Saturday, September 23, 2006

Pointless Nostalgia, Volume 3003

You know what, fuck it, I really miss middle school.

Why? I don't really know. Well, okay, I have rational reasons, but I don't hear many people really talking about how lovely middle school was, at least not the proud members of Generation-Y (is that what we're called? What is our generation called??). Most of the time we're either complaining about the rigidity of high school or revelling in the newfound freedoms of college.

Yesyes. College is a mighty gas. I guess maybe I'm guilty for resenting college life slightly because I have yet to take advantage of the independence we're granted after high school; I don't have a driver's license (I don't even know HOW to drive, boyhowdy!), I don't have a car (well duh), I don't have a job and never have had one, I don't have a girlfriend and I've never been with a girl even for a nice little fling, I don't have my own apartment, I haven't started up any clubs or championed any dire political causes, I'm not writing for my school newspaper. I've been playing video games, going to boring parties, dicking around online, and... well, walking. A lot.

Maybe I'm not ready for the so-called "adult world." You know... even talking like this makes me feel like a pathetic child. "I'm not gonna conform to college kid norms, I'm not going to take responsibility for SHIT. I don't wanna! I DON'T WANNA DEAL WITH IT!" Yeah, that's starting to sound like me. Wonderful. So you know what, fine. Let's just go with that assumption - that I'm a manchild. For the rest of this post I'm not going to even argue that anymore. Let's just settle on it: I'm an overly nostalgic kid, wasting his parents' money on a college education that he's really not taking advantage of, and instead wasting his time making blog entries about said fact.

Okay. Okay. Let's take a breath and continue. Yes.

Middle school. Middle school gave me a chance to be stupid. Maybe not in an academic sense - well, I started sucking in seventh grade, but whatever. No, I was stupid, but I loved it. Music - music was free game. I could listen to Savage Garden, BBMak, and even abhorrent stuff like Creed (liberally, mind you) with little to no guilt. God, it was wonderful. Hell, middle school was when I started to get into music ITSELF, despite it all being pop pap - before 6th grade, I was listening to showtunes and video game tunes that I would only hear sporadically. Before middle school, music was distant to me. Beautiful, but saddeningly distant - very fleeting.

Then 6th grade comes along - so now I'm watching MTV, listening to the radio. Yes, it's TRL and yes, it's KC101, one of Connecticut's most unabashedly commercial radio stations. But it was great, for me to be surrounded by all this music, this musical imagery. I would watch TRL every day after school with my sister, and I'd listen to KC101 while I slept. It was all implanted into my brain, whether I liked it or not.

I mean... well, I had my boundaries. My sister loved boy bands and I thought they were lame, even when I was 12. At least that's how I would ACT, you see. My sister would play N*Sync late at night, and I used to sit around in the bathroom and just listen to it. When I was alone, I loved that sugary, sappy teen shit. Oh man. "Quit Playing Games With My Heart" by the Backstreet Boys reminds me of Christmas break 1998, sleeping in my basement with a smile on my face. I can't help it. Yes, it was all manufactured teenage crap. I know. But it was wonderful, being such a stupid kid and not caring.

A little bit more on music - most of it, in that 1998-2001 period, was a mixture of teen pop, weird R&B (for a little while), and - I think most fascinatingly - a dearth of one-hit-wonder wannabe alt-rockers shoveling out some very obvious hits that pretty much signified the death cries of the "alternative" music movement. Rememeber "Little Black Backpack" by Stroke 9? "Everything You Want" by Vertical Horizon? "I've Seen Better Days" by Citizen King? Pretty much everything Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind ever recorded? I was weaned on that paper-thin stuff. Ironically, a lot of these songs are still favorites of my generation; they're considered college favorites now. I don't quite know why, outside of nostalgia. They're very safe, neutered "alternative" rock songs. But when I was in middle school, it was perfectly valid.

