Metablog

Music Review (Part II Continued)

One day while my mom was grocery shopping and told me to wait for her, I went to the book section of the store and noticed the Nick Traina biography, His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina, written by his mother, Danielle Steel. As I perused the pages and cover, I realized a different side to Nick, a much more vulnerable persona than his rebellious, punk rock, Link 80 one. I also began to see the tragic aspects of his story, his life cut horribly short by mental illness. As a teenager with my own struggles with mental illness and as a huge Link 80 fan, I instantly and deeply identified with the subject and subject matter of the biography, even though the events of Nick’s life were to end up differing drastically from my own. I wanted to take the book home, but my mother, a librarian, wouldn’t usually buy books, saying that I should check them out from the library instead.

I never ended up reading the whole biography (it must have not been available at the library), although every time I was at the grocery store waiting for my mom, I would read snippets until it was time to go. Recently, however, I was able to check out the eBook version from my hometown’s library district. I’ve barely started reading (I think I’m on the third chapter), but I’m enamored with the book all over again; this time I hope to complete the biography with the dual consciousness that I’ve gained from being the same person dealing with similar issues and having the memories from my original reading but now also having the insight that comes from experience. I’m not reviewing the book other than to say I love it, yet I’m also obviously biased, but I can’t wait to see how reading Nick Traina’s biography contributes to my album review of 17 Reasons.

Tonight, I’m starting to feel like I’m trying to write a book report without having read the book. That’s okay, considering I didn’t want this to turn into a book review as well as a music review. Having said that, I haven’t been able to read any more of His Bright Light since posting the beginning of Part II in this blog entry. This is the continuation of Part II, but I haven’t continued reading His Bright Light  because I’ve been too busy navigating the mental health system myself. I’ve also arrived at a realization that changes my blogging dynamic: In a previous blog entry, I asserted that I do not consider myself a “psychiatric survivor,” and I would like to take that statement back with this post and now claim that I do consider myself a psychiatric survivor but perhaps not according to the conventional definitions of this term.  

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to say that Nick Traina was killed by mental illness or that I should feel survivor’s guilt because I was spared by mental illness. A mental disorder appears as a very abstract threat, yet right now, to me, the mental healthcare system seems to provide concrete threats to my mental well-being and my physical health as well, the exact opposite of how things should be. So, I’m going to try to address my issues on as many levels as I can with approaches that correspond to my problems. I will take a week off from this music review next week and turn my blog into a poetry blog as I had planned to do awhile ago; I’ll just be a little late adhering to the planned itinerary. I will think and podcast about my current experiences in the mental health system as I finish reading His Bright Light. Then, the week after next, I should be able to conclude this music review series with a Part III that ties everything together.

Reformulation Blog

I’m once again reformulating the Link 80 music review based on recent events and circumstances in my life. For one, I didn’t realize that this review would be so comprehensively meaningful to me; I would like to spend the time to do more research and write more on the subjects contained within the review and how they apply to events I’m going through lately. So, I’m going to add to Part II on Friday and try to post Part III the Friday after next. Next week, I’ll turn my blog into a poetry blog for the week.

–MM

Music Review (Part II)

Link 80

17 Reasons

One day while my mom was grocery shopping and told me to wait for her, I went to the book section of the store and noticed the Nick Traina biography, His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina, written by his mother, Danielle Steel. As I perused the pages and cover, I realized a different side to Nick, a much more vulnerable persona than his rebellious, punk rock, Link 80 one. I also began to see the tragic aspects of his story, his life cut horribly short by mental illness. As a teenager with my own struggles with mental illness and as a huge Link 80 fan, I instantly and deeply identified with the subject and subject matter of the biography, even though the events of Nick’s life were to end up differing drastically from my own. I wanted to take the book home, but my mother, a librarian, wouldn’t usually buy books, saying that I should check them out from the library instead.

I never ended up reading the whole biography (it must have not been available at the library), although every time I was at the grocery store waiting for my mom, I would read snippets until it was time to go. Recently, however, I was able to check out the eBook version from my hometown’s library district. I’ve barely started reading (I think I’m on the third chapter), but I’m enamored with the book all over again; this time I hope to complete the biography with the dual consciousness that I’ve gained from being the same person dealing with similar issues and having the memories from my original reading but now also having the insight that comes from experience. I’m not reviewing the book other than to say I love it, yet I’m also obviously biased, but I can’t wait to see how reading Nick Traina’s biography contributes to my album review of 17 Reasons.

The Objectivity

I didn’t start this blog as a “mental health” blog. The subject, to me, is often too close and intense for me to write about in the way I want to about it, according to my own standards of objective journalism. Today is one of those days when I can’t really pick up where I left off with my music review because I want to have the headspace to give the proper respect to the musicians I’m supposed to be honoring with my review. Also, my mentality is too scattered to offer any incisive social commentary that I might have offered otherwise. So, I’ve decided to divide the Link 80 review into three parts and publish Part II on Friday. This keeps with the logic of my schedule and also affords me the room I need to think.

–MM

Music Review (Part I)

Link 80

17 Reasons

When I was in middle school, you had to have a band shirt, and it had to be punk rock. The first shirt that I was able to buy using my lawn-mowing money was a Link 80 shirt from Asian Man Records, ordered through a mail-order form that came with an Asian Man CD I bought at a record store. I would have worn that shirt every day if I could have; I probably tried. 17 Reasons, the band’s first full-length album, was stuck on repeat on my stereo, on continuous rotation until the CD started to scratch and glitch, no matter how careful I was with it. Unlike my classmates who listened to mainly punk and ska, I had settled on hardcore punk as my preferred subgenre, and Link 80 delivered from all sides: punk and ska with a hardcore flavor and a couple cameos and hardcore breakouts that left no room for posers and defined all the punk rock subgenres for me. Looking back, 17 Reasons was an album that got me through one of the most difficult, trying times in my life. A formative album for my formative years.

Music Review (Part II)

Raised Fist

Ignoring the Guidelines

What do I know about Raised Fist, from a biographical standpoint, though? Not much. They formed in 1993; they’re from Sweden; and I haven’t been able to catch a U.S. show even though I consistently listen to any of their recorded work. Also, they’re difficult to research, and I have yet to establish any substantial connections in the underground hardcore community that might assist with that. Yet again, “researching” underground artists is sort of an oxymoron as a concept, same with the idea that there’s a cohesive underground music “community.” Still, I like reviewing underground music because the obscurity removes the distractions posed by New Historical criticism, allowing the words and music to speak for themselves. I’ve taken a paradoxical-hybrid “close reading” and “autobiographical” approach to reviewing Ignoring the Guidelines. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to see Raised Fist on tour. When I follow Raised Fist on social media, watching clips from their shows and waiting for my next chance to see them, I’m just a fan.