the difficult life of a music snob

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I had this moment with Carrie Brownstein a few weeks ago.  I was listening to All Songs Considered’s spring music preview and she said something about The National that really got me.  The preview show is one of my favorites because it’s the ASC crew just hanging out and nerding out about music for about an hour and a half.  Does an hour and a half sound like along time for a podcast?  It is.  The podcast is that awesome.  I like conversational podcasts of that nature, where one can play voyeur to a conversation of like minds, the kind of conversation one could hop in and out of effortlessly.

And anyway, well they came to the part where one of them (Robin?) was playing a preview off of High Violet, The National’s new one.  And Carrie expressed some reticence.  The song was amazing, she admitted, but she wasn’t sure if she would be able to love High Violet the way that she loved Boxer.  Her relationship with Boxer had been too intimate.  Too intense.  And no matter how great the new album might be, it just couldn’t be the same to her.  There was a moment with Boxer that could be neither undone nor repeated.

I had that same moment with Alligator.  So it was hard for me to get into Boxer.  I’ve been trying lately, but it’s sort of half-hearted.  I’d even concede that Boxer is a better album.  The songs tighter, the polish smoother.  But I just can’t quite feel it.

So it’s with a bit of trepidation that I’m listening to High Violet right now over at NPR.  You can stream the whole thing here.  It’s awesome.  Incredible.  But I just don’t know how I feel.

This is something that I love most about music though.  The ability to have that indelibly intimate moment with a song.  Or an album.  Even on the most remote desert island across the farthest ocean, one can feel a human connection that is positively singular.

And then, later on, when you’ve returned from the desert island, moved on to some next phase in your life, these new songs come along.  I’d compare it to a relationship: it’s like dating someone who looks just like an ex, has most of the same interests, even the same first name.  There’s always going to be something there preventing them from being to you what the first was.  Even if they’re better than the first.

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I’m finishing up all of my Christmas preparations, and I feel like I’ve been a total slouch this year.  This probably isn’t true, but anything short of amazing always feels like too little when it comes to the holidays.  A number of my gifts were last minute, which always makes me feel like a slacker.

The good news is that the Christmas mix CD came out amazing.  It has been receiving love from all who hear it.  This is good.  Love is the objective.  Holiday Christmasy love to be specific.

The one thing about it that’s kinda thrown me is how unheard of some of these songs are.  For example, the Run D.M.C. track that starts it off–this is one of my favorite Christmas songs ever.  I just assumed that people knew it.  But few do.  In fact, songs like these are the quickest way to find out who the music snobs are among your friends.  My music snob friends all pegged it right away.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the tracklist.  It’s a mix of tasteful classics, with a few gems in there for fun.

01. Run-D.M.C. – Christmas In Hollis (3:00)
02. Stevie Wonder – What Christmas Means to Me (2:31)
03. Weezer – O Come All Ye Faithful (2:05)
04. Twisted Sister – Heavy Metal Christmas (The Twelve Days of Christmas) (5:15)
05. Peggy Lee with Jud Conlon’s Rhythmaires – Its Christmas Time Again (3:00)
06. Cast of Sesame Street – I Hate Christmas (1:54)
07. Hall & Oates – No Child Should Ever Cry on Christmas (4:04)
08. U2 – Christmas Baby Please Come Home (2:21)
09. The Rat Pack – The Christmas Song (Sammy Davis, Jr.) (3:23)
10. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (3:45)
11. The Jackson 5 – Up On The Housetop (3:13)
12. Alton Ellis – Christmas Coming (2:23)
13. Louis Armstrong & The Commanders – Zat You Santa Claus (2:40)
14. Frank Sinatra – Mistletoe and Holly (2:20)
15. James Brown – Merry Christmas Baby (3:56)
16. Pink Martini – Do You Hear What I Hear? (3:57)
17. Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby (3:26)
18. Squirrel Nut Zippers – I’m Coming Home For Christmas (3:46)
19. Julia Lee & Her Boy Friends – Christmas Spirit (2:48)
20. Wham – Last Christmas (4:28)
21. Vince Guaraldi Trio – Christmas Time Is Here [Vocal (2:47)
22. Various Artists – Christmas In the Hood (feat. Deacon) (3:54)
23. Cash, Johnny – Christmas As I Knew It [#] (3:02)
24. Aqua Teen Hunger Force – I Sure Hope I Don’t Have to Beat Your Ass
This Christmas (5:08)

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