Fuck you, shipping and handling! (a review of Hello Fascination)

I feel like a real album reviewer right now. Whether it was done due to error or as a reward to those of us who went for the fanciest pre-order package for Hello Fascination, the new Breathe Carolina album, I know not, but the fact of the matter is that while the album hits shelves today, I’ve had my copy since Friday. I suspect it was through error though, since when I stuck the CD in my computer on Friday, eagerly ripping it to my itunes library, itunes had no idea what I’d put in to my computer and I had to add all the album information by hand.

four days in advance! wicked!

four days in advance! wicked!

Excuse me while I open up wikipedia. Now search keywords “Breathe Carolina”. Ah, there we go.

Breathe Carolina, who hail from Denver, Colorado, started as a myspace band in 2007, which is to say, they made music with no intention of playing it live, purely existing on myspace and through digital release. The music that the at the time two-piece (Kyle Even and David Schmitt, not exactly “rock star” names) was a sort of electro-pop club sound with a hardcore influence. Yes. A hardcore influence. Much like the bizarre “cybergrind” genre, Breathe Carolina ambitiously attempted to put to fuse electronica and screamo (which is a definite improvement over cybergrind’s attempts to fuse electronica and grindcore) in a way that would be equally appealing to a raver or a hardcore fan. This somewhat unique sound was not what grabbed my attention, though. What made me turn my head was the fact that Breathe Carolina’s widely praised debut album It’s Classy, Not Classic (no, I don’t get the title) was recorded entirely in a bedroom with Apple’s standard package music software, Garage Band, which is more than a little impressive

Seriously, change your names to like, Kyle Awesome and David Schwing or something, I dont know

Seriously, change your names to like, Kyle Awesome and David Schwing or something, I don't know

It’s Classy, Not Classic was truly a breath of fresh air in a scene grown far too stale. While somewhat similar artists such as the dreadful BrokeNCyde (fuck those guys, seriously), only manage to make the genres they fuse more cliched, Breathe Carolina was able to take the cliche and make it interesting again. The melodic, swirling synths, largely vocoded vocals, and pounding beats, combined with the the occasional burst of screaming made for an album that had no trouble getting your attention. The album felt poppy and familiar in a good way, like listening to your a playlist of nostalgiac dance tracks. While the screaming isn’t for everyone it takes the album from a level where it might be easily forgotten to a place where it stays stuck in your mind. While at first I wasn’t terribly impressed, the album was infectious (especially “The Bird and The Bees” as well as “Diamonds” and after a while it became hard to listen to anything else. Simply put, it was an album of parties and one night stands, an album of dancing all night and living with no regrets, an album of pouring your heart out, from your tenderist moments to your most frustrated. Okay, that wasn’t simply put at all, but I can’t help myself, it was a good album.

While far from my favourite album from last year (maybe a top # albums of ’08 is n order while there’s still some ’09 left?) it was good enough that I decided to pre-order Breathe Carolina’s second album. The price was right, the pre-order package came with t-shirt, sticker, signed poster and CD for 24 dollars, which I would honestly pay for just a t-shirt. Of course, once you add in the absurd 10 dollar shipping and handling (WHAT THE FUCK?) it’s not quite so attractive, but still, it was worth it to me. Seriously, fuck you, shipping and handling, ten dollars is absurd. Even with all the stuff if in this package it still wasn’t any larger than a fucking vhs tape. RAAAAAGE. AND THAT WAS THE CHEAPEST S&H AVAILABLE. RAAAAAAAAAGE.

Sorry.

Musically, the album steps in to new territory, with a much more full and diverse instrumental section. This is due to, in large part, the addition of three new bandmates. Kyle Even and David Schmidtt (names guys, I’m gonna say it again), still do all the primary song writing according to the liner notes, but clearly these musicians are contributing to the writing process at some stage, since this album, unlike its predecessor, features guitar work. The instrumentation is probably the biggest improvement over the last album it’s fun and dancy, but also holds up to close listening. The album opens strongly with the title track, “Hello Fascination”, a which follows up perfectly on the sound of It’s Classy… but builds upon it at the same time with the addition of guitar. It doesn’t take long to notice how much more polished the music is. The instrumental parts are more distinct, the vocals sound really well-produced, and the beats sound infinitely cripser, but besides that and the guitar the song doesn’t tread a lot of new territory. The lyrics are a little more ambiguous and less party-oriented, but still fun lyrics about the confusion of romance. The whole song sounds vaguely Family Force 5-esque, which you couldn’t say as much about the old songs, but even this doesn’t significantly set it apart from the first album.