In middle school - okay, I am getting a bit too sentimental here. But back then, my best friend was still my best friend. We'd sleep over each other's houses every week, we'd play video games all night, we'd watch scrambled porn and and yell every time we caught a tit, we'd play stupid pranks on my sister, we'd go OUTSIDE and take walks and complain about school. Sexuality was funny, if not confusing. For me, at least. We'd by GamePro and EGM and check out the new Nintendo 64 and Playstation games. I'd borrow from him, he'd borrow from me. We'd rent games, rent movies, play Zelda, Final Fantasy. Pokemon was this wonderful new thing that I was absolutely in love with, and we'd waste our money on games and cards, hoboy. It was all just wonderful, this casual stupidity, this loving of whatever was shovelled down our throats.

I'm a snob now. A total fucking snob. Music, especially. I can't listen to KC101, TRL is disgusting nowadays. I listen to Pavement, The Flaming Lips, The Beatles, early punk, classing rock, and still some 90's alt-rock that I'll never give up on. But I have a sense of critical integrity now. How can you expect me to call the manufactued, bland artists I grew up with "legitimate"? It just can't happen, not anymore. And with the state of pop music nowadays, I can't play ball anymore. Sorry, I don't find Fergie, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake and all that other crunked-up "pop" shit very attractive. Not to mention that formless, trendy emocore bullshit that all the ladies seem to adore. It really just repulses me. But I don't think it's just me - say what you like about the Backstreet Boys, N*Sync and a lot of other boy bands of their ilk - there was a sense of beauty, a sense of uplifting pop spirit in what they did, despite being totally "corporate" and kinda embarrassing at times. Now most dance-pop songs are... well, "My Humps" or "Sexy Back." Nonsensical, stupid "guilty pleasures." Yeah, okay, the music I loved in middle school are my personal "guilty pleasures." But those songs? Don't they just sound ugly and grating, musically? Am I going insane here????

I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen. Have I gone a little too far in this post? I just wanted to talk about how I hopelessly yearn for middle school and here I am bitching about Timberlake and college kids. What's happened here? This is probably the most unfocused post I've made... well, ever. It's a wellspring of emotion, it is. Raw emotion! I cannot tame it.

I'll end it now, okay? Okay.

Middle school... was nice. It was vibrant, it was exciting. Things happened. I felt like I was apart of something. I've really only focused on music in this post, so my view probably seems very limited, and I can understand that. I've got more to say on the subject, but I can't do that now. It would just be too much.

Maybe it's becuase I lost my house to a fire this summer?? That could be it. I feel very far away from home right now and I just needed to vent a little. It's a nasty thing, to not be home. Middle school music makes me feel like I'm home again, at least for a little while. I guess that's something I need right now.

Sorry. Sorry for that waste of a post, everyone! If you don't mind I'm listening to "Clocks" right now and after that maybe I'll listen to "She's So High". That one reminds me of standing up in my bed, summer of 1999, in my basement, late at night, punching at the ceiling for no apparent reason. Oh, what a joy, to be so stupid.

"She's so hiiiii-eeeigh... high above meee..."

1 comment:

Luke said...

God, I'll admit there were some good times in middle school, but I honestly don't have the greatest memories ever for that period. I mean, if that was the high point of my life, I'd be seriously depressed. In short, you suck.

Don't worry, I actually understand where you're coming from with this post. As you've mentioned here and before, as well, middle school was a time when you could listen to stupid music and generally be an idiot. However, for me, at least, it marks the period when I first began to get interested in music in a slightly more serious way. I usually just listened to whatever my parents had, so it was a mix of Steely Dan, the Beatles, Santana, Kansas, Savage Garden, and Backstreet Boys, among others. I had hardly any CDs of my own (as strange as that sounds), and it was really 8th grade goin into 9th grade that I began to more seriously collect music, beginning with some more Beatles, David Bowie, The Who, and the Velvet Underground. I remember the first VU album I got was White Light/White Heat, and I had no idea what was going on. I'm listening to it at my Dad's house before everyone else got back from work or school, and it gets to Sister Ray. At this point, everyone comes home, and they just look at me with this odd expression on their faces (and I still get that).

Anyway, I haven't talked to you in while, so how are you doing? I've just been doing my usual stuff, like giving tours, wondering what I'm doing with my life, and hanging out with the strange people who inhabit Pittsburgh. So yeah, life as usual. Hope I see you when I come back for Thanksgiving, and we can have our own not-so-boring party. Yeah! Awesome!

Right. Have fun with life!