Great Expectations

John Mayer what were you thinking? We already knew you were a douche bag in real life, but why’d you have to remind of that in your AWFUL new song, “Who Say.” It has almost cancelled out that your last few records redeemed you for at least having an artistic value. What a sell-out, I’m disappointed.

Within seconds of listening to The Gaslight Anthem the influence and style reflects that these guys are clearly channeling Bruce Springsteen. Their attempts are admirable, especially considering they were in diapers at the height of Springsteen’s career. I first heard the album while shopping for clothes in a Ralph Lauren store (which ironically is very un-blue collar Boss style). I knew then that they weren’t just catchy beats but actually a coherent narrative worth listening to. I was reading a sermon my favorite pastor and was surprised to find the connection she formed between the band’s song “Great Expectations” and God. The sermon was on divorce and about a sense that we all have these great expectations,  but when disappointments and failed relationships happen we spend so much time rehearsing in our heads what went wrong instead of realizing that we still need to hold onto our ‘great expectations’ because they are the only thing that keeps us going. She links this concept back to the song’s lyrics “Everyone leaves and/ so why wouldn’t You?” It made me approach the song from a more spiritual standpoint, and I like the direction it made me look towards!

The Current\’s Coffee Break question today was what musicians have gone solo and had a successful career as an independent artist? I was shocked enough that they played the first one that came to mind, that I thought I would blog about it! That artist would be, Justin Timberlake which largely reflects my generation. In an age where talent has very little to do with mainstream music, you’ve got to give props to Timberlake who has proven through his solo work and guest appearances on SNL that he’s the real deal. Though, back to the question, the next one that springs to mind is Aimee Mann, and I never even listened to ‘Til Tuesday! Some artists that they played who I also appreciate are Jenny Lewis and Morrissey. Though, Morrissey’s solo work has never affected me to the same caliber as The Smiths’ songs. Others? Some classics would include Beatles members, Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, and Sting. Though, also two Canadian bands seem worth mentioning, The New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene. Between these two supergroups they have launched the solo projects of A.C. Newman, Neko Case, Feist, Emily Haines (via Metric), Kevin Drew, and members of Stars.

I watched Control last weekend. It’s a film about Ian Curtis of Joy Division and chronicles the formation of band, marriage, affairs, and Curtis’ struggle with epilepsy and depression. The film is done entirely in black and white is based on his wife, Debbie’s book called Touching from a Distance about their life together; which seems important to note since much of the movie focuses on Curtis’ affair and the pain felt by the seemingly innocent wife left at home with their child. The movie encapsulates the emotionally low Curtis, and at no point did I ever find Curtis an interesting or layered character. Rather, he seemed one-dimensional and too self-absorbed to be able to cope with pressures of adulthood.  I appreciated the gist of what Curtis was all about, and would have to remark that “Love With Tear Us Apart” is one of the great Indie Rock anthems and enjoyed seeing how all the magic came together. Though on the whole, I was uninterested with Curtis and lean more than ever towards liking the band post-Curtis when they became New Order.

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