. But in New York, talking to girls is kind of essential to any night. Sure, sometimes she’s spoken for or a lesbian or moving to the other side of the Earth in a week or something, but at the end of the night you’ve still talked to some girls instead of creeped on some girls. Which is just way more fun.

In Texas, I always thought it was because I was weird that I made girls feel weird. With reflection I quickly came to understand that I might be a square peg in a world of round holes, but New York City is a city of square, octagonal, hexagonal and so on shaped holes.

If that metaphor makes you cringe too much, let me put it this way: living here has made me realize that I’m a weird dude, but in comparison with some of the stuff I’ve seen here, I’m not really that weird. What was really lacking for me was the attitude, the cultural norms that would allow women to be far less subtle. A lot of my life has been the endless search to never piss anyone off–to make them laugh, to do everything I can to make them happy. In that search, all the signs of flirting have passed me by. I don’t know where the blame lies–location, culture, age, climate, etc.–but New York women have always had the kind of attitude I like. In my opinion, that attitude is far sexier than trying to talk to a woman with the looks of a model with the attitude of an insufferable asshole.

So I choose New York women. I’m doing everything in my power to stay here because I love them.

Addendum
1. The irony of this sentence should baffle you even though it’s entirely true.
2. The word “dating” has spun out of control in my opinion. Talk to most girls you know about “dating” and they’ll all tell you they hate it like it punched them and stole their bike and their dreams when they were eight. But seriously, what the hell is “hooking up” if it’s not dating? What’s so terrible about hanging out and talking with someone–particularly if you’re attracted to them? That’s all you’re doing if you’re hooking up, but possibly with way less commitment and a smidgen  less talking.
3. Not to make this shit way too crazy, but there’s also something wrong with Houston doodz. Something about bro’in’ out, brah. Everything past 1AM is a fistfight. “My chick is super hot and I’m ‘roid ragin’!!!!! You ’bout ta git ya face pushed in, ‘mo!!!!!” In New York, we’re too busy either not giving a fuck or just saying, “Excuse me” to get into a fight. Fight? I’m busy trying to catch my train. I can’t fight you, I’m busy fighting for a job.
4. I mean like, without a safe word or whatever you kids are into. You guys are weird.
5. Which is also bullshit: I’ve been able to shake my hips since I figured out what rhythm was. One-and-two-and…just move your fucking feet, dumbass. Shake your arms like you’re having a seizure: people will either laugh or try to dance like you. Either way, you’ll be okay. Call a cab; in New York City, the subway runs 24/7. We win.

Full Albums:

  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo
  • The Cure, Galore
  • Fall Out Boy, Folie A Deux
  • The Gaslight Anthem, American Slang
  • Girl Talk, All Day
  • Gorillaz, Plastic Beach
  • Justice, Cross
  • Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy1
  • Kings of Leon, Come Around Sundown
  • LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening!
  • Led Zeppelin, IV
  • Mark Ronson and The Business Intl, Record Collection
  • Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • Passion Pit, Manners
  • The Police, Regatta De Blanc
  • Prince and The Revolution, Purple Rain
  • The Rolling Stones, Beggar’s Banquet and Exile on Main St.
  • The Roots, How I got Over
  • Saves the Day, Stay What You Are2
  • A Tribe Called Quest, Beats Rhymes and Life
  • TV on the Radio, Dear Science
  • Yelle, Pop Up

Random Excellence

  • ZZ Top, “Cheap Sunglasses”
  • Warren Zevon, “Detox Mansion”
  • Royskopp, “Happy Up Here”
  • Public Enemy, “Brothers Gonna Work It Out”
  • New Found Glory, “All About Her”2
  • Mos Def, “Brooklyn”
  • Jay-Z, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”
  • Interpol, “Obstacle 1”2
  • The Afghan Whigs, “66”

Songs of the Two Weeks:

  • Mike Posner, “Please Don’t Go”
  • Lykke Li, “Breaking It Up”
  • Katy Perry, “Teenage Dream”3
  • Kanye West, “All of the Lights”4
  • Julian Casablancas, “11th Dimension”
  • Gym Class Heroes, “Cookie Jar”
  • The Cure, “Strange Attraction”5

Reviews:

1. This is a tough call; it’s excellent but it would be a stretch for me to give this album a ten out of ten. I mean, there’s some truly great stuff on here but just like most albums, there’s also some bullshit. As far as I’m concerned, the first six songs are amazing and all of “All of the Lights” makes up for how much of an asshole he’s been in the past couple of months. The playing field is even, now we’re just waiting for him to continue fucking up outside the studio. Which brings me to “So Appalled”; I just don’t like it. It’s lackluster, it’s creepy and the only time RZA shows up on this album, his verse is lackluster and he’s even saying the same crap Swizz Beatz is–and that guy’s a lifetime member of the shortbus committee. That song is, in my opinion the low point of the album and the rest is an attempt to climb out of the hole it creates. That’s actually a great way to talk about Kanye in general: makes some amazing music, opens his mouth and hits a new low, works to get himself out for about the same amount of time. If only he would rap, produce and just never talk in public–he’d be set for life.

2. I was home for Thanksgiving and being home reminded me of some of the music I used to listen to in high school. It also reminded me that some of the stuff I listened to then I’ll probably keep listening to forever. If my kids like “Nightingale” and “This is not an Exit,” then I’ll probably feel I’ve raised them right.

3. “I’mma get your heart racing in my skin tights jeans/Be your teenage dream tonight/Let you put your hands on me in my skin tight jeans/Be your teenage dream tonight.”

4. Production is simply amazing, particularly the intro. Incredibly complex for a guy who autotuned his whole last album. I shouldn’t be surprised because he’s been a producer first and a rapper second for a while but I just love this song.

5. That line about lipstick is relentlessly romantic.

Comment:

It’s funny, a lot of the music this week was either music I used to listen to a lot in high school or stuff I should have listened to more in high school. I directly associate that with being in Texas again for a week, but it’s funny that a lot of my musical tastes haven’t really changed much since then. Although I do understand my dad’s feeling about crass language and good singing–it’s just so much easier to listen to the new Fall Out Boy compared to some of their original stuff. I rarely ever listen to Senses Fail anymore because of the yelling. The cursing in music generally slips right past me until I listen to my music around my parents. Cee-Lo Green’s last album, although great, is pretty filthy. So we listened to a lot of Rolling Stones…

This past week or two has kind of been the calm before the storm. Around Sunday or Monday, there’ll be two weeks worth of twim and I’ve got the beginnings of an essay swirling around in my head. After being asked about the difference between Texas girls and New York girls about a week ago, I started thinking seriously about it and haven’t stopped since. My findings will be, as I told the person who asked, far too long, moderately humorous, a little esoteric and plain old fucking crazy. So skim a magazine article or something to limber up your eyeballs and stretch out your glutes so you don’t cramp during all the sitting–this shit’s about to get real.