The second song, however, definitely crosses in to new territory, even just witht he length of its title. “I’m The Type of Person to Take it Personal” has more words in the title than any song on their previous outing, not sure what this means, but it’s a good song title none-the-less. And it’s a great song, the sound is somewhat reminisicent of Innerpartysystem, which is an awesome thing to be compared to. This song sets the tone for the album, int hat it explores a much darker harder sound, and sets a standard of covering new ground that the album will continue to follow.

From total dance hits like “Take Me To Infinity” and “Welcome to Savannah”, to genre pushers like “I Have To Return Some Videotapes” (probably the album’s best song), the album rarely misses a beat. One thing I have mixed feelings about, however, are the vocals. There are a lot more clean vocals (no vocoding/auto-tuning or screaming) than on the previous effort, which is a definite improvement, but some of the unique vocal flares of the previous album such as harmonic backing vocals that featured so prominently on tracks like “No Vacancy” on It’s Classy, Not Classic. While these unique features aren’t gone entirely, they are less present and are definitely missed. The problem comes down to the fact that, in polishing their sound they’ve managed to over-produce in places, which is a an understandable problem for a band that went through the transition that they went through. In going from having nothing at their fingertips, to having a pretty amazing array of resources they’ve managed to go a bit too crazy in places, losing some of the features that made their first album so remarkable. I imagine that as they continue to put out music they will probably realize this and get in to a comfortable groove with their music where it’s neither overproduced nor underproduced. A good example of this starting to happen is the song “Can I Take You Home?” which is a real return to form for the band and stands out as being one of the highlights of the album.

Not every song on the album lives up to the overall progress, either. “Tripped And Fell In Portland” could have easily been the best track on the album with it’s anthemic guitar and hardcore vocals juxtaposed next to off kilter electronic sections that serve to perfectly break things up and keep it from being a straight rock song, but is ruined by the terrible hyper-typical pop-punk chorus. The only thing the chorus has done right is to include some swirling snyths that don’t fit the pop-punk style, but aside from that it sounds like any other song out there and completely fails to be interesting. The last song on the album, “Rescue” also fails to deliver anything interesting, and as soon as I reach it, try as I might to make it through the song, I usually end up going back to the beginning without listening to it all the way through.

Pop is a funny word. For some reason there is a prejudice against pop, and I’m not exactly sure where this prejudice comes from. It seems as though as soon as music becomes fun it stops being cool in a lot of circles. While I can understand a certain amount of the pop hate that goes on out there, there is certainly a place for pop in this world, and in my heart for that matter. While older reviews that I’ve done tended to be more focused on reviewing obscure acts, often highly experimental in nature, lately I find that I enjoy listening to and reviewing pop music. Not all pop is worthy of my listening (most isn’t) but I do try to give it more of a chance now than I did in the past. While your average pop album has less musical complexity than just one song by, say, Tool, there’s something to be said for music that can make people want to dance. There’s something magical in dancing, in letting a song move you and just being a part of the moment. Breathe Carolina have not released anything near a perfect album, but they have released something that makes you want to dance, and maybe that’s good enough for a sophomore album. Perfect or no, I would recommend this album to anyone, and have no regrets with my purchase of the album.

That said, I think I’m going to review something weirder next just to shake things up lest these pop reviews become too much of a habit.

HelloLion some how got a hold of access to the project groupthink dashboard and he refuses to relinquish control! You can follow us on twitter @pgtblog (which he also has the ability to update, sneaky devil).

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Entertainment

Moving And Scott Hamilton

This past Friday I moved to Bowling Green to start my Master’s program study of Public Administration. It is, to say the least, a big change. I don’t know anyone, I don’t really know where anything is at, and I feel awkward on a daily basis. This change of faces and scenery is also an opportunity, however, to further my progress as a human being towards that inevitable point B.

