“A Call for More Musicians to Be Named Nobel Poets, at the World’s Leisure”

Recently, Bob Dylan received the great honor of the Nobel Prize in literature, right before America got torn asunder by the presidency of Donald Trump. Now, if I may self-aggrandize a bit, this has been a meaningful year for my web site, but only because so many great albums have been generated since all this madness happened. Perhaps Broken Social Scene summed things up the best though when they said “We’re just the latest on the longest rank and file list / Ever to exist in the history / Longest rank and file list / Ever to exist in the history / Longest rank and file list / Ever to exist in the history of the protest song” [2]. If anything, this year has been like one big exciting, really entertaining fomentation experiment: what will happen to people when subjugated under the most ridiculous premises imagineable, like having the casino tycoon who once routinely and spiritedly uttered the words “You’re fired” on network TV, and who had no political experience, as president? Eh, I’m sure I’ll pay with the big guy upstairs later, but at the same time, we have gotten a lot of great tunes out of this canker.
A site called “thehindu.com” reported on the Bob Dylan event back in December, saying that “the Swedish Academy” cited that Dylan “‘created new poetic expressions within the American song tradition’” (I guess we’re just supposed to know what the fu** the “Swedish Academy” is). Anyhow, it’s obvious that the prize is given worldwide, and America has won it with a musician, the first of any country to do that in over 100 years. For this we should be proud. It’s like winning the olympics or something [3].
And I’m here to tell you that god da** it, there are musicians out there who sing about things other than trees and birds (which is usually more than I can say about poets, unfortunately). One is Travis Morrison of The Dismemberment Plan. He would be my first choice for next musician to win the Nobel Prize of Literature. The Dismemberment Plan’s album Emergency & I overflows with an abundant spectrum of basic biological quandaries such as lust laced with the profoundest human sympathies — such as “Spider in the Snow,” which makes beleaguered and disaffected the purportedly successful, upwardly mobile or mobile upward. “Back and Forth” refers to “looking down and seeing that nothing really suspends us / It was never just another Saturday night / Not with you in attendance”. “You Are Invited” declares “You are invited / By anyone to do anything… You are so needed / By everyone to do everything”. Other classic songs like “Invisible” and “Memory Machine” take us through the types of hypothetical life situations, frighteningly real, which draw the listener in with expedited clamor for their very ubiquity.
I think we all love John Popper deep down, even though a lot of us are the type of single-celled organisms who make fun of somebody on Twitter for being fat. We’ll ignore those people for now, despite the fact that judging my Google searches they seem to make for entertaining copy, and emphasize his highlights… which would seem to be the awesome song “Hook,” an endless miasma commenting on the lack of meaning in rock lyrics and the haunting mortality of man. Look at the lyrics to this song and listen to it: the man deserves a Nobel Prize for this outing alone.
To hear the words on Built to Spill’s Perfect from Now on is to observe a certain divinity on earth, in my opinion. Look at Doug Martsch of Built to Spill. He’s disheveled and bedraggled — bearded and seen-it-all. He’s not someone you put anything past, but he’s not someone who’s going to be wowing on ET anytime soon, either. He has constructed that epic, astronomical beard in much the same way, presumably, as he has the narratives to songs like “Velvet Waltz” and “Untrustable / Part 2 (About Someone Else)”, which don’t so much depict as they do demonstrate a self, an activity in the presence of ennui: “If there’s a word for you / It doesn’t mean anything”/“It’s so unthinkable / ’Cause you don’t think of it”. This is, of course, after what would probably qualify as a big-picture, the opener “Randy Described Eternity”’s “Every thousand years / This metal sphere / 10 times the size of Jupiter / Floats just a few yards past the earth / You climb on your roof / And take a swipe at it / With a single feather / Hitting once every thousand years / ’Til you’ve worn it down / To the size of a pea / Yeah I’d say that’s a long time / But it’s only half a blink / In the place you’re gonna be”.
[1] Please just shut up and read Noam Chomsky’s account of the situation. Thank you.
[2] These slightly less than inspiring lyrics are taken from Broken Social Scene’s 2017 LP Hug of Thunder.
[3] I’m not making any guarantees, but it’s always POSSIBLE that Sweden is actually ingenuous in their artistic evaluations — after all the great Hives hail from Sweden. Check Pitchfork’s review of Tyrannosaurus Hives for some great conscious rancor mixed with a side of enthusiasm… all about a great album, mind you.

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