22 Albums That Changed My Life (Part 3)

So we went through the albums that shaped my teenage and early adulthood years — now here come the stuff that shaped me as a grown-up.  Note that these span longer years than the earlier eras, because as an adult my palate has already been formed and it became harder to …

Song Reflections: Tool “Vicarious”

This song is quite possibly the meanest song I like.  I’m hesitant to admit that I relate to this song, but I do.  I have that selfish voice in my head, the one that watches someone in suffering and says “better you than me.”  And I really don’t agree, don’t want to agree with that bit about the world being a hostile, impersonal place — but I’d be lying if I didn’t wonder about that, too.

So it’s about accepting an inconvenient, against-my-value truth. But at the same time, there is a sense of relief in doing so.  I don’t have to lie, pretend or manipulate things to be what they are not.  And the question I come back to is, even if I have these against-our-values sentiments in me, am I still allowed to exist?  To be loved and accepted?

This song is lyrically very hard, but yet music is so majestic, propelling and heroic — that the ugly truths I have to accept in the lyrics, I find some sort of affirmation through the music.  As if coming to face-to-face with these truths has an element of courage.  I do fall way short of perfection or some sort of moral high ground, but I do make genuine efforts to become a better version of myself.  That’s an effort where I both try to improve my thoughts and actions and come to peace with accepting what I am — settling somewhere middle in-between.  And this song provides me with a sense of resolve to keep making that effort — to face hard truths, and to keep on living with it.

Fair to Midland: Fables From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True

I’ve been thinking about these guys a lot since they’re coming to St. Paul this Thursday (March 24, 2011).  Ever-cryptic Fair to Midland is a fascinating and talented alternative metal band from Texas, one of the best of young indie acts I’ve heard. What makes them so good? Well, to …