Some of my friends remarked that my move was “a chance to reinvent” myself; I have to disagree with them. Not because they’re wrong—you can certainly reinvent yourself somewhere where you’re about as notorious as a circus flea—but because I don’t want to reinvent myself. I like who I am. I like who I know. Reinvention speaks to me of some kind of abandonment of my identity, my personality, whoever it is that I am that so dearly clings to this existence.

The problem of my past is the potential for success; there wasn’t any chance of me achieving that potential in Freedom Township USA. I’ve got great ideas for this world and I need a bully pulpit to project them from. I need eyes and more importantly ears waiting in anticipation to receive me. I need welcoming curiosity, not the hard dick and bad attitude of borderline-inbred numbskulls.

The university is one of the last places in this nation where intellectuals can express ideas freely. Yes, there are still constraints, but nowhere else can you find such a level of brainpower matched with open minds for progress. I may very well make my home at a university sometime in the future, assuming that a cat doesn’t catch my tongue at my upcoming first lecture (gulp).

Bowling Green was not my top choice; I was a top pick for them. I was one of hundreds who applied for a spot in their Political Science department as a Graduate Assistant. Credit was finally paid where it was always due. I’ve never been awarded a scholarship (or even a Student of the Month in high school, geeze).

Anyway, I live on 2nd St. South of 2nd is 5th. Yeah, 5th. And North of 2nd is Scott Hamilton. You read me right—Scott Hamilton. I had no idea who that was, but he most sure be something special.

175px-Scott-Hamilton-Golf

Scott Scovell Motherfuckin' Hamilton. Golfing while skating. Sick.

I had to go do some registration stuff today, and I ended up speaking with some rather aged ladies about the peculiarly named street. Apparently Scott Hamiltion was raised in Bowling Green, fought off some crazy disease, and then went on to win 4 U.S. Championships and a Gold medal in the 1984 Winter Olympics. Now he does commentary on skating for ABC or some crap.

Believe me, my jaw was loose, my mouth a gaping hole of wonderment at the amazing feats of Scott Hamilton, and in that moment I realized that if I really, truly put my mind to it, I could accomplish anything. And have a street named after me. Maybe even in Bowling Green. I don’t even have to combat a freaky virus while I’m being ambitious. I only hope that you’re there, watching, waiting for the triumph of my ascension.

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

5 Comments

Filed under social commentary

Sorry Satan! The internet has already consumed my soul!

I always figured that if there was a hell I would be dueling Satan on a fiddle for the rights to my soul. In the age of technology there will be no souls left for Satan to devour once we all parish. The internet has already consumed my soul and likely yours too.

I just went 36 straight hours of straight internet outage, and I almost pulled my hair out. I could not do my school work, browse various free streaming porn sites, or even check the good ole’ time consuming facebook.

Without the internet I felt out of place. I felt awkward if you will. I had no clue what to do. Sure, I can take Ethan to the park, read a book, do some cleaning, but for 36 hours (7 ½ which I was asleep)? I could not plow my facebook Farmville fields and plant fresh virtual plants. Honestly, the world could have ended, and I would have been left here clueless because I could not do my daily browse of various news sites.

Honestly, how the hell did we ever make it through life without the web?

The internet is our passport for anything we want in life. Read anything you want. Need friends? Join some social-networking sites.  Want to hear your favorite music? Screw music stores and paying for music. Download them illegally, and for free. Buy yourself some airline, concert, or sporting event tickets. Do anything you want, or find anything you want because it is the internet.

I honestly have no clue how life would be without the web. I was 14 when the internet made it’s debut in my household, and I haven’t looked back since. Most of us hardly remember a world without Myspace, Amazon, AIM, eBay, and facebook.

What hell did people do prior to 1994? I was a kid, so I remember running around outside playing football and baseball. What are kids doing these days? Are they sitting on their asses becoming mob bosses on facebook’s Mafia Wars like me? What did our parents do? What did college students do without facebook? How the hell did you contact your dealer without facebook, or even a cell phone?

The world would be a strange place without the internet. Would we live in a better place?

