Avril Lavigne “Goodbye Lullaby” Review

While Avril Lavigne‘s 2007 album, The Best Damn Thing, has become an unquestionable success—certified platinum in the US within a few months, it has since gone on to sell over six million copies worldwide—the years that followed its release offered some unique obstacles for the young vocalist. Plagiarism claims persisted and by 2009 the bottom finally fell out on her marriage to Sum 41′s Deryck Whibley. Despite such issues however, the singer was still able to log plenty of studio time in creating what would eventually become her new album, Goodbye Lullaby. Having the majority of the album completed before even reaching 2010 the singer was then dealt another blow, this time from her label. Signed to Arista, Lavigne found herself transplanted as the label was consumed by RCA. It was under this new watchful eye that she was told to take on a more “urban” sound. Lavigne disagreed; the album was delayed.

With the release of Goodbye Lullaby‘s lead single (“What The Hell”) in January however, things appeared to once again be right on track for the perennial pop punker; the song itself acting much like “Girlfriend” did on The Best Damn Thing, adding a very recognizable kick early on in the LP. The single continues to project Lavigne’s longstanding edgy persona that has persisted throughout her career, this time utilizing a catchy organ line as she confronts the double standard of being a player, “You say that I’m messin’ with your head boy, I like messin’ in your bed… All cause I was makin’ out with your friend.” From the remaining tracks that follow however, the song’s energy is only duplicated in “Smile.” “Last night I blacked out, I think/What did you put in my drink?” yelps Lavigne before the song’s squirly guitar is pushed aside for a glowing pop hook. The energetic track pales in comparison however, picking up on a trend that persists throughout the entire recording: aside from “What The Hell,” the album is largely forgettable.

Make no mistake, “I Love You” serves its purpose as a solid pop song, “Alice” leans on a momentous sound in focusing on lyrics aimed at triumphing over adversity and opener “Black Star” is at the bare minimum a relatively graceful introductory track. (If it weren’t simply a theme song for a fragrance it might’ve been able to develop into something special.) In between however, there are few sparks that deliver something on par with what Lavigne’s career has proven her capable of.

This isn’t to point fingers, but one of the likely reasons for the lack of excitement in Goodbye Lullaby might have to do with the project being far more in-house than any she has ever taken on before. While Avril Lavigne has always assumed the role of a songwriter in the creation of her music, the new album finds her as the sole writer on a number of songs. Not only that, but through their rocky ups and downs, Whibley played role of producer for roughly half of the album; Lavigne herself also wearing that hat for a pair of tracks. The result is something that she’d obviously be willing to fight to the death over—a personal creation unlike any she’s had to this point in her career. Unfortunately it also emphasizes her obvious need for collaboration.

The aforementioned “What The Hell” and “Smile” are two of four tracks written with the help of proven hit-makers Max Martin and Shellback, each standing out for their obvious pop-heavy appeal. Even at that however, the lyrics in the tracks translate as remarkably soft, “Wish You Were Here” including “There’s a girl who gives a shit, behind this wall you’ve just walked through it” and “I Love You” topping out emotionally with “You’re so beautiful but that’s not why I love you.” Lavigne’s work with guitarist Evan Taubenfeld on the album yields an unfortunate trio of “singer/songwriter” tracks; “Push,” the cliché-ridden “Everybody Hurts” (“Everybody hurts, everybody screams, everybody feels this way—and it’s OK”) and “Not Enough.” From there however, we’re led to believe that it’s all Lavigne: from the dull sounds of “Stop Standing There” to the the limp acoustic-focused “4 Real” (“I’m for real, are you for real?”) to the relationship driven “Remember When” (“Remember when I cried to you a thousand times?”) and “Goodbye” (“I have to go and leave you alone but always know that I love you so”). There’s a lot of emotion in the songs, but practically none of it makes an impact.

In a recent interview with Maxim, Lavigne broke down the album’s focus from her perspective, “Is it inspired by my personal relationships? Yes. Inspired by life experiences? Yes. Inspired by experiences in situations with my family and friends? Yes.” Just as these are all important sources in terms of learning more about herself, they’re also powerful in gathering inspiration for her lyrics. That said, the drawback comes when the songs themselves are neglected in the process of making the album more “personal.” There’s nothing wrong with taking the risk, but the outcome unfortunately illuminates the unmistakable transparency of Lavigne’s game. Sad to say it, but now she’s just Taylor Swift with a “fuck” tattoo.

