Smashing Pumpkins – For Martha (1998)

I bought this CD in 1998 because I liked the song “Pug” which I heard on Live 105.3 FM. Late 90s Livermore. This is the first Christmas I’m not spending at my parents’ house, instead in a slum in BedStuy, and this song sounds perfect right now. I’m basically hearing it for the first time, since the only Smashing Pumpkins song I ever recalled owning was “Pug” (I instantly forgot the rest of this record). Funny side note, I seem to recall getting “Pug” confused with “Eye” (off the Lost Highway soundtrack) and being disappointed when I finally got the CD home and listened to it. Merry Christmas.

EDIT: I just read the lyrics and realized this is Billy Corgan writing about his mother’s death. Ouch… definitely the first time I’ve felt legitimately homesick since moving across the country. But I video called my mom this morning and covered “Fields of Athenry” on acoustic while she sang along, so all is well in my universe. Thanks for stopping by. This uncomfortably personal blog post brought to you by Critical-Hit.Org.

Macintosh Plus – Floral Shoppe (2013)

I don’t know much, but I’d tag this record as “vaporwave.” I also don’t believe anyone besides myself reads this blog, but in the unlikely event someone is reading this sentence and wants to know some information that is mostly accurate, there’s a term called “vaporware” that refers to software that was hyped up then never actually released. So “vaporwave” would seem to be the musical expression of that aesthetic, or of the mental image of vaporware — missed deadlines, 90’s corporate computer culture, elevator muzak.

Many of this video’s comments express strong opinions, often analytical verging on intellectual, and a common topic is how music like this somehow represents the death of a great empire (specifically the West and United States of the late-80s/early-90s). If anything, the record reflects uncertainty and interrupted thoughts, which I think anyone dealing with today’s deluge of information could identify with. Musically, I think it’s a logical extension of previous trends: sampling was championed by hip-hop, and avant-garde / consciously ‘artistic’ sound collage has a century of history. Incorporating these obsolete (or otherwise discarded) elements is now pretty easy using commonplace consumer-grade computer technology, so the glistening, inspired novelty presented by then-futuristic synthesizers and drum machines is now an archive of ancient artifacts ripe for remixing.

Overall Floral Shoppe is a pleasant listen. If you liked the song “Feel It All Around” by Washed Out, which everybody did and still does, there’s a lot of overlap between that track and this record. Unrelated shout out to all my peeps suffering from suicidal depression as I have in the past. I’ll relay to you something a good friend told me last year: “You don’t want to kill yourself man. A year from now you’ll be having the time of your life and you’ll be glad you didn’t.” He was correct and was also speaking from personal experience. Much love.

Ballistic Kisses – Five O’Clock World (1982)

This is totally tubular. Thanks Doug Du Fresne. I would thank you on facebook where you posted this, but I’m placing my money on CRITICAL-HIT.ORG becoming the next facebook. It’s actually the best social network. You can read your friend’s dad’s crock pot updates by going to the post where he has claimed it as his “home post” (see official rules and laws of my private kingdom where I am God) and then he will sign the end of every update with his CCSUIDN(#) (Certified Critical-hit-dot-org Subservient User Identification (ID) Number (#socialnetwork). I swear early drum machines and sequencers were all drunk. I don’t know how else you can sequence synth blips and have them sound as endearingly off-time as in this track. Thanks for reading, Chris.