Thursday, June 02, 2005

What's awesome on my ipod this week

This week on my ipod I'm featuring:
I wrote Holden Caufield - by Screeching Weasel
and to accompany it I strongly recommend the following book:
The Catcher in the Rye - by J. D. Salinger.
Screeching Weasel are a punk band from Chicago. I wrote Holden Caufield was the last song of the album "How to make enemies and irritate people". In my opinion it is their best album, though I haven't heard anything of theirs post-1997. "How to make enemies and irritate people" was an interesting album, the style of punk is very poppy, a lot of beach boysish sounds and lots of feel good not-so-serious music. Most of the songs are short and snappy with some amusing subjects. One of my favourites is "99", an ode to the girlfriend of the 70s spy-spoof character Maxwell Smart.
In the last three songs of the album the mood changes dramatically. The music style is still pop-punk with a surf edge, but the subject matter gets a lot darker. "Kathy isn't right", "Kathy's on the Roof", and "I wrote Holden Caufield" seem to be an exploration of the effects of depression and mental illness.
The final song, "I wrote Holden Caufield", gets it's title from the main character of J. D. Salinger's famous novel "The Catcher in the Rye". The opening line of the song is pretty powerful:

I loved you for the minute that you decided to tell me the truth, I heard you,
and that night I cried for you.

If you would like to know more about Screaching Weasel you might want to check out Ben Weasel's blog.
The reason I chose to feature this album is that I just finished reading "The Catcher in the Rye". The book is a story told in the first person about a few days of a 16 year old boy's life. The boy, Holden Caufield, is struggling to come to terms with the death of one of his brothers several years earlier. He finds it hard to get emotionally attached to anything and lies continuously to avoid getting too close to anyone.
It's a funny thing reading emotionally powerful books like this. I always find myself getting drawn into the book. I get pretty obsesive about it. I find that for the period over which I read the book it kinda becomes my life and the mood of the book dominates my thought processes. It's one of the reasons that I don't read as much as I probably should. I get into a book, and then I can't put it down for a couple of days and then it's over again.
I'm a madman sometimes. I really am.