A life less ordinary

That light looks good on you

Keep standing in that light

It’s definitely been a while since I updated. My apologies – work and other writing projects have made me a dour and musicless person. Some people really thrive on stress. They ride all that caffeine and panic over deadlines like an ostrich. Others clam up, grow crop circles under their eyes, and get some fleeting relief from fantasies of a life far away under a new alias. It’s sad to say, but the latter kind of stress has been the unwanted visitor in my life for the past week. Of course, it will pass. Still, it’s a nice decompression technique to raise my fist skywards and holler at the clouds, “But WHEN?!?”

Under that state of duress, I finally took notice of Bob Mould’s newest album, Life and Times. Although Mould has repeatedly stated that the album is not a retrospective, it’s difficult to not view the work as a hook-heavy journey into the psyche of Bob Mould. But even if this was to be Mould’s final recorded offering (knock on the nearest bit of wood you have), I’d have no objection to becoming more familiar with the headspace of a founding member of two remarkably influential bands from both the 80’s and 90’s. Sugar’s Copper Blue is one of my favorite albums ever, even now. And although Mould’s more recent solo work may never reach the levels of pop sublimity I associate with that album, he’s still one of the masters at encapsulating ordinary, lingering emotions in tidy chord progressions.

But what really resonated in Life and Times is how, as an older gentleman regarding his current life, the narrator is still prone to all the same mistakes, locked into deep ruts of habit when it comes to other people, and full of hesitation at giving up the old ways even when the old ways don’t bring any joy. This is evidenced in the introductory track that shares its name with the title of the album. The drums and guitars get louder and Mould’s voice picks up a kind of urgency as he sings, “What the fuck? What kicked up all this dust? You’re taking me back to the places I left behind.” The single, “I’m Sorry, Baby, But You Can’t Stand in My Light Anymore,” despite its uninspired and literal name, gives a resigned but true assessment of aging. As Mould eloquently muses, “Maybe I’m the broken one, maybe when the lights go down, I’m the one who feels lonely.” We get older and grow more set in our personal rituals, even when they mostly cause us harm. And even when it’s a draining lover, or The Man, or the entire world who commits the wrong-doing, Mould is aware that both the smallest slight and the biggest betrayal reveal a lot about their object, sometimes even more than they say about the perpetrator. Maybe it’s because I’m such a fan, but it’s a comfort to hear from someone like Bob Mould that, even in the most grating circumstances, a grown-up has some agency in how to smooth out some parts.

Bob Mould will play at the Doug Fir on Friday, October 16.

  • Bob Mould ~ Life and Times ~ Anti-

I’m Sorry, Baby, But You Can’t Stand in My Light Anymore


2 Responses to “A life less ordinary”

  1. 1 scott July 26, 2009 at 9:37 PM

    hi. i like this blog. sorry to hear about your stomach problems. i like mould and johnston and vanderslice. this song is about poet kerouac: http://www.chrishickey.net/jack-kerouac.htm

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