Why Am I Listening to This Music?


Yesterday, Ed reported that his car was broken into. He claims everybody shrugged it off. Not entirely true. My response was “Mine got broken into too,” which he met with annoyed disbelief.

This was to be Ed’s moment.

And, truthfully, his car was really messed up when it got broken into.

Mine was just kind of harassed.

And both Ed and I should redefine “broken into”… neither of us lock our doors because we don’t drive quality vehicles and our keys don’t often work. So the act of “breaking in” simply means opening the door.

One thing I’ve been dwelling on is the fact that all my cds were pilfered, but they were left on the floor of the car, and the stereo was left in the car. The volume turned all the way down. (In fact, I still haven’t figured out if anything was stolen. It has been too cold to smell if anything was left behind.)

Anyway, I take it as a rejection somewhat when a hoodlum or car vandal won’t even steal my cds. There are indications he or she turned on my stereo. Then the vandal turned the music down, ejected the cd, and threw it to the floor.

I can only surmise that the vandal was so disgusted by the cd that he or she was forced to abandon the whole proposition of minor theft and flee the scene.

The cd happened to be on of my favourites, Modest Mouse’s Building Nothing Out of Something. Let me tell you, this is hip hip music… or at least it was like three years ago. But I know it gives people violent reactions.

In fact, on my recent visit to Brooklyn, I made the mistake of indicating how much I appreciated this band. I was staying with local bluegrass musicians The Cobble Hillbillies, who have been billed and boasted about in the Village Voice as “music without irony.” These musicians who feel disdain for irony had invited me to watch the OC with them, a show that apparently took over hipster culture while I was away. (Or young culture, hipsters are gone too. I was told they were too ironic.)

The show I happened to watch featured Modest Mouse, and everybody in the room groaned when they started to show rock concert excerpts.

“Oh, they look like such rock stars.” And other various complaints came spewing from the room. Most stating that, essentially, rock was dead.

“Isaac Brooks is a great lyricist,” I said, immediately making everybody extremely uncomfortable with my knowledge of the dead genre of rock.

“Isn’t this kind of angsty,” a friend said.

Three years ago, I may not have defended Mr. Brooks or his band Modest Mouse. But I moved to Iceland. In Iceland, we have very long, very lonely winters. We have very little tv. Those of us who are foreign are often extremely isolated.

I realized today, listening to Brooks sing “Other people’s lives seem more interesting cause they ain’t mine,” that the angst of being a foreigner in Iceland is not dissimilar to the angst of adolescence.

It is at least every bit as unappealing to those not involved in the struggle.

So I now enjoy music written for teenagers or 20-somethings that didn’t grow up, music my friends who did grow up mock, and music any respectable car vandal will throw to the floor and flee. BC [email protected]

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.