Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories is so indebted to the past that you don’t even have to listen to the album to listen to the album. It’s fun to play music taxonomy with bands, but so rarely has a record come along and culled from everything from ’80s yacht rock to musical theatre…
I find it hard to listen to the Exploding Hearts without hearing some haunting melody from the past. It’s a fleeting, ghostly hum that must have crystallized during the Portland power-pop band’s final moments. At least that’s how I imagine it. I imagine the sound of eternal youth and wasted promise embodied by the Hearts’ lovelorn songs from a decade ago suddenly spilled across an innocuous stretch of Oregon’s Interstate 5 on a Sunday morning. Or perhaps what I’m hearing is just an echo from the long, sickening silence that trembles in oblivion’s wake.
To celebrate one of the best songs ever made and the album and man who gave it to us, I asked several people to write a piece in the form of a thank you letter, thanking R. Kelly for creating “Ignition (Remix).” Each piece tells a different story but they all serve the same purpose. To remind people of why “Ignition (Remix)” is regarded as a classic, and how a song about fogging up windows and popping Cristal, continues to bring people together.
In the summer of 2002, Ryan Schreiber of Pitchfork published his now famous (or famously flawed) review of Andrew W.K.’s I Get Wet. He gave the album a laughable 0.6, and wrote, “This here is about as empty as rock music gets.” Finally, the ultimate voice in taste and opinion on modern music had echoed my thoughts, and validated my opinion. My favorite part of the review was his closing paragraph…
Taking his generation back to the Revolution, one fight song at a time.
My live-in boyfriend stood a few yards away from me, staring down at our apartment’s hardwood floor as though he would find the words he was struggling to string together there, carved in the boards in between his feet. When he looked back up, it was with an expression that had become painfully familiar in the last few months—equal parts anger, disappointment, and bewilderment, as though he had woken up in a strange bed one day with no knowledge of how he’d gotten there. It hurt just to look at him.
It’s one of my favorite interstitial rap soliloquies ever. Juicy J has this monologue on The Weeknd’s “Same Old Song” where he says, “We make music that makes ladies’ panties get wet!” J has a point: He sums up what The Weeknd does for me, might do for other critics, and definitely does for throngs of fans that sold out his first-ever shows in Toronto and his recent US tour. He makes people feel sexy. Be it his choir-boy tenor voice, Drake’s endorsement, or simply the allure of his shrouded existence, there’s no question that Abel Tesfaye’s luscious soundscapes can be filed alongside historical R&B names like D’Angelo, R. Kelly, and Usher that have been making ladies’ panties get wet for decades.
As you do when you break free from the tethers of email, I left an auto-away message on my Gmail that read, “I am in Belgium of all places”. When I arrived in Belgium, I met with Tom Pieters who was organizing my stay through Tourism Flanders. “I noticed your auto-reply message. Why did you say ‘of all places’?” It was hard to convey to him what was both a little joke and my thoughts on Belgium pre-visit.
When I saw the Bob Boilen-penned headline “I Just Deleted All My Music” on NPR, my first instinct was to cheer the All Songs Considered host for abandoning his digital files. As one of the last generations that will remember what life was like before the internet, I’ve felt nostalgic not for a different kind of listening experience, but one of more meaning, sustain, and worth. Scrolling through the five or ten albums I get emailed daily has left me wanting more appreciation in myself for what I’m listening to hearing.
At my first Bonnaroo, I kept wondering who this “Molly” character was. I felt bad for these stray souls crying out, “Have you seen Molly? I’m looking for Molly!” My Roo-Crew and I took to belting out other female names in a half-baked attempt to poke fun at these misplaced festies. “Stacy?” “I’m looking for Bethany!” “Rebecca, where are you?” Eventually, the lingo was explained to me by my more savvy crew, who informed me that we were actually mocking these people’s constant quest for pure MDMA, the ecstasy base also known as Molly.