Now We Can Do Stuff Again!

I was feeling old and paralyzed last night as I drove home. It was my daughter’s second birthday (she has officially graduated from tiny baby to little person). It had been a typical case-of-the type of Monday; I was feeling ambivalent about the job that I like alright but don’t see myself doing forever. I was frustrated with my own lack of enthusiasm in “fun” projects that I had previously been excited about.

I was on the toll road because I had decided that I’d rather spend two bucks than another half hour in traffic. My iPhone was on shuffle, and launched into Japandroids’ single, Young Hearts Spark Fire (free download here). I’d heard this song a few times before–the album was released in April last year. It’s nice, with some yells and some strumming, but lo-fi in a way that Drew would hate (so much guitar noise!).

The chorus of that song, however, is made out of pure youth and exuberance.

“We used to dream
Now we worry about dying

I don’t want to worry about dying
I just want to worry about those sunshine girls.”

I found myself shouting along as I drove (substituting an Animal Collective-aping “sunshine and my girls” in place of just “sunshine girls” in the lyric above) and I loved it. I felt thrilled–energized to go and live as best as I could. My misheard lyric (the actual one referring, apparently, to pinup girls in the Vancouver Sun newspaper) invigorated me in a way that music hasn’t for a while. Sunshine and my girls are two of my favorite parts of life. I don’t want to dwell on the crap; I want to think upon pure, praiseworthy things.

So I did something I seldom do–I bought the album without listening to another track. I’m giving you a chance to hear the rest of the album below, but I needed to experience the album where I’d discovered it–my car. I just hoped that the album lived up to that monstrous single and clicked the download button. (physical product?! bah)

Guess what? Post-Nothing lives up to the promise of the single. It will make you feel 19 again, with enough do-it-yourself spirit to build a monster truck.

I injected myself with more Japandroid-enthusiasm-for-living-elixir on my commute this morning. Maybe it was the cold weather and the high, clear skies today–something in this album transported me back to my college days. It felt like the day before a long weekend, having finished my 7am statistics class early (only class of the day) and walking back to the red brick dorms with the blissful knowledge of a few days where I could shirk the responsibilities beginning to settle into my life. I understood this album in the context of the anxiety and potential of the end of my youth (emusic calls it the “soundtrack to a quarter-life crisis”). This album is made to echo off of cinderblocks and poured concrete, turned too loud on mediocre speakers at far too early in the morning for the rest of your floormates.

The band is two guys, pounding away at their instruments, which are turned far too loud. They sound so excited about just doing things. It reminds me of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip where Hobbes pounces on Calvin as he wakes up in the morning. Calvin is preparing to get mad at Hobbes, who shouts “It’s morning! Now we can do stuff again!”

That’s how Japandroids makes me feel.

New Year’s Resolutions Pt. 2 (stuff I wanna do)

Yesterday I got the mundane stuff out of the way. Lose weight, eat right, get organized. Now I want to talk about things that I have been wanting to do for a while that I am now deciding to actually do consistently. Here goes:

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New Year’s Resolutions Pt. 1 (the cliches)

The concept of New Year’s Resolutions is a pretty understandable one, to me. The date of 01/01/XXXX is a very stark and imposing date, implying a beginning of things. It’s a perfect time to start new things in your life. It’s definitely better than “I’ll start tomorrow” because it lacks the dual connotations of procrastination and immediacy. Saying “I’ll start in January” is less than pie-in-the-sky but more concrete than “eventually”. So, I’m starting some stuff this year. Some of these things I have already started, and some of them I am launching today–Inauguration Day. So maybe these aren’t so much New Year’s Resolutions as they are New Administration’s Resolutions, but I digress.

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