Radiohead “The King of Limbs” Review

As a band, Radiohead have been able to capture something very few artists have been able to: The band retains an aura of integrity while maintaining an impossible level of success. They’re the biggest “indie” band in the world, universally acclaimed for producing music that might not otherwise demand mainstream attention; “weird” music that doesn’t really sound like what’s on the radio is transformed into “good” music that helps signal the end of a prevailing guard. Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief all followed such a pattern, playing integral parts in creating this mythical force known as Radiohead. Musical trends aren’t adopted in created new recordings, but rather, these new recordings lend themselves as place markers which help define changing shifts in a greater musical landscape. Taking things a step further, the band made a stand to buck industry standards with the release of In Rainbows in 2007, an album which will likely continue to serve as a poster child for similar releases for years to come. “What’s that band that didn’t charge anything for their music?” “Radiohead?” “Yeah, that’s the one.”

The issue with being continually perceived as the impetus of drastic change becomes more apparent when this driving force does something remotely normal. The news of The King of Limbs was hardly boresome—a new Radiohead album given a week’s notice is something sure to spark immediate pandemonium, and it did—but it’s the bulk of what matters most here that appears to be baffling to some: The music, itself, actually sounds like Radiohead.

“Bloom” opens the eight song recording with swirling piano before giving way to a jagged drum beat that persists throughout the song. As he does throughout the album, Thom Yorke floats his unmistakable moan over the top, “Open your mouth wide.” “Morning Mr. Magpie” follows with a tinny, repetitious beat which contrasts with a skipping guitar line, combining sounds in creating a silhouette of what materializes later in the track. “You’ve got some nerve, coming here” wails Yorke during the song’s early moments, closing by furthering his accusatory tone, “And now you stole it, all the magic.”

“Little by Little” introduces itself as the closest thing The King of Limbs might have to a formal rock song; its guitar line weaving its way in and out of Yorke’s drawl, “Little by little, by hook or by crook.” “Feral” follows by again changing pace, the song’s pulsating bass adding a secondary layer of depth while broken staggered vocals pass in waves. The enticing “Lotus Flower” follows before “Codex” interjects with a slower musical pace, at times accentuating piano, a slowly timed beat and horns before vanishing into sounds of wilderness that bleed into “Give Up the Ghost.” “Don’t hurt me” cries Yorke as the largely acoustic track layers harmonies atop one another. The closing track, “Separator,” feeds on Yorke’s characteristic slurred annunciation, building a slow, popping drum line which steadily progresses. As each word fades into the next a warped, echoed riff rises out of the rumbling piano line before fading into Yorke’s closing words, “Wake me up, wake me up.” Every song is unique and fresh, yet every song remains unquestionably Radiohead.

“It almost feels like the lead-up to a ‘bigger’ release” suggests New York Magazine‘s Nitsuh Abebe, while Spinner‘s Andrew Kerr documents a growing sentiment among fans that a second King of Limbs release might be upon us shortly. “Conspiracy theorists have pointed to the fact that the final track on The King of Limbs is entitled ‘Separator’ and if taken literally could mean the song is bridging the gap between releases.” It’s almost as if there’s a sense that nearly 40 minutes of music (which was hardly even a consideration a week ago) isn’t enough to meet the increasingly inflated expectation that the band has built up around itself. Radiohead haven’t exactly done something expected here, but maybe it’s just not surprising enough. Like, “Why have they not once again shaken my foundation to the core?” But can’t making good music be enough? If a second album arrives this year: fantastic. But until there’s the remotest bit of honest evidence backing up the “this can’t be all, can it?” faction, can’t a touching collection of songs which continues to elaborate upon Radiohead’s ever-maturing sound as a collective simply be enough? Far out expectations aside, The King of Limbs is just that: more than enough.

Facebook Supplement Round 1: “Philosophy”

After attempting to focus on honestly channeling my emotions and feelings and turning them in into English words in order to help lend my Facebook profile a more honest sense of who it is that I am, I’ve come to find out that there is a limit of 420 characters given to describe one’s point of view in any number of given areas. It’s with this bit of information that I’ve been faced with both a bit of negative and positive… Negative: My Facebook friends might never know what I’m about in terms of “Religion” or “Political Views” (the two categories I tackled this evening) because the allotted character limit just ain’t gonna cut it. Positive: I’ve been through enough browser crashes in my time that I typed these out in a document before pressing “Save Changes,” and can now slap that shit into my tumblr. Bonus: The past however-long-it’s-been-that-I’ve-been-thinking-about-this-stuff now appears as though it hasn’t been a complete waste of time. Even in its limited depth, the following is apparently too wordy to go on my Facebook page… but here goes:

