My shirt ripped at the seams all day; I could hear it tear at the office every time I moved or sat down or visited the large goldfish and their gaping maws at the fish tank at the front of the receptionist’s desk, contorted at the corners of the glass. I unbuttoned every button with a near-carnal relish as I turned on the highway, soared through the merge with my binder luridly out and I cranked the stereo. These are the moments I look toward.
I thought about playing my tired list of saved songs on the ride home but I saw Andrew Jackson Jihad’s new album and risked spontaneity. I never wanted to listen to them again after their name change, I never wanted to hear Sean Bonnette’s voice after Orlando, anything and everything made me sick to my gut just to think about; not just the hollow sentiment but everything in between it, from the crashing violence to the meaninglessness of it all.
I don’t know how to feel about a compilation of songs that didn’t make me feel anything. I don’t know how to lend definition to music that had given me breadth and love, a whisper in my ear that told me the things that sucked would be okay, and the things that were okay might get a little better. This album stagnates with the piss and vigor of a dead blog; with the lack of passion and stilted verbiage that recants the boredom of high school. Fuck those constant celebrity references, fuck those cutesy choruses; you’re in the mass now and you’re drinking the wine. Even when I was doing 85 on the highway, I felt nothing. Even when I was cursing at the slow-ass Forester in front of me, it ceased to invigorate, impassion, break, permit, do.
None of the lyrics warrant even a Facebook status; so it’s hardly a seminal Christmas album like my klonopin bender of 2015, crying down the highway to Christmas Island knowing that deep in my heart, I could access my childhood through those lyrics. This, it’s barely a paper cut on the surface of my memories.
When you deny your name, you lose something precious. Somewhere buried deep inside all of the Girls references and twitchy strummed E-minor chords and scratching aged transition to Satan, it’s in there, but it’s not coming out again. It’s Weezer, it’s Mick Jagger’s sagging skin to a sold out football field of nostalgia. It’s the latest fucking U2 album. Punk isn’t dead, but its people are aging. They’re slowing down, their gait is no longer graceful.
It’s gone, whatever beauty gave them power in the core of my soul. And when the album ended abruptly I thought my phone had shut off or my speaker had died, and I glanced down and realized that I just didn’t care. It was over. Ninety minutes later, I don’t even remember what they played.