||On one level, I don't want gender to matter, and Sløtface are a great Norwegian punk band. On the other hand, I have a 10-year-old daughter, and "Norwegian" seems to matter to me, and so probably everything matters.|
||"Little White Lies"
||Yesterday, for reasons I don't remember, my daughter asked me if Wales was a city or a country or what. It's a one of the places in the world where people sing.|
||I held up my hands to sketch out the shapes of England, Scotland and Wales, like this would explain how people from these places did and didn't invent rock and roll.|
||A Giant Dog
||We took her to Austin when she was tiny, once, and she knows I grew up in Texas, and she knows, I think, that music starts in a million different places before it goes into the wires and comes out in our house.|
||Probably, really, she knows this in a deeper way than I do, because I had to learn it.|
||I am just the right age to have grown up in Texas thinking that I needed to fly to England to reach the music that wouldn't come to me.|
||The Nature of Time
||I bought CDs in the gift shops of Scottish tourist castles.|
||I filled suitcases in London and Amsterdam, scavenged treasures in Brussels and Barcelona and Paris and Tallinn.|
||"Insoluble Maze (Dreams in the Blindness)"
||Life on Death Road
||And because this was so hard, it never felt much like I was helping anybody but myself.|
||"Fool You All"
||We write heroic songs, maybe, because mostly progress involves converting the heroic and extraordinary into the liberatingly mundane.|
||Miss May I
||I don't need to fly to Norway or Ohio to find songs to play my daughter.|
||Blood On The Dance Floor
||"Love Like Voodoo"
||She, of course, wants to hear Taylor Swift again, but she's only 10. I'm happy hearing Taylor again, and I'm only 50, but I'm also all the ages I've already been and she hasn't yet, and trying to imagine all the ways her ages will be different from mine.|
||"Fake Happy - Edit"
||I still think part of Taylor's thing, back before she started co-writing songs the same way every other pop star co-writes songs, was that she captured what it felt like to be a person.|
||Is that all I really want? Stories of how to be alive? Maybe.|
||"Lightning Lipgloss Life"
||How to be yourself as a robot,|
||"Quid Pro Quo"
||No Words Spoken
||or a monster-slayer,|
||The Last Sleepless City
||"Big Ideas, Bigger Hearts"
||or a glittering avatar of yearning.|
||Layers, Vol. 2
||Songs make me aspire to live up to the level of song,|
||make me want to bend the world so that this feeling of potential and awe flows plasmatically into more chests.|
||I want my daughter to grow up knowing, eventually, that youth is not a refuge, but adulthood is not an abandonment.|
||Music is an organized reaction,|
||Die on My Ride
||and the alternatives to organized reaction are petulant retreat and inchoate panic.|
||When she was tiny, I could play her chart-pop and spirit-pulverization-core in alternation over breakfast and she would talk about the noises and demand more blueberries.|
||She's old enough now to realize that no amount of metaphorical cold is going to turn Elsa's guardian snowman into an actual frost giant.|
||"Testament of Knyaz’ Rurik"
||RUS': Prophetic Oleg
||I'm old enough to recognize that the frost giants would have had inner lives and playlists, too,|
||"While Your Lips Are Still Red"
||and that retelling a myth can reveal new pathways into legend.|
||Unleash The Archers
||I don't have an actual syllabus for arming her against orange goblins and insidious preconceptions.|
||But I can try to help her not be afraid to hear new sounds.|
||I can show her where Colombia is on a globe,|
||Reflections of a Floating World
||and how long it would take to bore a tunnel from here to there using psychic rays.|
||We can remember the taste of Finnish strawberries,|
||and what our friends who moved away to Seattle like.|
||"Where Is My Mind?"
||The things that formed when I was forming are history now,|
||"Why Are You so Boring?"
||but history always and never repeats.|
||Love and nostalgia bond to everything, that is how they work.|
||"Stay For It"
||Part of how we got this Taylor Swift is that people's dreams assumed her shape.|
||Which is also how we got a lot of worse things, too,|
||"Under the Sun"
||but also soaring Swedish indie rock|
||Dåliga förlorare / Sista spiken
||and the views from the Djurgården ferry|
||Me metí en tu corazón
||and how ABBA turned a contest into a continent,|
||"L'Estate Migliore Che C'E'"
||and how you can make a life singing new Italian songs for imported Japanese movies,|
||or rewriting American machismo in Japanese scripts.|
||Parenting is not an audition of models for how your child will live.|
||"Even the songs in the department store, can make me happy these days."
||I mean, I hope it isn't. I hope it is better, or enough, to show them so many models that it would seem crazy to them to ever think they should pick one.|
||I am not trying to become these songs, individually or collectively.|
||Usually, I'm mostly just trying to step outside of what I thought I knew.|
||And flying to where they talk to each other in some other language is a dramatic way of doing this,|
||but so is actually listening to what people do differently with the words you already know.|
||Elviira & Rake
||And if you're too scared to ask them to dance with you, you can dance and that's half of it.|
||Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus
||"Suomi sata vuotta"
||Strangeness is unmanageable if you imagine that it exists to show you other lives you could personally lead.|
||I don't have time to become a Finnish atmospheric hip-hop producer|
||and a sentimental Guadalajara post-post-punk band|
||"The King of Swilling Powers, Pt. I, II, III"
||Tales of Interest
||and a Cincinnati punk trio.|
||Captain We're Sinking
||I don't have time to be properly neo- and post-anything at once or at a time.|
||This is why narcissism is so powerfully pathetic:|
||Fear Those Who Fear Him
||it turns other people from extensions to your humanity into contractions in your moral bowels.|
||You can't really listen if you're always tensing to fight back.|
||"Century of the Narcissist?"
||The Future in Whose Eyes?
||You can't measure anything if you're busy frantically insulting numbers,|
||and thus can't even count what you're missing and wonder what that's worth.|
||Sun Of The Sleepless
||Babies, you protect.|
||Kids, you try to be not overwhelmed by the overwhelming in their presence.|
||Donde el Silencio Se Rompió...
||The weird thing in front of you, it's probably somebody's normal breakfast.|
||The Weekend Classic
||What is weird about your own normal?|
||"(Don't) Come Closer"
||If you don't know, you will blunder through your life constantly puzzled and angry at all the things that have audacity to destroy themselves when they come close to you,|
||"Maskrosen (Matilda kom hem)"
||enraged by every inexplicable reaction other than instant adoration.|
||"Unter die Haut"
||Deine Stimme ist der Ursprung jeglicher Gewalt
||Yes, eat somebody else's weird breakfast.|
||"Letting Go of All Hope"
||Crumbling Cities Echoing Their Terror
||Listen to their weird noises HOW ARE THESE EVEN SONGS?|
||"It Could Be Me"
||Find where their voices break,|
||"Tri na karte"
||and see what bubbles out of those fissures.|
||To Speak, to Listen
||Detach your self-image from other people's seriousness.|
||Listening is not a taxonomy of guilt, it is a heedless inhalation of joy.|
||"Tänk om du visste"
||When you inhale joy, you exhale joy.|
||"Breaker of Silence - III. Symbelmyne"
||When you inhale fear, you can choose to still exhale joy.|
||Music is thus better than breathing.|
||New songs are thus better than holding the breath you think you were satisfied with before.|