“Watching the World Burn With Greta Van Fleet” published in The Junction

“I’m Gen X — I just sit on the sidelines and watch the world burn.” — Kenan Thompson (SNL skit)

With some bands, music reviewers’ consensus becomes so confused that it reads less as a critique, more as an ode to the asshole you hate yourself for loving.

We’re not talking mere mixed reviews. We’re talking about the useless gray truce you eventually get after yin and yang have violently disagreed— “useless” being the optimal word. Because at this point, the critical contingent’s no longer shedding light on the band, not even if confusion seems to be a congenital part of the band’s whole thing, as a person might argue it does with those over-the-topridiculouscocksurewretched, vampiricundeniably talented new gods known as Greta Van Fleet.

But then, critics’ say has historically meant little where it’s concerned those bands that struck the public like lightning: because with those bands — who cause the brightest flash and rumblin’est thunder — you can’t talk about them without talking about us.

Read the rest over at The Junction.

greta
Image: NBC
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2019 – New Interests, A New Publication, A Nu Start

Hi. I’m Merry, and I’m one of those people. Who makes the new year into something grander than an arbitrary demarcation that persists mainly so fiduciary bookkeeping has a frame of reference and so there’s something — anything — over which we as a breed don’t so disagree that we’re ready to deflate each other’s skulls with meat cleavers and/or meanness.

Calendars, clocks, and the belief that all other drivers are raccoon-ripped bags of refried garbage — by these remaining means are we united.

I know New Year’s is no big whoop, existentially speaking. This year, the fact is it coincidentally aligns with a point in my wee human life where the gunk which made that approximate period of time called 2018 suck ogre ass has been cleared away, my mental machinery recalibrated, the future planned with weird rationality.

Don’t worry; this isn’t a list of my personal goals. Most of which amount to “consistently do the useful shit I did inconsistently in 2018.” The rest of which amounts to “go to the doctor now that I’m insured again and use Nordic-c serum daily for that youthful fresh-faced glow.” This is just the part that pertains to music and writing and writing about music.

Basically, I’m going to do more of it, more insistently. For years I’ve been (to at least some degree of success) pursuing a line of writing that I’ve discovered I don’t actually enjoy that much. This year I care about carving out more of a place, within the greater marsh of rock journalism, based on my specific combination of interests — namely, music for music’s sake, funny things, and literature.

On that note, I’m working on the launch of a Medium-based publication. Her name and details will be revealed as soon as I stop fiddling with them. Her headquarters will be the corner table of the same Dunkin’ Donuts where I always work, because you can’t buy inspiration like you overhear here. For instance? Just heard some guy say, “I get such bad brain freeze, I have to apologize for everything I say.” Don’t you want to know more about that? Now I want to hear Dunkin’ frosty drinks name-checked the next time a celebrity apologizes for being dickish. “I’m sorry, but you have to understand that at the time I said those insensitive things, I had brain freeze.”

“. . . And the time you started the cult that required members to dress up as badgers in clown makeup and Abraham Lincoln hats and dance the Macarena backward while repenting for all the dairy they’ve ever consumed?”

“Look. Brain freeze does things to a man. Dark things.”

I’ve just gotten into Medium again after a long absence (the pre-internet patches of my brain can only keep up with the ins and outs of so many platforms), but I think it’s promising for what I want to do. If you’re a Medium person, please feel free to connect with me there: https://medium.com/@merrymercurial.

The publication-to-be is the big writing news of 2019 so far. In other news, I have current writing assignments involving Guns ’N’ Roses (who will never be big enough jerkholes to delete the points earned with “Sweet Child of Mine”), Skid Row (led by Sebastian Bach, the human man equivalent of a glitter-crusted blacklight-activated prom corsage), Butthole Surfers (the full-body cast for when your bruised soul needs a band-aid), and KISS (the dudes responsible for that time you were told to avoid the hell tunes spewed by Knights in Satan’s Service and then what you heard amounted to bubblegum party tracks and, that fast, you went from being afraid of Satan to being kind of embarrassed for the guy). Plus a bunch of new bands. Yaaaay!

In case you’ve ever wondered how your prom corsage would look at you if it had eyes. (Photo credit: MartiBach91 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons)

I’m excited about all of it. And I’m excited to spend the rest of the year writing much too much too much about Dorothy and Greta Van Fleet and Syd Barrett and Disney soundtracks and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Hope your young 2019 similarly runneth over with enthusiasm. May the year be filled with good music, good writing, and lots of things that make you laugh on purpose.