lay back in the sun


music makes the people start talking again

no picture today, sorry. thought i'd start talking to you
beautiful people properly again, after that long hiatus
which was the convenient marriage of image and text. don't
worry, i'll still keep snapping, and still try writing
those little convoluted poems. they mean a lot to me, and
sort of work as a way in which i express my very private
self to this rather public sphere. and what better time to
to do than the end of the year. if it doesn't work, i'll
just scrap the idea just in time for the new year to start.
but thanks jess for kicking me, figuratively, to start
writing again.

as i was sitting here reading everybody's best-of album lists
of 2006, i thought i'd do the same, and try to remember what
i like about them and what i was doing at the time i bought
them, or listened to them most. i liked bob dylan's modern
and m. ward's post war a lot. dylan has
nothing to do with chaplin, but shares with m. ward a common
commentary of the state of the world today. not pretty. and
perhaps some of that postmodernist gloom has somehow found its
way into our lives as well. maybe it's just fashionable being
melancholic nowadays. this year, i've tried hard not to.

one response would be that of camera obscura's let's get
out of this country
. but that would be just indulging
ourselves in a little too much of escapism, wouldn't it. but
nostalgia's fine. the mountain goat's get lonely also
seems to offer a rather bleak alternative. but that album
sure became a very understanding companion in those times i
felt oh so restless and so very sad in what's been a rather
difficult year. in a strange way, that album seemed to spell
out quite accurately how i felt at those times.

more than anything, though, i think i've had fun this year.
made new friends, kept old ones, and just enjoyed every
minute i got to spend with them. i watched the mogwai
concert with two of my best buddies from way back, punk and
yap, where they played most of their songs from mr beast.
there's something special about sharing the things you love
with the ones who matter to you. yap also introduced me to
the best find of 2006 - hot chip's the warning. still
remember how he first described it to me - a cross between
paul simon and daft punk. how weird is that. the other brit
album i really enjoyed was guillemots' through the windowpane.
sort of restored my first love for britpop, though it hardly
sounded like what the 90's made so attractive.

that whole idea of fun has to be summed up by yo la tengo's
i'm not afraid you and i will beat your ass
. i think the
title says it all. but really, the eclecticism they immerse
themselves in so effortlessly appeals to me greatly, especially
when i reflect upon the many facets of my own life that seem
so disparate and mixed.

i've been reading a lot more this year. maybe that's why i
really enjoyed the decemberists' the crane wife so much.
such literary finesse in such a whimsical record that so smartly
and coherently tells a story. conceptually, as an album, only
scott walker's the drift joins it as a noteworthy contender.
but you just can't compare them, i guess. walker's in a league of
his own, and really, his gothic opera wouldn't be everyone's cup
of tea. it still makes me cringe every time i listen to it, but
as i tell some people, i love anything that evokes any strong
reaction within me. reminds me of how i love seeing jim cringe
when i play him xiu xiu. jim's a very good friend. he doesn't
always share my music tastes, but i thank God for a brother like him.

on that thankful note, perhaps it's only best to look towards the
new year with hope and a little smile on my face. regina spektor's
begin to hope
gives an inkling of the good things i'm looking
forward to next year. but most suitably, my favorite album of the
year best sums up what i'll have my eyes on as i look ahead. belle
and sebastian's the life pursuit
is the most beautiful thing
they've produced in a long time, and it sounds like they've finally
found themselves again, being comfortable sounding like what they
want to sound like. for me, i'll carry on in this strange journey
they call the life pursuit. i'll never know how the future's gonna
turn out, but i'll share with renton what i keep reminding myself
over and over again. to choose life. and to keep following the one
who's the only way, truth and life.

merry christmas, everyone.