ElTigreTom is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Novel Writing 101

So you want to be a writer. If you’re a WordPress enthusiast, chances are you may be a writer already. Maybe, like many of us, you think you might be or would like to be a writer, but have little understanding of what writing might actually entail. The good news is, there are a number of useful books already published on the matter from which the literary aspirant can glean wisdom (I highly recommend Stephen King’s “On Writing,” though I absolutely disagree with a good bit of it.) And, in even better news, there’s a free guide right in front of you.

I am not a published author. However, I am acquainted with the writing process on a level of intimacy which, I believe, qualifies me to make the following judgments concerning my experiences with literary composition, in the hopes that you, too, can find them useful on your own path to linguistic renown (or give your own dissenting and presumably useful opinion – I’ve got a lot to learn, too.)

First of all, and I think King will agree with me on this one, writing is all about finding a “space.” Stories spin themselves out within certain mental parameters that construct the boundaries and intricacies of wholly different worlds within an author’s mind, and to go there you are going to want a physical and mental space that will minimize distraction and catalyze inspiration, ultimately dragging you more deeply into the story and away from this goofy primary reality we all spend so much time complaining about.

I’m not saying you need to sprint off to Ikea and drop your savings on a well-equipped office – a laptop and a familiar tree will be just as sufficient, weather permitting. If you’re feeling glitzy, a cup of coffee and a good bowl are as much as you’ll probably need in the way of glamour.

Which brings me to my next point. Oftentimes, the Dickenses and Hemingways of the world are cited as irrefutable proof that one must be a drug-mongering addict to succeed as an author. This is bullshit. Those familiar with my work at PGT will know that I am unapologetically pro drug use, and even I am called to stand against this errant myth. I do believe it is true that there are certain types of people who are inclined, by their psyucho-spiritual constitution, to write in certain ways and even with a certain zeal; and that these people often find themselves compelled to indulge in abusables recreationally. This correlation is a coincidence of nature – wild, drugged out aesthetic types tend to be prolific. They and I could easily write just as well sober.

If you are so inclined, however, and not too dodgy on the heart, I’ve always had luck with the “hippie speedball.” Caffeine and cannabis were simply meant to be taken together by aspiring authors with a certain disregard for their own physical health.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Seven Bands That Redeem Christian Music

There are a lot of Christians out there, and there are a lot of musicians out there, and like any good Venn Diagram these two groups must, at some point, overlap. And they do; many, many musicians admit to Christianity being their faith of choice. This is not a problem, in general most people who find a band they like, like that band regardless of who’s producing the music what whether they worship Jesus or Allah. However, while it is okay for individual artists to admit to being Christian, when a whole band declares themselves Christian people get uneasy. Tell someone you want them to listen to this new band you discovered, and they’ll be glad to sit down and listen, but ask them to sit down and listen to this new Christian band you discovered and they start to act uncomfortable, regardless of their faith. This is not necessarily due to the content of the lyrics (read as: Jesus), but is due to the fact that, quite simply a lot of Christian bands…well…suck.

Below: what most people think of when they think of Christian music (more or less).

For one of the groups most responsible for the evolution of music into a form of high art, the Christians sure have managed to take music to new lows in the past fifty years or so. It’s no wonder so many people have a bad view of Christian music; what was once meant to inspire now just panders to a mass of people who will buy anything that says “I love Jesus” enough times in the lyrics. Somewhere along the way someone figured out that there was an easy profit to be made in Christian music and ran with it, leaving artists with musical and spiritual integrity in the dust.

To prove that all is not lost, I have searched high and low through Christian music and assembled a slate of seven bands that prove that not every band that calls themselves Christian deserves your scorn. Many of these bands have struggled to make names for themselves, equally being bashed for being “too Christian” by some and “not Christian enough” by others, but one thing that can’t be argued is that  these bands are making some damn good music.

