[I’m writing this post a day early because when you have a hankering for creating content this meandering and shitty, you go with it.]
I’m pretty sure I wrote about this before, but using “cyber” in front of another word to indicate it’s related to the internet is increasingly stupid. You can walk into a Lowes and buy a network connected door handle. Your new toaster has apps, and is probably a zombie bot in a vast Bitcoin mining farm thanks to Baltic hackers. “Cyberspace” has aged about as well as Tomorrowland, and “Cyberpunk” is in a trash can along with “steampunk,” “Google Glass”, and “anarchocapaitalism”, presumably making space for “cryptocurrencies” and “The Battle of California”.
Anyway. After the family left this weekend, I was in a mood to revisit some music I listened to 10 years, when “cyber” wasn’t as much of a joke.
Death Cab for Cutie
Oh boy. So I mostly listened to Transatlantacism and Plans back in 2007, and my thoughts at the time were that they were a ok band who is easy to hate. Ben Gibbard’s Smart Sensitive Guy vibe was pretty suspect, but he was a good songwriter. All that is still mostly true, but holy shit do I hate his songs about his love life so much more now. Zooey Deschanel made the right call divorcing his ass, and all she really needed as far as grounds would be the lyrics to “Tiny Vessels”:
This is the moment that you know
That you told her that you loved her
But you don't
You touch her skin and then you think
That she is beautiful
But she don't mean a thing to me
Yeah, she is beautiful
But she don't mean a thing to me
Yuck. Also, all of “Someday You’ll Be Loved” is some of the most grade A self-justifying and pandering bullshit you’ll ever hear.
He also writes about death like someone who’s never actually been affected by it. Still, I’m a sucker for a catchy hook. So burn most of this shit, but keep “Title & Registration,” “Expo ‘86”, “Transatlantacism”, “Soul Meets Body”, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, “Your Heart Is An Empty Room”, and “Crooked Teeth.” They’re good for a listen about once a decade or so. I’m not going to post any videos for these douches because that’s kind of embarrassing.
Soul Coughing was a band way ahead of its time in the ‘90s that also now feels like an ur-1990s band. Sampling? Check. White guy syncopation/near rapping? Check. Heroin junky? Check. Mike Doughty was the lead singer and songwriter for Soul Coughing, whose love of delicious opiates torpedoed his band and left him broke and stupid.
Then he got clean and started just writing songs on his acoustic guitar and sometimes (way, way unfortunately) a cheap drum machine. Like I said, I appreciate a good hook, and Doughty can write a catchy song. I saw him live a couple times, with a cello player named “Scrap” and answering questions from a jar he put out before the concert. Post-drugs Mike seemed a little wiser and less assholish.
He’s at his best when he just writes some damn songs, and doesn’t get cute with them.
His love songs now kind of sound like they were written by an emotionally stunted former drug user. Lots of “I’m obsessed with this barista” shit, and there’s a definite through-line with Ben Gibbard on the whole, “I, a sensitive artist, fuck a lot of hot girls that don’t ultimately mean anything to me boo hoo hoo.”
But things really go off the rails when he goes back to the white boy funk stuff. It’s one thing to be pulling that druggy cool guy William Burroughs nonsense in 1995. I was 20 and more tolerant of people’s bullshit generally. It’s quite another to be doing it in a new century when you’re 40, unquestionably stone sober, and are performing with a backing band of session musicians.
So the rule with Mike Doughty solo stuff is: the more instruments, the worse it gets. The pearls among all the slop are beautiful, though, and that’s perfect for our current music age when songs mean more than albums.
These guys were fantastic, all the way through. I never listen to them enough. In 2007 they had recently released their last real LP, Tender Buttons, and Trish Keenan died of the swine flu in 2011 after touring in Australia. What the fuck, Australia? And that goes double for you, pigs!
All of their stuff is great. Listen to Broadcast instead of those other dumbass white boys.
Oh yeah, you know who else was great in 2007? The Sharks.
So much hope back then. They had great cyberpotential.
On the one hand, the Sharks of 2017 are exactly what I expected. A decent team who will occasionally have trouble scoring goals as they sort out who among their younger players are actually good enough to contribute at the NHL level, and how much of a decline their veterans will experience.
On the other hand, I’m bewildered by this team. Their goaltending has been largely great. Look at the team SV%. Their defense is usually pretty good as well, though Braun and Vlasic are not looking like two of the best defenseman in the NHL in their prime. It’s mostly that I can’t really figure out game to game what kind of style they’re going to play. Their power play is often atrocious, but they’re also a good penalty killing team. They can cycle like crazy, but their net play is poor. Pavs isn’t getting into the dirty areas for deflections, which is a waste of his true elite talent. It’s heartening to see my beautiful son Joonas Donskoi get back to generating chance after chance and getting rewarded for it.
But if you love having goals overturned, this team is AMAZING. We’re putting together a season for the ages on that front. I feel like we can go 20, maybe even 25 games, having a goal overturned.
Anyway, we off on a road trip starting Tuesday night in Philly, home of DJ Hennessy Youngman and nobody else of importance. Go Cybersharks!