Wednesday, December 1, 2010


For any of those close to me, you know my tendency to be completely enthralled with an album without having any desire to listen to anything else for a while.

There have been many albums that have stayed with me in such a way, and for those of you who have experienced a similar thing will maybe understand how the albums become soundtracks to a certain chapter in your life. I can listen to an album and be taken back to that time in my life. And somehow that album, the lyrics, the sound, it all perfectly complements my life at that time. The world's best music supervisor couldn't have placed it better.

Is this because music effects the way that I behave, or do I subconsciously choose what music I need in my life?

When Is This It? by The Strokes was released I, like the album, was rambunctious, gritty, but at the same time still fresh. I was bouncing through high school parties to the beat of "The Modern Age" and groggily reflecting growing up, boys, and the general malaise that accompanies being an awkward teenager to "Is This It" after a night of keg-stands and beer bongs. I was your regular teenager, doing all the things teenagers have been doing for years, but yet I, and we, the Generation Y, or whatever the new age term is for us kids, were also different than our parents, just like how The Strokes were beginning a different chapter of rock music. They call us the Peter Pan generation, hopelessly trying to delay adulthood. And indie rock, although it had started twenty years before, took a turn when Is This It? was released. The rock and roll lifestyle became our anthem. Next, bands like Tokyo Police Club (who cite The Strokes as an influence) began playing shows here in Toronto and their shows created a kind of scene, the kind of scene that makes you always think about the night before.."last nite".

This is not to say that I only listened to this genre of music. Or that I only ever partied. Of course I listened to many other albums with a completely different vibe in this same period of my life. But other albums make me think about moving away from home, missing my family, breakups, loneliness, academia. My point is how albums can highlight aspects of your past. Almost like a snapshot of every moment that matches the feel of an album.

I've been reflecting a lot about 2010 as of late. It's the last month of the year so I suppose that's normal. Also because I am in the midst of preparing my Best of 2010 list. There have been some amazing albums this year but one album that will make me remember this year will most certainly be the Mimicking Birds LP.

If you haven't listened, you must. It's painstakingly beautiful. Simple, reflective, calm, and intimate. It's been a year of change for me. I've graduated university, thinking about where I'm going, who I am, all that sappy stuff. And this album has been there for me because it can be anything you want it to be. You can listen to it and feel content and calm and it can be wonderful background music, but if you focus on it and listen closely it's also incredibly complicated. And I think that's what this year has been for me. Feeling content at times, and completely absorbed in thought at other times, in such a way that I feel like my brain is an endless ball of thread entangled in knots and coils. This year has gone by so incredibly fast at times, like I'm standing on a subway platform watching the train woosh by me, yet I feel like it's been quite the journey to get here.

But, like this album, I can't deny that 2010 has been beautiful. Sometimes dark, sometimes light, but always real.

"I'm one in six billion no way I'm at fault
I swear it's not me I'm too small
And growing all the time
Can't reach yea such a sweet lie
Hard knowing whatcha gonna be like" - Mimicking Birds

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