1. The Devil Wears Prada


The Devil Wears Prada is a Christian metalcore band hailing from Dayton, Ohio, who gets more “Christian or not” arguing than most of the bands on this list, in spite of having a music video that centers on someone giving their life to Jesus. While the music may not be for everyone (as I said, metalcore), it’s hard to deny that these guys are indeed, quite talented. They are far from the only Christian metal band out there, but they are, in my opinion, the best and most listenable one I’ve ever heard. The Christian undertones of the lyrics are actually quite refreshing and, in some instances, truly insiring and thought provoking. In spite of (or perhaps caused by) all the controversy regarding their status as a Christian band, they’ve come a long ways, even going so far as to be featured on Warped Tour’s main stage this year. Plus, their strong anti-materialistic values are pretty awesome, as you don’t see a lot of that in modern music.

2. As Cities Burn


As I mentioned previously, The Devil Wears Prada is far from the only Christian metal band out there, and as I alluded to, a lot of them suck. Before the release of 2008’s Hell or High Water, I would have simply lumped As Cities Burn into the “suck” category of Christian metal, but in 2008  As Cities Burn release a much more progressive album that, while being far from the best album of 2008, was also quite a long stretch away from the worst. Once again, the music isn’t for everone, but most people would have to admit that it’s pretty damn listenable. The Christian overtones of the album slide nicely into place without feeling obtrusive, and I’ve found the album to be very easily enjoyed by non-Christians and Christians alike in this regard.

3. MuteMath


MuteMath is a particularly sneaky Christian band. Somewhere along the way, MuteMath soaked up enough indie-cred to find their way onto a lot of people’s ipods (my own included), without anyone figuring out that they were listening to what is, all in all, a pretty Christian band. I greatly enjoy MuteMath (who have a  new album out in just four days), and their Christian-overtones have never once put me off. The only thing bad I have to say about this band is that one of their songs was featured in Twilight, but I’ll overlook it because the music video for the song I just posted is totally killer.

4. mewithoutYou

mewithoutYou is another Christian band that managed to pick up a lot of indie-cred with their music, even going so far as to share a stage with The Dear Hunter this year at several shows. mewithoutYou’s lyrics are intimidating works of art, that are Christian in the same sense that the Lord of the Rings is about World War II; if you don’t know what you’re looking for you’re going to miss most of it. The lyrics, purely as works of poetry, are quite lovely, even to someone who isn’t exactly a biblical scholar, and the music is pretty intriguing. You have to give them this; they’ve really brought indie style to Christianity in a much stronger way than any other band to date.

5. Kaddisfly

Sounding more like J-pop than Christian rock from the Pacific Northwest, Kaddisfly is an impressive band indeed. While many argue that they aren’t a Christian band, I would argue that they are, the overtones of their lyrics are quite spiritual, and with an obvious flavor of Christianity at that. The main reason against calling this band “Christian Music” is that they don’t fall into the stereotypes of what is commonly perceived as “Christian Music”, proving that the bitter taste left in people’s mouths by all that “praise Jesus, play powerchords” garbage makes it so that if a good band comes along with Christian themes in their music we don’t even want to call them Christian just so others will take them seriously.

While I didn’t feel like I could make a seperate space for this, the members of Kaddisfly minus the member who left last year started a new band in the wake of losing their fifth member to take their music in a new direction. Check it out; it’s good stuff.

6. Family Force 5

Other bands on this list have had their status as “Christian” called into question from time to time, but Family Force 5’s electro-crunk-rock-metal-pop-dance music has managed to offend the sensibilities of so many Christians that they don’t want to claim this band as one of their own, no matter how much they plug Jesus. Or maybe the issue is that, although at shows and in their materials Family Force 5 claim a strong Christian morale, their music is mostly about dancing and love and parties and other stuff that’s awesome. The tragedy here it that there’s a belief in a lot of right wing Christianity that dancing and having fun aren’t spiritually healthy things to do. Family Force 5 is out to turn that on its head. To quote Soul Glow Activatur (Famly Force 5’s lead singer), “To me, and pretty much anybody that’s under my age, most Christian music is a turnoff. I don’t want to be affiliated with that. I want to be affiliated with something that is great music.”

