As many of you know, I am legit obsessed with the Counting Crows and would accept a job fixing Adam Duritz’s dreads if he would only offer it to me. I thought I had heard every Counting Crows song ever made, but of course this new genius playlist thing from iTunes was all “Ha ha! Look at all these songs you’ve never heard! And you call yourself a fan!” and then I felt inadequate and immediately bought all of the songs. It turned out to be a good idea, because I discovered what is now one of my new favorite songs. It’s actually a cover of a Jackson Frank song, but I really dig the Counting Crows version. Without further ado, please enjoy “The Blues Run the Game”:
It seems that every so often, Kathleen or I get busy with exciting things going on in our real lives, and then we write a post apologizing for our embarrassing lack of blogging. I clearly just took a little hiatus myself, so let’s get you updated on my life, shall we?
The reason I’ve been more or less out of commission the past few days is that I made a huge, grown-up move to Washington DC. Hooray for me! I’m so mature that I even ordered our cable and Internet and bought (and put together!) my own bed. Chuckle all you want, but these things are huge for me. We didn’t have to do that stuff at my college. (Side story about the bed: I ordered it from Craigslist from this stranger boy, and arranged for it to be dropped off the next morning, while I was alone in my apartment. I told my mother this plan, and she immediately freaked out and assumed that I would be raped and murdered by said stranger boy. So naturally, I Facebooked him to see if I could gauge his rapist tendencies. Turns out, we sort of have a mutual friend, and also, he’s a professional lacrosse player. He didn’t rape or murder me, and now I get to sleep where a professional athlete once slept. Take that, Mom.)
Aside from slowly becoming a huge fake adult for the past few days, I’ve also been up in New York/New Jersey visiting some of my best friends from college. I hadn’t seen any of them all summer, and I was insanely excited to be reunited. The weekend did not disappoint.
For starters, I got to see the Counting Crows live, which made me giddy because they are my favorite band and I’d only seen them once before. Katie and I maybe had a little too much cheap wine before the concert, and we maybe forgot to eat dinner, and Katie maaaybe slept through Maroon 5, who opened, but it was still wonderful. I don’t care if Adam Duritz is old and kind of unattractive; he has dreadlocks and I’d like to marry him.
The rest of the weekend was filled with straight-up college-style debauchery, just as we hoped. There was drinking, excessive eating, obnoxious dancing, and enough stories to fill several books. Here are some highlights (and I truly wish I didn’t have to censor these, but if I’m ever going to change the world, people have to think I’m respectable):
Katie’s poor boyfriend having to meet all FOUR of Katie’s parents at once. It was so fun to watch. Katie’s dad and stepmom were coming home to meet the boy (whom we will call “DJ”), so Katie’s mom decided that she would come over with her own boyfriend and add to the awkwardness. I must say, DJ performed quite well.
DJ telling me I look like Karen from Californication. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THIS MEANS TO ME?! She is my idol, and I don’t know that any compliment will ever again make me as happy as that one did.
The fact that Madeline and I actually won two out of three pong games to win the only portion of Beer Olympics that we actually paid attention for. Have I mentioned that I’m TERRIBLE at pong?
The end of my vegetarianism. Did I not totally predict this shit? The offending meats were breakfast sausage and pepperoni, obviously.
Making friends with all of our NYC cab drivers. We met the greatest people! One man, Ram Lama, was a sherpa in Everest who worked as the head sherpa on like a million expeditions. I’ve never understood why sherpas don’t get more credit. We freak the fuck out when some American white dude climbs Everest, but sherpas climb it regularly. Without oxygen. While carrying all of the American white dudes’ crap. It’s amazing. We also met a Pakistani cab driver who essentially said that because I dressed like a whore, I could never be a Muslim. (And, for the record, I was not really dressed like a whore. My dress just happened to be, er, a little short.) I proceeded to get in a bit of a religious debate with this driver while my friends laughed from the backseat.
Exciting things that did NOT happen this weekend: I didn’t get to ride in the Cash Cab. Sigh. Maybe next time.
Our bloggy friend Caroline over at Drunkinarowboat has posted a few times about how irritating it is when people get mad at you for liking mainstream music. In her articles, she talks about how much she loves Coldplay and John Mayer, and how, you know, we’re not supposed to like them because everybody likes them.
I’ve been thinking about this today for a couple of reasons. First, this quote was in Quotes of the Day today (yes, I know, I’m obsessed):
The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he is very good. [Robert Graves]
I hear ya, Robert! I mean, who’s to say John Mayer isn’t to music what Shakespeare is to writing? (That could be just ever so slightly a stretch, but you see what I mean.)
Second, this morning over breakfast, I read a Coldplay-bashing article in the NYT magazine. In it, Virginia Heffernan spends an agonizing 15 paragraphs dissecting Coldplay’s MySpace page. No Virginia, not okay. She draws this impressive conclusion at the end:
Because it lacks the conviction of a real, florid MySpace page, [Coldplay’s MySpace page] is obscurely embarrassing. Yet, in a straightforward way, it underscores the embarrassment of Coldplay’s music — the mawkishness, suppressed arrogance, halfheartedness and squeamishness about rock stardom. When illustrated by the graphics here, embarrassment seems like an entirely worthy theme for very hard soft rock.
Wait, what? Either way, I’ll still going to consider it totally enjoyable and acceptable to loudly duet “Viva la Vida” in the car with my sister.
The third reason I’ve been thinking about all the elitists who hate popular music is that I’m going to a festival this weekend that several of my hippie/emo/elitist friends have condemned as “too mainstream,” as if the crunchy folk and the angry teenagers had the market cornered on music festivals. I think the lineup is amazing: headlined by Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, and TOM PETTY, with other acts like Stephen Kellogg, Jason Mraz, Citizen Cope, moe., O.A.R., Spoon, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Brett Dennen, Ingrid Michaelson, Flogging Molly, The Roots, and The Black Crowes. Plus some others that didn’t make my short list. And yes, I did just want to brag a little bit, because how kickass of a lineup is that?
Even though I’m thrilled about the above mainstream/hippie/jam band acts that I’ll be seeing this weekend, I’m still annoyed that people are so condescending about it. I was talking to this kid at a bar about the concert, for instance, and of course he said that he wasn’t attending because it was “too mainstream.” He then asked me what my favorite band was. Here’s the moment where I know I’m about to be judged by a person like him, because, goddamnit, I just happen to be hardcore in love with the Counting Crows.
Now, why on earth should I be embarrassed about that? Alternative Elitist Boy at the bar seems to think I should be, but it’s not like I’d be admitting to owning every S Club 7 album ever made (did they even have more than one album, by the way? And didn’t they have a movie?).
The point is, everyone should just calm down, pour themselves a tall Jack and Coke, and admit that songs like “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” really are insanely good. (Incidentally, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” is the song I request every time I’m hammered and someone pulls out an acoustic guitar. The fact that NO ONE ever knows how to play this song has never stopped me from begging.) Anyhoo, let’s take a listen to a live version and I’ll stop ranting: