Nearly a year ago, I blogged about my all-time favorite albums and TV shows – and while Six Feet Under and Siamese Dream are still what I would call ‘timeless classics’, I do have a few current faves to add to the list.
Shane hooked me on HBO’s The Wire a few months ago. I resisted for a long time, not really into the violence-ridden scenes from the streets of Baltimore, but somewhere along the way, I stopped tolerating this show and started loving it. It’s not just about hustlin’ drugs on the streets of West Baltimore – it’s about the flawed systems of politics and education and media and how the suit-wearing mayor leaning back in his plush leather chair is not as far removed as you might think from the young kid selling cocaine on a shady corner on the other side of town. Shane recently read an interview with David Simon, the show’s writer/producer, who stated, “American entertainment does nothing but sell redemption and easy victories 24-7”. And The Wire certainly is not about warm fuzzies and feel-good endings. It’s tough to watch. But soooo worth it.
That said, I actually love a show full of redemption and easy victories, so I’ve been balancing my Wire-watching with new episodes of Parenthood. Shane will roll his eyes when he reads this, since he doesn’t seem to feel the slightest connection to any of the show’s flawed-but-lovable characters, but I’ve come to look forward to this family drama each week. It feels real to me – like I’m truly getting a glimpse into the struggles and joys associated with raising young kids and teen-agers and middle-aged sons and daughters with families of their own. True, too many of the episodes wrap up with a family-wide group-hug resolution reminiscent of Full House, but whatever – I’m a sucker for a tender moment, so I’ll keep watching (and admittedly even shed a tear or two).
Music-wise, my playlist has taken a turn lately. I still love Ryan Adams and Coldplay and Bon Iver, but I’ve also come to appreciate a song I can move to. What started only as my ‘workout playlist’ (have you tried running on a treadmill to Damien Rice? doesn’t work.) has made its way into regular rotation when I’m in the car or at my desk. Yes – I’m on a hip-hop/R&B kick lately, getting in touch with the inner groove I never knew I had. Favorite albums are Free Wired by Far East Movement, and Rokstarr by Taio Cruz. Don’t judge me. I also happen to think Lady Gaga is pretty fabulous. Seriously, don’t judge me.
When I’m not in the mood for something that’s going to bring on that annoying lip-syncing, head-bopping thing, I keep coming back to Sufjan Stevens. Seven Swans is decidedly my favorite album of his – it’s not going to motivate you to shave 5 seconds off your mile run, but it will dig deep, and tug at your soul. Perfect mellow-out tunage – if I ever actually make a habit of turning off the TV/computer/iPhone, lighting some candles, and just sitting back to genuinely chill (why is this so hard for me?), it will be with this playing in the background.
Since we just said a sad good-bye to the final episode of the Wire, and since “Like A G6” is bound to lose its catchiness sooner or later, I’m on the lookout for shows and albums to fill these shoes. Recommendations?