This is the first time I’ve been alone in the house for a while. We had our baby girl a month and a half ago, and while Kelsey’s gone out a few times since then, it’s always been me and Lucy.
There are plenty of things you can do when you have a newborn baby. I was expecting life to be a lot more restricting. I’m sure that will happen sooner or later, but for now, I still get to watch TV with curse words in it, I still get to play video games where people kill each other, and I still get to listen to music…with one exception. That music cannot be loud.
For me, this is a problem. I love loud music. The constant ringing in my ears can attest to that. But since Lucy has been born, I’ve had to tone it down–literally. Not that I have to, but I need to for her sake. I don’t want her ending up like her old man, with tinnitus by the time she’s 18 and experiencing debilitating hearing loss throughout her adult years.
But today, oh, today I have the ability to turn my 100 watt MCS stereo up to 11 and enjoy some tunes the way they were meant to be enjoyed.
My first choice was a recent re-release of Operation Ivy’s first EP. But as I walked over for a second selection, I chose the Arctic Monkeys’ first album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s what I’m Not. I slipped the black disc out of its sleeve, gingerly rested it on the mat, and hit play. As I walked back into my office, the needle touched down onto the vinyl with a pop, and the magic began.
I haven’t listened to this album in a long time, who knows how long, but a long time. Bits and pieces here and there, sure, but not the whole thing all the way through, the way it was meant to be (yes, loud).
Instead I’ve been listening to their new album Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino a lot more than their earlier stuff. It’s really jived with me since it came out in 2018 (holy shit I’m old) and it’s only grown on me more the older it’s gotten. It’s not like their first album–far from it. It’s quiet. It’s subdued. When it first came out I recall saying that Matt Helders was still ‘…trying to sound like a drum machine.’ It’s not punk. It’s not loud. It’s just…beautiful
While I sit here listening to WPSIATWIN, I’ve noticed quite a few things that I hadn’t before. Vocal changes, tonal changes…and as I think about where the changes from 2005 to 2018 came from, I think it can be attributed to one thing: age.
They’re not kids anymore. Kids want to play fast. Kids want to play loud. Kids want to be punks and fuck shit up and run away from the riot van. Over the last 15 (holy shit I’M OLD) years, they’ve grown up, matured, and realized that all this **waves arms wildly around in the air** isn’t necessary anymore.
Miles Davis once said ‘It’s not the notes that you play. It’s the ones you don’t.’
I’ve thought about that a lot over the years, but it’s a difficult concept to understand. It’s even more difficult to practice when you’re playing music.
Over the last decade and a half, the Arctic Monkeys have grown up and have started realizing that it’s the notes they don’t play that really count. Being quiet comes with age. Accepting the silence comes with age. Realizing that it doesn’t all have to be loud comes with age.
Maybe I don’t have to be loud anymore. Maybe I shouldn’t be loud, for Lucy’s sake.
Maybe I’m old. Or…maybe I’m just grown up and realize that all this **waves arms wildly around in the air** isn’t necessary anymore.