Religion: Well, it’s like this…

Description: I’m just trying to find peace with the voice that I hear inside my head late at night when no one else is around. Once I can maintain a sense of agreement on that level with my inner dialog I feel like I’d be on the right path. From there… I can’t tell you whether or not there’s any more truth in this world than not, but I can tell you that it seems far likelier that I’d be able to grasp the scope of any possible collective consciousness once I realize the extent to which my own mind might be capable of absorbing the energy that surrounds each and every one of us. At that point, I hope to be able to find someone who I feel shares my awe of the infiniteness of our reality and build a partnership with that person, each of us helping one another in our exploration of this world for some sense of truth. If, in a lifetime, I am able to find that, I’ll probably have a better idea of whether or not any single religion captures the scope of the the universe’s beauty. It’s at that point in time that I’ll hopefully be better equipped to answer this Facebook query. For the time being, it’s probably safest if I stick with “undecided.”

Political Views: Largely confused.

Description: That’s probably the best way to explain my view of the political environment that is being projected as “what’s really goin’ on.” I’m woefully inept in terms of being remotely informed; not only in terms of the historical process that this country and others like it are founded on but in terms of the current inner workings of everything below the surface. With that in mind, I can’t really say that I know enough about what’s happening to suggest that things are entirely out of order or if they are the same as they’ve ever been. From my point of view, I’m slowly falling into a state of mind that leaves me clumped in with the latter’s outlook, that today is the same as it ever was: it’s just that things are becoming amplified due to the increasing ease of information sharing. The pessimist in me fears that a collapse of our modern civilization is what it’s going to take for things to genuinely change… That no single administration or party appears able or willing to sway things on a level that would steer the ship away from the iceberg, so to speak. If I had a better grip on everything I might be able to make a definitive statement as to whether or not that’s where we’re headed, or whether or not there’s something within reach can be put in place to prevent such a downfall. But seeing as I don’t, all I can do is say “Really, I dunno.”

To this point, I’ve been extremely lucky. The government has been supportive of me in time of need and in the few instances I’ve interacted with those in positions of authority, I’ve been spared injustice. If there’s a political party that would treat everyone with the same humanity as I have received to this point, while at the same time offering reasonable levels of social support and humanitarian initiatives, while also steering our country clear of that goddamned ominous iceberg, I suppose I’d align myself with that group of cats. And if they already have a name… consider me one of them.

Rabbit Hash, Kentucky

Photos taken February 20, 2011 at the General Store in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.

On The Reg

Could 2011 be the year I get my shit together and game starts poppin' on the reg?

The next three or four days are going to be a non-stop trill-a-thon of epic proportions. Stanhope live? O-o-oh fuck. Check. Jaunt to Cincy? Sure, why not? Meeting with new friends? Youbetcha. At least one late-late nighter with Road Dogs gettin’ rowdy to some Rob Lumbard? It seems pretty goddamn likely. And that’s not to mention how straight up bonkers this week has already been the positivity front.

Was talkin’ to my man Shoeshine Will at the YMCA today and we came to an agreeance that every day you wake up is generally a pretty tight day. He was tellin’ me that I’m too young to be going around saying things like that, and I said that my age doesn’t make it any less The Truth. Dude said his brother had a kidney taken out this week or some shit and we stewed on the idea that it could be lights out at any given moment. Just like that (snaps fingers) and it’s lights out forever.


Guess that’s the point here: yeah, every day you have all your limbs is a great one, and every day you don’t have to be hooked up to a machine to stay alive is infinitely solid, but it’s really what you do with it from there that goes to show how much you respect the trillocity of life. Yes, I know, I’m here putting off being productive by letting some thoughts roll on the Internet, but I still think that despite my general attraction toward being lazy and unproductive I’m at least remotely aware that life has the potential to become pretty tight.

I think the answer to that initial question is a big ol’ sack of "I have absolutely no idea." All I can do is try to not fuck up and hope for the best. That probably goes for any of us, really. There’s a lotta shit that’s out of our control and there are a lot of factors that can easily put a damper on the party… But once you wake up, do a limb-check and count that they’re all there & take that first deep gasp of air in the morning (you might yawn… not me, that’s my body subconsciously trying to devour the universe whole), it’s up to you what happens next. Not in the sense that you can be anything you want to be, but just that you can be choose whether or not the next step is going to suck or not. Now, I’m not trying to become Superman. I’m just tryin’ to become super, man. (That sounded a lot funnier in my head with a standup bass line playin while a beatnik recited the words.)

