Saturday, January 11, 2014

Introduction to AORchaeology

In that gap of lost time between the Purdue and San Diego sagas, while I was looking for work, I applied to jobs for 4-6 hours a day, every day, until I ran out of want ads. While I waited for more ads to be posted, I passed the time, in part, by working out a lot. Most of these workouts were at Edinboro University’s student’s center. Since the ‘Boro is my alma mater, I could train at their gym for free, because I knew how to sneak in.
I would usually park in front of a laundromat several blocks away, because although the sign said that parking was for customers only -- under pain of towing -- this has never happened in the history of ever. I grew up in that town, so I knew.
Joe would work out with me; he could get into the gym because he was a professor now. As the new guy in the education department, he was tasked with the responsibility of driving all over creation to evaluate the student teachers in the field. Needless to say, this put a lot of strain on his Monte Carlo, which kind of had a rough life to begin with, being Joe’s car and all. The Monte gave up the ghost early onto this job, so Joe bought himself a new car. Joe would offer me rides back to my car after our work out, because by that time, the air would be thick with rain, snow, sleet, hail, or goose shit -- because it was Edinboro, PA.
            Among the amenities of Joe’s new car, was a satellite radio.
            “It has stations for everything! They even have an all 80’s station,” because he knew I’d enjoy that, because of my irrational affinity for the music of that era. “I’d been listening to it a lot lately… only to discover that the only good songs were already on my compilation albums.” He then switched to the stand-up comedy station, because everyone needs more stand-up in their lives. Joe’s words though, stuck with me.
            Joe, in his own way, stumbled upon Sturgeon’s Law, which itself, is one manifestation of the 80/20 rule which rules business, manufacturing, art, and physics. I didn’t do any rigorous analysis of this, but I’m reasonably sure that songs exhibit a Gaussian distribution of awesomeness, because everything else seems to.
            My problem isn’t that most of the music from that era was written off as trash; after all, much of it was. My problem is that the 1980’s went from being a time period, to a genre. There were several different distinct sounds and movements in art during that era, but that has been discarded for one universal, convenient label. Among other things, the late 60’s/early 70’s was home to a movement in music called “bubblegum.” Would it be different to say that the 60’s and 70’s only produced bubblegum pop, and just discard what couldn’t fit into that pigeonhole?
            Comorbid with this, is that whoever makes the tracklists for the “Greatest Hits” albums always seem to leave out at least one hit. I know that this is intentional, because the record labels knew that if I could get away with buying fewer albums, I would have, because I never had much pocket money. I still don’t, actually -- and that’s kind of dicked up considering all I do now.
            Between all of the binning and cherrypicking, amazing things are bound to fall through the cracks. Back when buying magnetic films or polycarbonate discs still made sense, I wound up loving up the “fillers” (or when I was younger, “B-sides”), and not the “hit singles” that I originally bought the album for.
One of my biggest problems with the human condition is that we focus on the wrong things; we discard wheat and eat chaff. B-sides never take you, they grow on you. The best of man’s creations are initially denounced or discarded. The old cliché about finding a the diamond in the rough is complicated by the fact that diamonds are themselves rough; that’s why diamonds must be cut and polished.
            So, in that magic hour between walking home from the bar and going to bed, I search for more of what I’ve forgotten or missed.  I’ve given this pop-cultural dumpster-diving the title “AORchaeology,” because while I can appreciate other forms of music, I keep returning to AOR, because I am uncouth beastman and unrefined tastes.
The viewpoints listed in this post are not opinions; they are all demonstrably true, because of Winter Rose. See, before James LaBrie joined Dream Theater, he was the front man for Winter Rose, which can only be described as “the hairiest hair metal band in all of hair metal land.” They produced a self-titled album in 1989, and went their separate ways shortly thereafter. Since they never really got off the ground, no one heard of them, and they fell into obscurity. Their album quickly went out of print, and the existent copies grew more and more difficult to track down.
However, since I live in the future, I can play any songs and video on demand -- and really, what better invention could there be, than one that gives you a second chance to love

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