These are two things I have been working on this month and BOTH are surprisingly foreign to me.
The band spent all of the Winter months writing, rehearsing, performing and recording the Strength EP, which is due out May 2012. The songs are hard, aggressive, thick, dynamic and lyrically pretty clearly about strength – my interpretation of strength – there were some ups+downs writing the material but no un-scalable brick walls.
It’s disorienting. Most of the material I have written is heavy and generally deals with issues we don’t wish to speak about (living beyond trauma, anger, depression, etc…). But Beauty – well that’s something we seemingly engage with every day, and can’t stop talking about, particularly in a time of heavy media saturation – billboards, tv ads, magazine pull outs, facebook, etc…
The facebook element really intrigues me – in past we would look to magazines and other external media to draw comparisons and build our sense of Beauty worthiness and attractiveness – I feel that now we do this more so by stalking our friend’s pages and the pages of totally random seemingly happy + seemingly beautiful strangers. We are very willing to take on the role of the advertiser by posting what we believe to be beautiful photos of ourselves to broadcast a particular notion we’d like to persuade an audience to believe. Simultaneously, we play role of an audience who is willing to accept the potential deception of the seemingly wonderful scenarios portrayed in the photographs/posts of others. We should recognize that with any medium there will be an inherent bias in the message – facebook photos are self-selected for us to look our best and to meet some standard (a standard that is quantified by the number of Likes). It’s an instantaneous model for the pursuit of crowd-sourcing a standard of our own Beauty.
But we all know that Beauty is far more than aesthetic. Many times when I think of Beauty I immediately think of love, or truth or justice or good or some other highly conceptual positive element. But I’m not entirely comfortable with that – again that’s too self-selecting, and things like being good or engaging with truth can be painful and difficult actions, but entirely necessary – can’t a painful truth be Beauty?
I’m trying to work from neither the aesthetic nor the emotional elements of Beauty. The definition that has really made the largest impact has been the phrase “being in one’s hour.” It’s the only one that’s really rung true in my mind as a place to start writing new material. It I have LITTLE IDEA what this EP is going to sound like in the end….it’s a grand experiment this Beauty.
And as for Taxes.….well you see I was supposed to be doing that this afternoon – but decided to write to you instead…..if ever you feel really down and out about your Beauty (whatever that means to you), know that you are always and forever more beautiful than taxes will ever be.