30 Things I Love Right Now: Feb (uh) Wary

(1) Pet Sounds (2) Steven “Elliott” Smith (3) My new spreadsheet, in which I have charted out the genealogy of “my music,” from 1962 to the present. It’s a thing of beauty, really. I mean it. It starts with… (4) Bob Dylan and ends with… (5) Tyler Childers (Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?), and it’s got “everything” in between. But I mean… (6) It’s not everything. Not at all. Not close. No Ray Charles. No Prince. No Aretha, no Etta, no Nina Simone (no Son House or D. Glover or Drake or Peter Tosh or Beyonce or her spouse). It is the essence of implicit bias. Of all kinds, of course, but I was about halfway through when I realized just how WMA it was. To the point where I leaned in and, in determining the make-up of said sprawling “genealogy,” I said: okay, man, let’s see just how white, male, and American you are. “Jesus greets me / looks just like me / do no wrong / so clean cut, dirty his hands it comes right off” [but seriously: the lyrics of that song are very good, smart, prescient, etc] and so (7) How proud I am of Eddie Vedder. c. 1993 (to the present) and everything in between (8) Rockstar Avatars (9) But, okay, back to #2: Elliott Smith, who is also a smart and admirable lyricist, and who I had resisted due to his life story, honestly, and whatever but how #2: Elliott Smith has helped me understand my infatuation with (10) Portland, Oregon and its (11) Superpower of Gray (12) Which is to say, also, how #2 interplays with #1 (Pet Sounds) and (13) The Melancholy Genius of Brian Wilson and his (14) Long Promised Road. Which, of course, calls to mind (15) Kay Redfield Jamison’s seminal text, Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament (16) Which is how it is for us. Not rarely. Usually. In some way or another. To some degree or another. Cross-culturally, across time. And how… (17) That can be overcome. If you know about it. (18) Also Wakanda Forever. Which I just finally saw today, and how it unabashedly forwards the notion that ancient civilizations could be technologically advanced and enduring and enlightened and not white or androcentric or European at all. Which. I mean. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. And we humans have forgotten suppressed and oppressed it. But the truth resides in all of us. Somewhere in our amygdala and elsewhere. And how the truth, for me, is just this litany(19) And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son? (20) And what’ll you do now, my darling young one? (21) I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’ (22) I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest (23) Where the people are many and their hands are all empty (24) Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters (25) Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison (26) Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden (27) Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten (28) Where black is the color, where none is the number (29) And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it (30) And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it / Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’ / But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’ [Karma Police, arrest this man! He talks in maths! He buzzes like a fridge!!…]