7. Sufjan Stevens

Of everyone on this list, this is the artist you’re most like to have heard or have heard of. Everyone saw Little Miss Sunshine, everyone has heard the song Chicago by Sufjan Stevens, but nobody knows the guy is actually pretty damn Christian. In case you honestly don’t know who he is Sufjan Stevens is an indie/folk musician from Illinois who makes music that is quite near divine even without the Christian overtones. While not all of his songs are about God the ones that are don’t make any attempt to hide it. Like his many friends on this list, his music has been attacked for not being Christian enough, to which he has responded that his music is about all aspects of his life, his Christianity being just one of the many things he might choose to write about. He has written quite a few songs related to his faith, some of them (including Casimir Pulaski Day, the song I’ve posted here), being quite interesting from a spiritual perspective. Sufjan Stevens is particularly unusual in that he makes music that doesn’t just praise God, but also questions God, and sounds totally awesome while doing so. Maybe if more artists took the example of Sufjan Stevens in this regard, Christian music would be seen as a valid art form by the outside world instead of the laughing stock it is now.

Or they could at least take a tip from modern Quaker music; we long ago perfect the art of awesome music.

HelloLion is a dedicated wordsmith, spending his time of manditory indentured blogging here at ProjectGroupThink. You WILL follow us on twitter @pgtblog. OBEY!

4 Comments

Filed under Entertainment

Hypochondriacs Anonymous.

Yesterday a friend suggested something very probable to me. I may just be a hypochondriac. Like always, I researched this possibility. It affects 6% of the population, but I also don’t know how old that statistic is. It seems very low, but I could consider myself as being one.

When I was in 9th grade, after learning about STDs, I thought that I had an STD. I thought that I had genital warts. I began checking myself constantly for signs of STDs. I also thought that I was pregnant, and that running excessive miles in cross-country would make the baby go away. People, I was a virgin.

I had nothing wrong with me, except that I was advised by my doctor to get more Iron in my blood because I was close to having blood-deficiency.

Years passed in high school. When I began having sex, the worries began once again. I learned that I really, really loved sex. So I did it often. I used protection, minus 1 or 2 times. When I first came to college, I got tested for everything, including HIV/AIDS. Most people I know have A) Never had a blood test or B) Have them once a year, if not, less. Others do not go to the doctor when they “think” they have something, and others have unprotected sex when they know they have something, such as HPV.

Why do people do this? I don’t know and I can’t imagine their reasoning. Me, on the other hand, will wake up the next day after engaging in protected sexual activity, and think that I have somehow contracted HIV, warts, chlamydia, and gotten pregnant. These worries sometimes consume me to the point where my body begins creating fake symptoms. I have actually begun shaking, thoughts spinning in my head, keeping me up at night. I have put myself in cold sweats, and then gone on to think that it’s a sign of a disease. I have had body aches, and made myself believe it was a sign of HIV.

When these worries happen, I then begin to bother my past sexual partners– texting, calling– to ask them if they have had STDs. At the time of sexual encounter, this question was already asked. However, I have trouble actually believing the person.

Condoms are 97% effective against the transmission of STDs and HIV/AIDS if used correctly. This is true, right? This means that 97% of the time, I am safe from contracting a disease. Yet, months after my last sexual partner, I will still imagine that he has given me something, even if I have NO symptoms at all.

I have gotten yearly pap smears since I was 18. 2-3 of those years, I had returned to the doctor for more pap smears. This is excessive, but so are two blood tests a year. I have wasted hours in the waiting room and hours worrying at home. The final answer from my doctor has always been this: Your pap smear came back normal. Your blood test came back negative.

Since my last pap smear, I have had 8 sexual partners, due to my excessive drinking and black outs. 2 of these were unprotected, yet contributing to no symptoms of anything. The rest of these partners used condoms. Sex is something I love, and I do not really regret my decisions because of that. But I do regret that I waste so much time worrying. Currently, I believe that I have contracted herpes from an ex-hook up partner/boyfriend/guy I dated. I make myself believe that people have it out for me, and that they have plans to give me diseases. Currently, I also believe that I could be pregnant, even though my period came on time last month, I’ve gained no weight, and have no symptoms. Whenever I have PMS (breasts become tender, moods become irritable), I attribute it to pregnancy and head to the computer where I research all the symptoms, putting myself into a shaking nervous anxiety attack. Then my period will come on time.

I always misdiagnose ingrown hairs for genital warts or herpes. I check myself everytime I get out of the shower, unless I forget.