Really, I’m just thankful that there are rad moments like what’s coming up here. And I’m also thankful that there are reminders like the old dude at the Y. That’s all I’m really gettin’ at… I should have probably just written that to start with. Sorry.

Doug Stanhope Interview

It’s hard to know where exactly to start in terms of introducing Doug Stanhope. With two decades of flight time already logged in his career as a stand-up comedian, the man’s long since established his voice amongst the infinitely vast sea of artists in the medium. Yet while Nashville Standup calls him one of “the top five working comics of our time,” to the uninformed he might still be either one of the dudes from The Man Show or the guy from Girls Gone Wild (“Show us where babies feed!”). But if that’s the Doug Stanhope you know however, sadly, you don’t really know Doug Stanhope.

Early on last year the comedian continued his recurring spot on BBC Four’s Newswipe with Charlie Brooker: Stanhope, the American correspondent, delivering his own caustic take on a number of issues ranging from the fear mongering of the news to population control as means of environmentalism to the media’s role in capitalizing on personal tragedy. Each of his segments found Brooker introducing the him as an “American miserablist,” “embittered comic” or simply a “drunk,” and opens with the same single line from Stanhope, “I’m Doug Stanhope, and that’s why I drink.” If you project all of the above onto a stage and add a microphone, cigarettes, liquor, beer and a lifetime of profanity and sexual exploits, you might begin to have a better idea of what Stanhope’s act’s about.

While his 2010 ended on a positive note — Stanhope was named the flagship artist for Roadrunner Records’ new Roadrunner Comedy imprint — 2011 didn’t exactly get off to the best start for the comedian. A recent trip to Costa Rica quickly devolved into a nightmare as Stanhope and his party had their luggage stolen (including passports, wallets; everything). Shrugging off the debacle, Stanhope called it a “clusterfuck” that he’s moved on from. Clearly the event didn’t crush his spirits too badly as he still found it in him to host an epic party recently that was just winding down by the time I caught up with him. “We’re just coming off of an eight day Super Bowl party,” Stanhope remarked during our introduction. “Yeah, it was pretty destructive.”

What might be the most endearing aspect to the man is that aside from all of the drunken ramblings, vulgar stage banter and polarizing cultural observations, he’s still just another individual battling his own personal struggles while still trying—as we all are, I suppose—to avoid being consumed by the growing instability of the world around us. Like many, he goes through dramatic bouts of uncertainty and depression but he’s also fully aware that you just have laugh at what you can along the way and move on. That, and he’s been known to pull some pretty fearless stunts. In our discussion we touched on a variety of dark subjects including the difficulty in maintaining positivity in today’s political landscape, but we also had a few laughs; many at the expense of Gallagher. The comedian also talked about his perception of the worldly traveler, being mentally bogged down by his Netflix queue and the humor yet to be found in a Blue Collar Comedian. Stanhope will be opening his forthcoming tour with a date in Chattanooga, Tennessee this Thursday before hitting Nashville on Friday for a show at Exit/In. Opening for him that night will be the Mattoid.

“He’s a guy from Finland, he’s a musician, he’s on the bill. But he’s out of Nashville. Yeah, it’s very funny; I haven’t worked with him for a while – it’s fucking great. It’s not a comedy act but he’s just inherently funny. A very thick Finnish accent and he’ll do—as well as original stuff—he’ll do, you know, Lionel Richie, [Very thick accent, singing] ‘Hello, is it me you’re looking foooaaa?’ I think he’s moving back to Finland, but he says that every time I talk to him.”

(While that’s where conversation began, Stanhope recently made reference on his Facebook page to an article in the Stranger which reviewed one of Gallagher’s performances in Seattle. The aging (self-proclaimed) comedy legend has made news in recent years for the increasing number of hate-based jokes in his act which often focus on race and sexuality. This seemed like as good a place as any to dive in.)

Doug Stanhope: I met that guy, he came to a show years ago, probably in the ’90s, late-’90s. He showed up at Zanies Comedy Club when we were working. It was a three show Saturday and he came to the early show which was like 6:30 or something, and he paid to get in because the manager didn’t know who he was. And walks directly in kitchen where all the comics are and introduces himself and tells us he’ll be watching our act, like that’s something special. And he’d give us all a free joke. He was going to watch our acts and he asked the other comic if he’d be more comfortable if Gallagher came back for a later show, as though people are nervous to be performing in front of Gallagher.

Have you seen videos of him actually jump up on stage and give instruction to his openers?

