the original soundtrack

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12/29/2004: "2004 re-rewind, part one."

My story of 2005 (to hell with 2004!) begins a week or two ago. My friend and I were speeding through the Midwest on some highway or other. It was cold out, but it was really, really sunny, and the sky was a piercing, blazing blue. The roads were so flat, and the landscape was pretty much empty--no tall buildings--so all you see is nothin' but blue skies and endless road. There weren't many cars in front of us, so if you drive at a certain speed you literally feel like you're barrelling into the horizon. We were blasting Rancid's Let's Go--still an album that means more to me than London Calling ever did; they should bottle it and sell it as an antidepressant. (Also, Let's Go sounds way, way better blasting out of a car than anything any by those deified UK punk bands does. Maybe it has something to do with compression, or some wacky production tricks or something, but American pop-punk always sounds better on car speakers. You can't really road-trip or zoom down the endless highway in the UK the same way you can here, anyhow, so maybe that has something to do with it. Dave Q wrote something once in this hilarious review of some punk box set in the Seattle Weekly, I think, that relates to this tangentially--I'll dig it up.) Anyhow, we were talking about music. I was trying to defend Blink 182's honor, on the grounds that they have a bunch of catchy singles and I think one of them is cute (I forget which one.)

"Dude, Blink 182 are fuckin' posers, man. They aren't real punks," she says. "Green Day, they're the real punks. The originals."

"I agree," I said, smiling and thinking I'd be perfectly happy starting over with a history of punk that started in California in maybe 1988. "Harry Bridges" started playing and I rolled down the car window and let the frigid but wonderful breeze rip through my hair. Music, well, shit, it's all about what it means to you, at whatever moment you want it to.

Jess wrote in his ever-expanding 2004 year-end wrap-up that everything in his life seemed to be "unhinged, uprooted, unpredictable, and unsafe in the year 2004." That's pretty much how I felt--and after reading the blogs of a lot of my friends, I get the sense that 2004 was rough, if not completely fucking horrible; it's a year we all want to forget for various reasons, personal or political. But I've found I'm happiest when I'm in a state of transition--zooming from point A to point B in a car, jumping on a plane to the next location, running, working on the next story or planning the next weird adventure. The trick is make the most of the "unhinged, uprooted, unpredictable," to view it as something that makes you free. And if that sounds horribly new agey, it's because, well, sometimes that new agey shit is for real. So I'll skip the painful parts and focus on the good stuff. 2004 was the year that I started writing about music in earnest; 2004 was also the year that I traveled to many great places, not least among them Berlin, Cologne, and London.

So--keep ya head up! All we can do at this point, at any rate.

Next 15 dance music events of the year!

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