I don’t know why I have unprotected sex with some people, but that is completely my fault. If I should go to the doctor again for tests, it would be the third doctor visit in less than 6 months. It would also be my second blood test in one year.

Perhaps I should stop seeing the doctor, and instead, see a psychologist. As far as I know, I have HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, and HPV in the back of my throat. My neck currently aches, probably from all the worry and staring at an online medical database. I woke up with aching shoulders, probably from sleeping in angst.

You may be thinking, “Well, stop having sex.” or “Go get tested.”

My fears have become so irrational that I am trying, for once, to resist going to the doctor unless or until major symptoms should arise. I have always been careful, this is a fact, for at least 98% of the time. Each time I go to the doctor, I am told that I am fine. Also, I have been to the doctor so many times this year that I have reached my family insurance cap. I went a couple more times because I got a yeast infection and I had poison ivy, however I thought that the poison ivy was scabies. I knew I had a yeast infection, but I didn’t believe myself, and figured it was clamydia. I am always a nervous wreck. Now, I am trying to deal with the problems myself instead of getting in my car, running out for plan B, pregnancy tests, researching every STD known to humankind (including pictures of infected people, and comparing them to my perfectly healthy-looking private parts). I am trying, for once in my life, to be rational and put  my worries into other forms. Now, I’m trying to move on with my life and leave my worries behind. Having numerous body ailments = unrealistic. Cleaning my room = realistic.

I hope that I do not need therapy for this, but it may be a good idea. Whenever I see a therapist, I just sit in the chair and don’t really say anything. I think I’m a hypochondriac, but I also may just be faking the symptoms, even though my heart has been pounding and I’m feeling nervous as I’ve typed this entire thing.

I hope that you, the reader, can provide me with some helpful insights, aside from the old adage, “Get tested,” as I know my body very well and the rational part of my brain is beginning to say, “Do not worry unless you have a reason to.” Thank you for reading.

JadeAmethystt is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

3 Comments

Filed under social commentary, Uncategorized

How to Justify the Music You Like – A Guide

We’ve all been there, your token hipster buddy’s got his new ipod dock out and asks you to hand your pod over so you can jam some Radiohead (or TV on the Radio, ‘Drum’s Not Dead’ era Liars, The National, Kasabian, or other suitably hip band) and when they’re scrolling through your artists to get to their intended choice of music they suddenly stop because they’ve just noticed that you have Lady GaGa on your ipod.

Kiss your indie-cred goodbye!
Kiss your indie-cred goodbye!

But wait! Before you panic, remember that it’s still possible to save some face. As someone who has both force others to justify their music taste, and had to justify my own on many occasions, I have a sort of expertise in the field of music others will make you feel ashamed of for listening to, and believe me when I say there is hope. Presented here is a list of ways in which you can salvage your social trainwreck and get away with just a few scratches.

The “Just One Song” Defense

The “Just One Song” Defense is one of the most common defense tactics used to justify an out of place item of music. This defense is simple and is based on the idea of just one artist/song/album/whatever, being a minor offense. “Look,” this defense says, “Clearly my taste in music is acceptable, so what if I have one All-American Rejects album? I like their first album, so sue me.” (Fun fact: I do like AAR’s first album…a lot. It’s good, really!) This defense can usually take the heat off of you, but it relies on one very important thing: that you only have ONE embarrassing song/artist/album on said ipod/playlist/whatever. It’s one thing to write off having “Get Low” as your one mainstream song on a dance music playlist, it’s another thing if you’ve got “Get Low”, “Buy U A Drank”, “Hips Don’t Lie”, and “In Da Club” all needing justification.

The Friend Defense

The Friend Defense is another common defense tactic that is useful in a variety of situations, but hard to make convincing. In spite of the name, it doesn’t necessarily require a specific friend; it works on the principal of it not being your fault because somebody else put it there, or asked you to put it there, for whatever reason. “Oh, James downloaded that!” or “Kelly said I just had to hear this one song by them” or “I was just going to delete this after I burned Tim a copy,” are all examples of the Friend Defense. As I’ve said before, the Friend Defense does not, necessarily, require a specific friend; as an amatuer DJ I’ve often used the defense of, “It was a requested song,” to justify the occasional embarrassing mainstream hip-hop/pop tune. This defense can work quite well, but generally falls apart around the time they notice that the song is on your top rated playlist and has two hundred plays in your library.

