In case you haven't noticed, I haven't put much work into the blog. Real world obligations and a sci-fi writing project have kind of taken up all of my time, and its just been easier to throw off a couple Tweets about say, the artistic masterpiece that is Streets of Fire instead of spending an entire evening writing about it. I don't want to write something longer form without having a topic worth discussing.
Today I do. In the process of writing my mech opera first draft, I've been listening almost exclusively to music from 1979-1987. This is for story reasons, but it generated an interesting side effect: for the last seven months, my mood has been dramatically better and more optimistic. It was quite by accident, but curating my playlist to a mix of New Wave, Classic Rock, Golden Age Power Metal, Prog Rock, Soul, Funk, Country, Pop, and even Disco (there's quite a lot to say about Disco's awkward pulpy tendencies, but that's for another time), got me thinking about an old post over on Jon Del Arroz's blog about how Music is Mindset. Its absolutely correct.
The self-torpedoing of the music industry in the 90s isn't the point of this post, but look at most of the big, highly promoted rock musicians of the 90s: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, R.E.M., Beck, Alanis Morrisette, Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, Korn. They don't sing about cool stuff. They don't sing about wizards and space ships and successful courtship. They sing about the banality of existence and the meaninglessness of trying. Relationships are doomed to failure, and its either the fault of internalized self-loathing, or externalized blame shifting. Its a downer. Its demoralizing. If you listen to it all the time, how do you think its going to affect your mood?
Beneath the outrageously morbid album art of Iron Maiden beats a soul of high adventure. There's nothing of that in the bands I've listed above.
This isn't to say that there weren't great, optimistic bands in the 90s. There absolutely were, but they got relegated to the B-list. I was the weird kid who absolutely hated Nirvana as a kid, but listened to Blues Traveler constantly. Guess who was pushed harder by the recording industry?
The point of this isn't to point out that Duran Duran is a much better band than Radiohead. I mean, they are but the real point is that headspace affects everything about how you approach the world. Its not a 1:1 comparison, but if you listen to All-American Rejects sing about striking out with girls all the time and being a loser nerd, that's going to affect how you interact with people, even if its just remembering a snippet of lyrics at a particular moment. Why would you want to sabotage yourself like that? Who else would want you to sabotage yourself? Why bother with listening to dudes with more money than you sing about failure when you could fill your dreams with Van Halen's swaggering bravado?
I'm not saying don't listen to anything made after 1990. What I am saying is that if your entertainment doesn't reflect your values, your values will end up reflecting your entertainment.