Tag Archives: Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr

One-Line Enlightenment

Are you in the market for some fact-acting self-knowledge and/or spiritual fulfillment? Might I suggest one line each from these three newish songs?

JR JR — “Same Dark Places”

One-Line Enlightenment: “I know everybody goes to the same dark places”

It’s easy to feel alone and isolated when you’re suffering in some way, but there’s a really good chance that people — maybe even people you know — have gone through or are currently going through something similar. “Same Dark Places,” which was accompanied by a touching message about the song’s origins, does a wonderful job of shining a bright, compassionate light on those shadowy emotional spaces.

Future Islands — “Through The Roses”

One-Line Enlightenment: “It’s not easy just being human”

Speaking of compassion, when you approach interpersonal communication with a basic level of empathy — “This person I’m talking to has the same basic wants and needs as me and could be dealing with difficulties that aren’t immediately apparent, etc.” — it’s amazing how much easier it is to defuse charged situations and find positive outcomes. This line from the new Future Islands album reminds me of this in such a simple and powerful way. The video above ain’t great, but the message comes through loud and clear.

Eric Slick — “You Are Not Your Mind”

One-Line Enlightenment: “You are not your mind”

I often fall into the trap of assuming there’s a way to think my way out of every situation. I also tend to prioritize my inner experience when I’m feeling less than good about what’s going on on the outside, whether that’s the clothes I’m wearing or my inability to force myself to exhibit extroversion when it counts. And while the mind can certainly act as a refuge, I love the idea that there’s some other self that’s even more basic — something that’s not so readily accessible or easily tinkered with. I’ve read that meditation was a big part of the inspiration behind Eric Slick’s new Palisades album, so I’m sure he has a more precise idea of what this lyric is getting at, but just hearing it gives me this tremendous sense of relief, like walking away from an elaborate array of spinning plates.

To bring things full circle, here’s a video of Eric Slick speaking very articulately about the need for open discussion of mental health.

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CD Monday

JR JR

Congrats to JR JR on the new name! I loved the NASCAR reference, and I’d be lying if I said their old name wasn’t part of why I started listening to them, but it’s definitely not why I’ve kept listening to them. The Speed of Things was an excellent follow up to an excellent debut, and I know that spinning the copy I picked up at BK Music a while back is going to make my week markedly better.

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Top 1 Song of 2014

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr

I’ve never done a top-10 songs post, and I doubt I ever will. Too much like herding cats. I can’t imagine doing it without breaking down at the very last minute when I remember a song I left out and my carefully constructed scaffold of reasoning collapses under its own weight and shoddy construction.

Also it would take forever. No thx.

HOWEVER, I decided to do a Best 1 Song of the Year post this year, because there’s a song that made me want to do it. In fact, I knew somewhere around the second or third time I heard Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr’s “James Dean” that I’d be writing this. Around that time, I decided it was one of the best songs I’d heard in the last few years. 5, 10, who knows. I tend not to think in those terms — again, too many songs to wrangle — but something about “James Dean” made me.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr

Two people told me — in totally separate conversations — that yesterday felt like Thursday to them. The weird thing is that I felt the exact same way, and I felt it before either of those conversations happened.

My displacement probably has something to do with there being a highly anticipated college basketball game tonight, during which I’ll be ending a self-imposed and sickness-related alcohol prohibition. I’d guess that yesterday felt like Thursday to folks in Richmond because we’re supposed to get some relatively (emphasis on “relatively”) serious snow today. There’s the potential for work/school/life getting canceled tomorrow, so today gets to pretend to be Friday, which, given the weekday pecking order, is a solid upgrade for poor old Hump Day. (Don’t get me wrong — I’m sure Monday would still kill to be Wednesday, even if it had to endure being nicknamed something so undignified.)

I say we go with it. I’m declaring today an unofficial Friday, and I have the perfect musical accompaniment — Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr’s new mixtape.

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Top 10 Albums of 2013

Countdown gif

It’s customary to start year-end lists by chewing some fat about how making them is strange and difficult work, and in general, I find that these intros can be exceedingly skippable. Everyone knows that album rankings are subjective (even when they’re created on behalf of a publication or website), and no one needs to be reminded that the list maker didn’t listen — and couldn’t have listened, of course! — to every single thing that came out in the preceding 12 months. You don’t share Santa Claus’ knack for bending the space-time continuum. Understood. But before I get to my Top 10 albums, I would like to share a quick story about how I came up with my list, and how Beyoncé helped me find meaning in this whole strange and difficult exercise.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr

(This is the second post-Record Store Day open letter. To read the first, An Open Letter To The People Who Lined Up Outside BK Music On Record Store Dayclick here.)

An Open Letter To The Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr Album That Made Me Bleed On Record Store Day

Edgar Allen Poe once said that “There is an eloquence in true enthusiasm.” I really like that, don’t you?

It reminds me — ironically, I suppose — of the breathlessness with which children tell stories they’re particularly excited about. Respiration and recitation crash into one another like waves headed in different directions, making for a bumpy, sometimes incoherent narrative — certainly not eloquence in the traditional sense. But within that crazy cadence, natural rhythms are hiding. Lungs working at full capacity. Synapses firing as fast as possible. Pitch rising at the end of each phrase. When you look closer, you find the body and spirit in perfect harmony, flowing as smoothly as ballroom dancers who have rehearsed every move they intend to make.

It’s just that type of enthusiasm I blame for our… incident.

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Tournament Album Coverage, Vol. 2

Couch Cat 2

For those of you who missed Volume 1 of YHT’s Tournament Album Coverage, I spent last weekend glued to my couch, watching the first rounds of the NCAA Tournament in a most gloriously sloth-like fashion. I can think of no better occasion for acting like a shut-in and no better way to enhance the experience than muting the television and choosing your own soundtrack for each game. (There’s only so much of Jay Bilas’ voice I can take before I just start yelling at the TV screen like a crazy person.)

With a few exceptions, things took a decidedly more contemporary turn after Friday night’s Garfunkel-fest. Below, I’ve posted the art for everything my friends and I listened to on Saturday and Sunday, along with a sample song and a context-free quote from someone in the room about each record.

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