New End Original
"Thriller" CD (Jade Tree)
While I loved both Texas Is The Reason and Chamberlain, I never cared much for Far and Onelinedrawing, while catchy, never struck me as something that would be particularly meaningful to me as I age; I suppose that finding music which will gracefully mature with me and develop new ways to resonate with my experience is the most difficult task of all. While New End Original is enjoyable enough, it's also music which seems entirely unlikely to add new layers of meaning as life becomes more complex. These songs address the turn of the clock in ways which may well seem meaningful to someone in their youth because they draw lines in the sand; whereas more insightful bands leave room for ambiguity, these songs seem to exhibit an all-or-nothing attitude which is common in punk rock. It's also a sign of something which is unlikely to leave a lasting impression of anything other than a catchy pop song, an idea which may offer additional wisdom as the years roll by and a gentle spring turns into a scorching, searing summer. Something that is beginning to seem all too common is a record which serves as little more than a cautionary tale, warning anyone within earshot about the pitfalls hidden on the road ahead. While it's true that those traps exist – that some of these conditions (infidelity, dissatisfaction, quiet desperation in the face of a meaningless, uninspiring job) will derail all but the most steady of lives – some of the states which albums like this caution against aren't really that bad. And as the album winds down with sentiments like "I'm better than this" and "I'm better than nothing and nothing is better than this," suggesting either that the absence of everything is an improvement over life's challenges or that the voice can't imagine something which would be better, it becomes clear that the enlightened resignation leading to happiness that Bertrand Russell speaks of, the transcendence and becoming which Joseph Campbell wrote about are effectively negated and rebuked; that the voice of this song is so unable to accept this reality that it is rejected and never interacted or engaged with ... thus, that reality is never changed. When I was younger, I loved the defiant stance that albums like this presented; now that I'm older, I can look at these ideas and see their flaws. I can identify their shelf life and how long these ideas can be kept before they will begin to spoil. These ideas don't last long, because living requires someone who is strong enough to deal with conflict and overcoming obstacles, not someone willing to turn away because they can't negotiate or find a safe (or sage) passage through.