Chelsea Light Moving
Help Me Out a Li'l Bit Here:
Thurston Moore--vox and guit-fiddle
Keith Wood--additional guit-fiddle
(Originally written May 2013)
Definitely wasn't planning on reviewing this one; plans to post my write-up of Lee Ranaldo's Between the Times and the Tides, just a week after release, went tits up when I was admitted to the hospital. A week later, I returned home and tossed the review in the garbage.
A few months later, I did the same to my life.
Wow, it's been a year...May 8th was when I just up and quite my title examiner job. Nearly two years working in a well-respected office, in a well-paying position (secured by my well-connected sister)--gone. Because I couldn't control my fears. Because I was convinced I was wasting away, that if I didn't do something drastic soon, I'd never get published, I would die unsung. So I quit my job. In this day and age. I was growing increasingly frustrated with my lack of motivation re: my fiction writing, and thought that such drastic action would provide the kick-start I needed. I'd saved up a good amount of cash, I could live off that and maybe grab a part-time job until I got my li'l career going.
Reason No. 54 It Sucks Having All of Your Friends Live Far Away: No one is there to grab you by your shoulders, shake you so you can hear your brain sloshing around inside your head, and yell "WHAT IN THE UNHOLY HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? You can make room for both your job and your writing! You need to stop being so impatient. Take a breath and work something out."
Next month I'll be moving back to Hagerstown. Back in with mom, although she moved out of the house I grew up in last year, and now resides in a cozier crib near the city limits that was once owned by her son-in-law's parents. This is the worst possible result. I have lived the past two years in Frederick, a city just a half-hour drive away from Hagerstown, but oh does it feel like a whole new world. The downtown in Frederick is actually vibrant--amazing restaurants, great bars, safe to walk, friendly people.
Mom's pretty confident I can find work again in Hagerstown, and once I save up enough money, I'll be out of there. For good. I really want to be back here for next summer. I'm scared as hell. This is failure on a level that breaks certain people. Trying to remain positive. If I have been one thing for most of my life other than overweight, it's resilient.
When I wake up in the morning, and realize what I have done and the damage I have caused, it feels like a line drive to the face. Every day is like that. I am doing this review in large part because I need to write something. When all else fails, let me just kneel at the laver and cleanse my hands.
"heavenmetal"--Instantly I hear the malfunctioning magneto. Nothing within these two minutes is heaven, or metal.
"Be a warrior/Love life." I have every reason to do the former and none to do the latter. But I'll gladly isolate outstanding moments and throw them up on the shelf.
"Sleeping Where I Fall"--Same chords on every Thurston solo record ever.
He seems displeased with someones stifling presence in his life. "I never know know what to do/Everybody knows it's because of you." Everybody also knows you coulda chopped this tune in half and been just fine.
I wrote about Sonic Youth's "hiatus" in the lost-forever LR review, and I would be remiss to not speak of it here. Did the news send me for a loop? Absolutely. Was I giving the side-eye to people online claiming to be in tears over the announcement? Oh yeah. I mean, I've been a fan for 23 years. I've seen them live 58 times. But things end, y'all. They have to. Sure, I would have liked for SY's end to be not so abrupt; to be not so precipitated by bullshit. But that's how it played out.
"Alighted"--Easily the best thing on here. Faux black metal I will take any and every day over faux Black Flag (Bl'ast! did that best, anyway). Not to mention we get a whole three minutes before any vocals kick in!
The fact that T can still crank out stuff of this caliber, clutching a severed goddess head in one hand and a bejeweled sword in t'other, fills me with hope. I have come to dread that feeling.
"Empires of Time"--Thick in tone, thick of bone. Electric Wizard this ain't, and I will leave the interpretation up to you.
Haha, guess what? Employed, you ain't. Paid, you ain't. Productive member of society, you ain't.
One foot in front of the other, babe.
"Groovy & Linda"--This album is rather hoary. I listen and I hear ideas (both lyrical and musical) that are overly-familiar and well-worn. This leaves me feeling underwhelmed at best, crestfallen at worst, and ultimately disoriented.
I want to exchange this album for a newer, younger-sounding one. In fact, I think I'll go steal one from my friend's record collection.
"Lip"--Fuck me in the fuckhole, this song is terrible. "Too fucking bad!" ad nauseum, emphasis on the nausea. A spotty snot of bother that comes off like an angrier, cussier "Hang Out," "Lip" is the audio equivalent of casu marzu--and the maggots are dead. The jejune emotionalism is exasperating, and verges on charlantry.
You'll get five across yer lip, Thurston, ya big dummy. Stomp off to the corner, place this brown crown on your head, and think--I mean actually think--about what it is you've done here.
"Burroughs"--A ball-hoot which is neither ball nor hoot. Thurston took inspiration from the last words Mr. Burroughs spoke before his passing on. He called love "the most natural painkiller," which fascinated Thurston, as such a saccharine sentiment seemed incongruous with the legendary writer's cantankerous reputation. "Hey Billy! Hey Billy!" oh this is such a no-go. You know the conventional wisdom about books made into movies? Same applies to writers made into songs.
At least nothing on CLM is as barrel-under-the-chin depressing as Demolished Thoughts. Good Lord. Dude sounded on the verge of breaking into "If You Could Read My Mind" for half the record.
I must continue on. I have been a fan, a supporter, of this guy's music for over twenty years. It is a dereliction of duty to not listen to what he has to offer. I just don't grasp his lust for the past. I avoid the hell outta the past; he's running towards it with arms outstretched, corners of his mouth upturned, eyes wide and dewy.
"Mohawk"--It's Beat poetry! Oh goddamnit! Dude, seriously, I have a life to try and turn around, it's pretty scary. Stop insisting that a pudding cup constitutes a hearty meal, would'ja?
So, hold on...T-man is approaching his 60s and he's responding by revisiting the 1960s? Okay?
A poem is like a child--people only care if it's theirs. And even if the li'l brat's as lazy as a Kentucky bullfrog or as incorrigible as a moonshine maven, you can't tell them that.
"Frank O'Hara Hit"--Tall finger for the tall man and the strange news he brings about angels. Six minutes, eh? Kudos on becoming a hologram.
I can't lose much more time. Memories splash my brain like hydrofluoric acid. Unfathomable. Hurts so much that I can't even scream. Who gets halfway up the mountain and then says to themselves, "Fuck this, I'm finished" and takes knife to rope?
"Communist Eyes"--One week, world. Gimme one week of kindness. Help me cast aside the devil that has taken over my heart. Eyes pink and raw, mouth downcast, I can't grow accustomed to that face.
Eff the attempts. Celebrate the achievements. Praise those who make bearable the heaviness of doing.
I'm neither antagonist nor ass-kiss, understand. There's a discernible cynicism in certain songs here that disheartens me; Thurston's the guy who, in an interview published on the eve of Sonic Youth's 1994 release Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, said that younger critics calling some of SY's songs "cynical" bummed him out, as cynicism was a quality that he felt had no place in art. I liked that he felt that way; I didn't necessarily agree, or even think any artist could actually avoid cynicism in their work, but the 1990s were the decade of cynicism. Such an attitude was pretty refreshing.
I would like to end this piece with some positivity. Not every song is a winnet clinging from the butt of rock 'n' roll. Just most of them. Also, although the album cover looks like Rush's Moving Pictures re-imagined by hippies, it's still nowhere near as terrible as the cover of Gang of Four's Mall.