Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Ramblings of Someone Who Has An Exam Worth One-Fourth of Her Final Grade Tomorrow: Or, My Longest Post Ever

Several months ago – over Summer Ought Nine, I believe – I posted my 25 most played songs from iTunes on this lovely little blog. (Side note: I hate the word blog. It sounds like sickness.) I quickly stopped, because it was boring. But a little while ago – last night, I believe – I toyed with the idea of doing it again. I recreated my 25 Most Played list on iTunes. (Another side note. Over last summer it took me forever to figure out how to make a 25 Most Played playlist after deleting my old one years before. You just create a smart playlist, set size as greater than or equal to 0, and limit it to 25, based on how often they are played. Sorry if that’s patronizing. I don’t mean it to be.) Little did I realize that my Most Played playlist would be skewed in a particular direction. You see, Romance is Boring the newest album by Los Campesinos! came out on February 1 in this lovely country. I had preordered it on Amazon several months ago, and got it on the 29th of January. By now, every one of those songs is on my 25 Most Played playlist.

I actually really enjoy the album. On first listen, I didn’t expect to like it very much. I became a fan shortly after they released their debut album, Hold On Now, Youngster…. During this time period, Los Campesinos! were mostly sunshine and dancing and teenage angst and awkwardness. And I loved it. I was really into twee pop back in the day, and – while not exactly twee – LC! had influences that I rather enjoyed. But time went on and I started liking heavier music. (Not that I’m into heavy metal or anything that close to it. I tend to like more ambient/experimental music. It’s not hard to like heavier things than twee pop, as twee’s basically as light as you could possibly get. I still listen to it sometimes. Excellent for studying. And just to clarify – I still listen to early LC! music all the time.) Los Campesinos! sucked me back in with the release of We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed in October of last year. It still had much of the great Campesinos! sound that I know and love, but the lyrics got heavier, the music more experimental, and so on.

In October 2009, Los Campesinos! announced that their next album would be called Romance Is Boring, and I was totally psyched, man, and I preordered it as soon as was possible. But then I read reviews about it. “Leave your preconceived notions of Los Campesinos! at the door,” they told me. But, but, but I like my preconceived notions! My heart sank a little. My preconceived notions are pretty awesome.

Nonetheless, when I got an email saying my order from Amazon had shipped, I got excited and announced it on Facebook, via status update. (“Alison just found out that ‘Romance is Boring’ shipped! And there was much rejoicing!” or something to that effect.) Some guy who I’m friends with on Facebook, but who I don’t really know well commented on it, all indignant-like, asking why I think romance is boring. Dude, it’s an album. Calm down.

Last Friday, the album arrived at my school post office. I was concerned about getting it on time – or even at all. Our school was recovering from a ridiculously massive snowstorm that coincided with the arrival many people’s textbooks and packages from home at school. The post office was swamped with packages for the longest time. They lost one of my packages, incidentally. Which is really annoying, because it’s a rental from, so if they can’t find it I have to pay for a new textbook. (Would my school reimburse me?) Luckily, I accidentally bought the same book (“Social Work in the 21st Century”) on Amazon, so I still have a copy. (Yes, accidentally bought. I’m none too bright sometimes.) Also, while I’m off topic, the roof of Bookmans (one of a chain of used bookstores/”entertainment exchanges” in Arizona, for those of you who aren’t in the know) collapsed. It is 95% tragic and 5% irritating. (Irritating because who builds a flat roof in a place where there’s a lot of snow? Really.) No one was hurt, but all those books are now damaged, and now I can’t buy paperbacks for $4 or unusual/vintage board/card games or watch the slightly-hippie staff go about their business or see people give coffee to their dogs or read in an incredibly comfortable chair next to stacks of old maps or anything. When I have a stressful day, I used to go there to relax. Now I hang out at Barnes and Noble. It’s still nice, but it’s no Bookmans. I’m trying to cut back on my emoticon use (I use them too much, so they’re losing their meaning) but this deserves a sad face. :(

Where was I? Oh yes, the album coming in the mail. Not only did it not get lost, but I got it a few days early. That was pretty cool. (I also got a package from home with stuff that I couldn’t bring on the airplane/fit in my carryon after leaving my Seattle family in December, to spend 10 days with my San Diego family in January. I also got my a present from my brother and some other goodies, including this fantastic no-bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies that my brother is fond of/good at making. It was like Christmas! Love you, Matt.) I wasn’t home for most of Saturday, but I listened to it Friday evening and all day Sunday. At first, I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to get rid of my awesome preconceived notions. But then I did. They’re still obviously Los Campesinos!. They still sound like themselves. But they’re more grown-up. More confident. More post-rock. More enjoyable. Well done.

My favorite song right now from the album is “ I Warned You: Don’t Make an Enemy of Me.” If you had asked me two days ago, my favorite song would be “Plan A.” I am sort of feeling that two days from now it might very well be “This Is A Flag. There Is No Wind.”

Los Campesinos! is touring North America in the late spring. They don’t have many dates quite yet, but I hope they add more in Southern California. They last came to good old southern California in late August, playing in LA the day I drove back to school and playing in good old San Diego the week after school started. Right now, the only Southern California date on the calendar is in Los Angeles on the day some of my friends and my roommate are graduating from college. Can’t exactly miss that. I actually emailed SOMA San Diego, asking them to ask Los Campesinos! to play there. I’m not sure it actually works that way, though.

By the way, I know that approximately half of the people who read my blog are my parents. You two wouldn’t like this album. Dad would complain that it’s “too jangly” and Mom would be upset with the swearing.

I have my first exam of the semester tomorrow, and I’m not going to do well on it. I’m not so much a science-y person, and it’s for developmental psychology. The first exam in every psychology class I’ve taken is ridiculously sciencey. Why oh why am I minoring in psychology? I love sociology. I could talk about conflict theory, Weber's interpretetive sociology, symbolic interactionism/dramaturgical perspective, and so on for hours and hours. (Dramaturgy’s my favorite. Goffman was such a cool guy. He’s Canadian and my uncle’s Canadian, so we’re practically related! I’d marry him, except that he’s dead. The whole “practically related” thing has never been of concern in my family, when people are considering marriage. I’m talking to you, my third-cousin grandparents. Looking at you, Mom’s married first-cousins.) And social work, my other major, is crazy cool. But please don’t ask my to know the difference between cephalocaudal and proximodistal development, or my head will explode.

I am at work now. When I get off work, I’m going to an SI session for my aforementioned developmental psychology class. After that, I will (assuming I remember) add youtube videos and pictures to make this whole thing less of a giant, boring block of text.

Got soul! Got vision! Got mind to leave here.


  1. Your mother is the one who does not like Jangly.

  2. Nope. You still wouldn't like it, please. When one's parents thinks something is "cool," it drastically loses coolness for that person.