Like many of my blogosphere friends, I intended on doing an ‘end-of-year-bests’ list. Unfortunately, (not unlike so many other aspirations of late not immediately pertinent to my health and/or professional obligations) this did not happen! On that note, I’d like to briefly leave you with my Five Piece Survival Kit, or,
How I Got Through 2011.
5. Basketball-This may seem a slightly out-of-place addition to this list in a music psychology blog, but I can’t count the times that the excitement of the insane upsets during March Madness, or simply playing at a local street court with friends just “got me through.” My friend’s own interpretation of The NBA’s 2011 Dunk Contest also led to arguably the most hilarity I experienced all year.
4. Dredg-Going to see Dredg live was the humble highlight of an otherwise very difficult summer. It signified a major turning point for me, and it was completely embodied in seeing them play in Hollywood. I have listened to the following song more than any other single song this year, very possibly exceeding 300 times. I suspect themes of loss and death, and facing new possibilities maybe for the first time has played a role in this.
3. The Millenium Trilogy-I can’t say enough about this story. I first marathoned the Swedish films around the end of the summer, and repeated the marathon 3 or 4 times after. Lisbeth’s character development has been a bit of an obsession for some time, and I have yet to tire of trying to work it out. I’ve also been looking forward to the American interpretation of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo for quite some time, and was able to catch it last night. Although I didn’t enjoy the way in which it conformed to Americanized emotion culture in the end, it was Craig at his best, and very well played. Also, Karen O singing to Trent Reznor’s arrangement of Led Zepplin? Yes, please.
2. The Roots How I Got Over- This album came out in 2010, but I really got in to it early this year, and just never let go. Somehow these guys create rhymes that resonate, and I can’t let it go. Noteworthy track-The Fire. Lyrically, dynamically, poetically perfect. Also the first instance in my life that I have enjoyed the use of John Legend.
1. Catherine Malabou’s What Should We Do With Our Brain? – Early this summer, a friend was reading this. During the course of going back and forth from Seattle to LA (3 times over the course of a month and a half) I borrowed this book. For whatever reason, however, I never made it past the introduction until my travels had ceased in the beginning of August. I picked it up very randomly one day in the aftermath of loss and shock, and I haven’t put it down since. It has radically altered the course of my life. Months later, I’ve had the privilege of briefly speaking with Catherine, and remain very encouraged. When in the work she asks “What must we be conscious of (and not merely acquainted with) concerning brain plasticity? What is the nature of its meaning…” She replies as follows:
We will respond, without playing on words, by saying that the consciousness we want to raise on the subject of plasticity has to do with its power to naturalize consciousness and meaning (9).
Happy New Year’s, Everybody.