The Redemption Defense

The Redemption Defense is a tactic commonly employed by people who feel that all of the bands that they like are bands worthy of gaining one hipster cred, even if they don’t already. The main strength of this defense is that appeals to the logic of others, by giving a reasonable explanation for why a band isn’t as bad as a person thinks they are. The main weakness to this defense is that the band you want to defend has to have some redeeming value. A good example of the Redemption Defense put into action is the justification of listening to U2 (particularly the last few albums, no one questions Joshua Tree) by pointing out all of Bono’s philanthropic work.

Then again, maybe Bono is beyond redemption...

Then again, maybe Bono is beyond redemption...

The “I Knew Them Before They Were Popular” Defense

While the IKTBTWP Defense might not have a particularly catchy name, or acronym, it is a very effective defense, given that you can prove that what you’re saying is true. The logic behind it is this: if you knew a band when they were still “indie” than for you to listen to them is still somewhat “indie” even if they are now popular. When formerly “indie” bands like Modest Mouse and The Shins start to become somewhat mainstream, diehard hipsters will start to turn up their noses, but if you can prove that you got into Modest Mouse back when “Building Nothing out of Something” came out, you can justify your love for the band. Even bands that never had indie cred can be justified this way, just as long as you can prove you were listening to them before anyone else. If this wasn’t true and you can’t lie about it, then this defense becomes problematic.

The Nostalgia Defense

The Nostalgia Defense is truly a fabulous one, and one that can be used to justify almost anything you listen to. All you have to do is claim some memories are associated with the music, and people will generally leave you alone for it. If you put on Backstreet Boys in front of a group of 90’s kids, everyone will laugh and poke fun, but on the inside they’ll all be reliving some of their best (and worst) pre-teen moments. I often use this defense to justify my love of Snow Patrol, who is one of my favourite bands, but who lost all the indie cred they once had when Eyes Open came out. Considering that I started listening to Snow Patrol about six years ago though, I have a wealth of memories associated with the band, and as such they will always have a place in my heart. The best part about this defense is that they don’t have to know that, in many cases, you would like the band in question even without nostalgiac value. The main issue with this defense is that not every band you might try to justify has even been around for six years, and even if they have when you started listening to them is definitely a factor. Claiming that the band is nostalgiac ’cause you heard them at a sweet party last week will not save you from the ridicule of others.

Fuck you hipsters, this album is and always will be one of the greatest albums ever made!

Fuck you hipsters, this album is and always will be one of the greatest albums ever made!

The Blackmail Defense

When you’re desperate to hang out to your indie cred and running out of options The Blackmail Defense can be your friend. It is not a pretty tactic, but one does what one has to in these situations. Even your most “hipper-than-thou” friends have musical skeletons in their closet, and if you can find one, you can use it against them. “So what if I like, 3oh!3,” you say, “You listen to Shakira!” or “Who cares if I like Thursday? You own Korn’s entire discography on vinyl!” While it’s a dirty tactic and it certianly won’t win you any points, it can still save you some face. The only real issue with this tactic is that you have to know of a terrible band that the person pointing out your embarrassing taste likes.

Youa re unlikely to ever find yourself in a situation where one of these defenses won’t be good enough to cover your ass, but if you are, or even if you aren’t, you could, always just tell them to fuck off and that you don’t care what they think. You could tell them off for judging you and walk out, head held high, leaving them in a more confused state than they were after hearing Morrissey’s recent re-release of Maladjusted (ziiiiiing!), but who is really going to do that? So much of life is about keeping up appearances, and we all do it, whether we admit it or not. So remember this article the next time you get caught with something embarrassing on your ipod, and for now, here’s a little song that I thought was an appropriate closer to this article.

HelloLion is a contributing author here at projectgroupthink’s fantabulous blog of wonderous knowledge. You can spend less time anxiously hitting the refresh button on this page every ten minutes by following our tweets @pgtblog.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized