Simon was kind enough* to link to one my recent posts, and asked some great questions about, ultimately, whether it is or isn't important for current music to be vital. After all, the best stuff still does what it needs to do. Before I compose my answer I want to say:
1. Amusingly enough, Sonic Youth is the band I came up with recently as the one whose shirts deserve the "I Hate" scrawled upon them.
2. Adam F's "Circles" is one of my personal favorites for recapturing certain feelings, with the full version of "Timeless" its only equal within drum and bass for me.
As much as I am spending numerous words to express what Simon put in parentheses, I will still state:
Growing up as an only child immersed in music, literature and art, what happened to me is that I tended to really romanticize the connection between myself and the people behind these works, and the communities that birthed them. It wasn't simply a matter of the works being good, being interesting, challenging, pleasing, etc., but also that there were places and people that corresponded. That there were even lives that could be lived differently. The music spoke of community. The records themselves were portals into possibilities not only abstract, ie the music itself and its "world", but also real possibilities of belonging, participating, being.
This is what is missing from music to me. This is what I want. Because the seeming lack of ideas on an aesthetic level corresponds to a lack of ideas socially as well. They are certainly interrelated. Culture is the way in which we can imagine unexplored possibilities, and it is certainly the most democratic way. When culture fails to imagine the future, it is left to others to do so. And I will take Adam F's vision of a beautiful future well before Apple's.
But what if Adam F's future never arrives?
[Cue Burial "Unite ]
I, myself, have, even at this age, not figured out where I belong. The lack of a vital culture, also means, for me, a lack of a place to go, and a community to belong to. I feel, ultimately, stuck between two extremes: on the one hand, the tedious bourgeois life afforded to me by my race and class, one which requires even more and more commitment nowadays (MA instead of BA, 55+ hours instead of 40) and the no-longer subversive or consequential life of the "bohemian".
To put it over-generally: Which would you rather be? An animal or the person who collects their shit and feeds it back to them?
*I do keep expecting someone to call me out on wallowing in my own grief, and being too self-indulgent in some of these posts. I cringe every time I use the first-person. Maybe because I grew up reading mostly in the 19th century. Is it too late to add the word "on" at the beginning of every title of every work I have written thus far? ;-)