I spent the majority of my spring break plastering the walls of a cinderblock building in the Puerto Rican rain forest. The only way to possibly get through a task as mind-numbing as plastering walls is to have an upbeat, driving playlist of music blasting from a decent set of speakers. Luckily, for the most part, that was the situation; our work crew leader had impeccable and eclectic taste, and about 100,000 songs in his iTunes library. One day, though, we made the call to switch it up. My buddy Matt had concocted a playlist entitled “Ridiculous Rap,” mainly comprised of one-hit crunk wonders from the mid-2000s. The first couple songs were hilarious and everybody sang along. By song five, the high had disappeared and it dawned on us that we had been ingesting pure crap for the past fifteen or so minutes.
It’s Olympics time, and that means patriotism is at a relative high here in America. So is the potential to wile away the hours in front of non-stop sports coverage. It’s taking all my willpower to keep my eyes on my laptop as the American hockey team plays the Czechs on the television in front of me.
But there’s one thing about seeing the United States in international competition that bothers the hell out of me: our national anthem, when compared to those of other countries, just doesn’t cut it.
If you grew up a rock music fan in the first decade of the 2000s, as I did, the Red Hot Chili Peppers likely provide much of the soundtrack of your formative years. Songs like “Can’t Stop” and “Dani California” populated your early-generation iPods, and you familiarized yourself with the oldies that stood the test of time: “Give it Away,” “Under the Bridge,” etc. Listening to these songs probably invokes a good deal of nostalgia. They stand the test of time, too; listen through Californication again today, and relish in the tight, emotionally thick beauty of its fifteen tracks.
Given these assumptions, you were probably just as pumped as I was to hear that the Chili Peppers would be joining Bruno Mars for the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime performance. By the time the teams headed to the locker rooms and Seattle had ensured that the game would be akin to watching a monster truck run over the same poor car for three hours, you were probably relieved that some good music would interrupt the tedium. Bruno Mars, sure, cool, but the CHILI PEPPERS!!! I was so excited, I had even set up a betting pool with my family, trying to pick the three songs they would play.
2014 is over a month old now, the Grammys have finally aired, and it’s high time for me to compose this before the moment passes and 2014′s release schedule starts to heat up as the year pushes into spring. And what better time is there to catch up on music than a rainy Nashville February?