De Stijl is Dutch for "The Style". Also known as neoplasticism. Also known as one of the rock 'n' roll albums that is the truth.
1. Found a long sought after copy of De Stijl by The White Stripes on vinyl today. As someone who truly believes that God speaks to me in a variety of ways and especially through music, De Stijl moves my heart and soul. Having it spin on my turntable as I write this is like an answered prayer in some ways. I suppose because it always seems that when I hear an album on vinyl for the first time, I get the sense of hearing it for the first time and in a completely new way all over again. Slightly romanticized interpretation of my record-listening experience? Maybe, but that's just how I feel. The music and the words on this record move me, just MOVE me for reasons I'm alternately sure of and unsure of altogether. But the most important lesson this album taught me years ago that I need reminding of sometimes? "Truth doesn't make a noise." For me (and all art is interpreted by the consumer), it is God telling me (via his guitar maestro servant Jack White) that His truths are revealed almost always in ways that are not loud and bombastic and obvious--which I know sounds counter-intuitive since this is a guitar driven rock record, but let's not bury the lead. The truth, the answer, all of it is there when you're willing to stop your assumptions, your need for control, your need to dictate what it is you think you should find, and your ill-begotten search for it all. Be quiet, close your eyes, and look in front of you and it will eventually become apparent. Am I making the song more important than it need be? Am I taking the core truth from a song about something much less broad and extending it to the rest of my life? Yes and yes and I don't care. Whether you are religious or whether you are insightful or whether music says or means anything to you isn't really the issue. Every once in a while, something you consume in music, art, print, film touches you with some part of it and it hits you like a ton of bricks and says something that should be, nay MUST be heard. This is one of those songs and one of those albums for reasons I don't often understand and don't necessarily care to dissect much more than this. For me, God is always looking for ways to speak to me--even in the places I shouldn't necessarily expect. That is, if I assume I know where God prefers to talk to me. And as I get older, I realize it's best not to assume anything about when, where, and how such messages will be delivered. Thanks for hearing me out. I felt absolutely moved to share that with you. Yep, rock 'n' roll sure is cool sometimes.
2. I recently had the pleasure of finally seeing Canadian rock band Islands perform in Norman at The Opolis. I've always appreciated these guys because while often categorized in the lazily-created label of "indie", they've always found quirky, unique, and downright weird elements to put on display that make their music really stand out for me. Formed from the ashes of another excellent band called The Unicorns, Islands are now three albums in to their still young and formidable career and have created creative and artistically dense yet still extremely accessible music that sticks with you. If you don't know where to begin, start with their stunning debut Return to the Sea. Album opener "Swans (Life After Death)" is one of my favorite rock songs of all time. It's a bit epic in length (clocking in at around nine and a half minutes), but it's also epic in quality. I was floored when they elected to play it at this concert and if I could make a mental mixtape of my favorite concert renditions of all time for shows I've seen, this would easily make the cut--a transcendent moment in an otherwise still very good evening of music.
3. The often lovely girlfriend and I are leaving this Friday for Chicago and a weekend of so much Lollapalooza. That beautiful lineup is both exhilerating and daunting all at once as there are some conflicts that may finally spell the end in our otherwise excellent relationship. And don't get me wrong, I want to see Lady Gaga because she is utterly fascinating to me, but I've NEVER seen The Strokes! Arcade Fire or the reunited Soundgarden? Ice cream headache! Just know that if I come back single, I'll have made sure to see great music. That is a promise, folks.
4. And more? I'll be starting up a new series where I challenge commonly accepted music "truths". Some of these opinions will likely make some of my slightly hipster-leaning friends consider disowning me, but didn't I just rail on about the importance of truth in our lives? Even if this is a slightly noisier "truth" because foul language responses may ensue. First up? Radiohead's Amnesiac is better than Kid A. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves. That's coming up the next time we all meet in this little corner of cyberspace heaven...