Better Living Through Columnstry

By dean

Columns are shit. Egotistical, self-important, dull-as-dirt shit. If reviews of music are a rather sly pseudo-objective plea of, "Look at me!" columns are a clumsy, ham-fisted plea of, "Look at me look at me!" Pathetic. Just pathetic.
As if there aren't enough columns in the world anyway. The sheer glut of people spouting off utter inane nonsense has reached new limits in this day and age of maddening, insecure babble and "How do I spell 'potato'?" cro-magnon illiteracy. The level of written noise has reached new decibels. Everybody from Larry King to Meg Matthews...for the benefit of the clean ears of every man, woman, and child, please, please -- just please -- shut the hell up.

And some music column on some random web-site can't be helping any, can it? I mean, admit it, music is meant to be listened to, not "discussed." Any written form of over-analyzed critical urine demands to be collected with others of its kind, ammased in one monster pile (crudely shaped into the shape of Roy Wilkinson, Stuart Murdoch, or any music theory professor of your choice), and lit wit gasoline and Zippos. Anybody who takes notes while playin an album or going to a concert probably needs to be shot. The music world cannot be this far up its own fundament. It just can't.

But I'm not so sure anymore. You can't get around egos, the little twerps ("My, what a large piece of cranium matter I have...," "Boy this column is going really well...," "All the ladies love my extra toe..."), and they'll almost always exist, so who really cares? Egos are egos, columns are columns. One's always going to be feeding off the other. Complaints are just whines at this point. After all, the only thing worse than a music column is someone complaining about a music column. Ah, crap.

Alright, I'm with myself so far. Even with half-assed "jokes." But to answer your question before you ask it...why am I writing any of this in the first place? Here and now? Like this and like so? Look what I can do. I get to use a word now in this sentence that one rarely gets to use in music writing (and actually get to use it more than once, because I'm so darned cool). The word? "I." Fun to write (nice on the finger), fun to say (easy on the tongue), and involuntarily points to oneself whether one likes it or not. I, I, I. I-ditty-I-ditty-I-I-I. Boy, Noel's wife should watch out. There's a new wordsmith in town. And he's so suave and elegant he's stupid enough to throw in a word like "wordsmith."

Whatever, though. You want to know what's a more important and less wiseass reason why I'm babbling on? It's always good to get things off one's chest. There. Simple as that. Wouldn't want to bottle loads of crap up and end up on a tower with a high-powered rifle or eventually turn up in line at a record store with an EMINEM album in hand. There's enough horrors around. Anything to stop 'em -­ no matter how seemingly egotistical -­ has to be a good thing. If rants and raves about anything and everything helps, more power to it. That's why I'm here. That's why you won't get rid of me. I'm here, I'm around, and I'll complain or drool over anything. Say it with me, people (and whisper it to your children before you put them to sleep in-a-non-animal-way): cathartic columns are keen.

So there ya go. Greetings, all. Glad you could make it and it's quite nice of you to join the shenanigans. Enjoy. Smile. But don't forget -- look at me.