No, but he was yelling out instructions to us. And everyone was half-trashing him. He walked out during my set. I was telling a story about a hooker, and some line about how I went from not wanting to jerk-off to some movie to spending 185 dollars on some hooker… Anyway, it was the 185 dollars — he yells out in the middle, “Why 185 dollars?” I go, “’Cause it’s a true story about an actual hooker that I spent 185 dollars on and that’s not a joke. That’s why.” Then he walked out, so… Last time I did Stern he was on right before me...

Yeah, I heard about that, too. And he was really deadpan on that and serious about getting his career resurrected…

Yeah, he’s an insane person.

You did Marc Maron’s podcast [WTF with Marc Maron], did you catch any of Maron’s show with Gallagher?

No, I didn’t know he had Gallagher on. I gotta check that out. I’ve heard the Dane Cook, the confrontational ones, Robin Williams.

Yup, this is one of those.

But I want to see him now. Like, I always hated Mike Tyson until he went crazy and started biting people’s ears off and shit, then I loved him. I would really love to see a Gallagher show now. Now that he’s truly fucking flipped his lid and gone insane.

Maron was just asking him about, y’know, what exactly are these examples that people keep harshing you about? That you’re supposedly homophobic and racist and all this and Gallagher keeps coming back and saying “I don’t have any homophobic jokes.” But then you hear this review of it and every last thing is about gay-bashing. I don’t understand the guy.

Yeah, it’s definitely something I’d want to go watch now.

I guess, from your perspective—since you’re not really the cleanest act in the world, where would you kind of draw the line as far as what would Gallagher have to do to be over the edge? Like, what’s too much?

You can’t fake that kind of crazy. I wouldn’t be watching it for his act, I’d be watching it just to see a fuckin’ human being function in that type of world. Coming from where he came from and [being] so delusional about it and half fucking losing his mind… There’s a book called The Comedian as Confidence Man by Will Kaufman and the subtitle is “A study in irony fatigue.” And it talks about all these American humorists from Ben Franklin all the way up to Bill Hicks who hit a wall where they were tired of having to hide under the mask of comedy. Like, they’re saying serious things that they believe in, but as soon as they stop making jokes then they’re no longer a comedian, they’re just, y’know… But as long as they’re making jokes no one takes them seriously and they hit that wall. And he’s in this bizarre spectrum of that. He’s still gonna smash melons but he wants to rail against the government… But he still has to smash melons! It’s fucking brilliant. Just the horror show of real life on some retarded plane of existence that we live on.

Yeah, it completely makes sense to him. That’s the scary part. Like, he doesn’t come off as thinking it’s remotely absurd that he’s doing that.

Exactly, and that’s what you can’t fake. Most comics are pretty fucking dull when you hang out with them but that guy is a certified absolute fucking nut job. (In light of Gallagher, the discussion then turned to focus on the struggle for comedians to stay relevant. Stanhope began to explain how those who are able to do so are those who are constantly refining their material and working it on the road and in clubs.) Other guys like Ron White see it in a way that you shouldn’t look at it and he’s pissing away his fuckin’ Blue Collar Comedy money… Driving around in his tour bus draggin’ his fucking Bentley on the back, just laughing his ball off.

Do you know him personally?

(Mmm, hmm) He’s inspirational.

I was kind of wondering where that line was with him…

I was talking to him and he’s got a bunch of guys that I know writing jokes for him, and writing material, and I go to him, “You’ve been buyin’ a lot of my buddy Andy’s jokes.” He goes [deep Texan drawl], “Yeah, what we do is we buy really good material from really good comics and then, uh, we take the teeth out of it so it’s not funny any more. And then I deliver it to my audience and they applaud.” Like, completely shameless, doesn’t give a fuck. He could care less about all the nonsense and the pride and the ego. I think his quote was “You can’t buy a boat with art.” (Which reminded me of a commercial I saw for Larry the Cable Guy’s new Only in America show on the History channel, to which Stanhope replied, “Whatever gets him through the day.”) Again, I have no hostility toward any comedian even if I say I do. It’s only the audience that laughs at it that gets my dander up.

Well, rightly so. I mean, I’m confused: On one hand you’ve got that guy and he makes a movie [Witness Protection] and nobody goes to see it—the movie fails horribly—and yet he keeps getting work. So you have to question who’s actually paying to watch it.

Yeah, it’s not just comedy. It’s entertainment all the way around. Like fucking Dancing with the Stars. Like, who ever watches dancing? I mean, I understand like MTV fuckin’ hip hop whore dancing that teenagers would watch it just for the free boner.

Yeah, but it’s ballroom…

Yes! That’s like the number one fuckin’ blockbuster show and it’s fucking baffling. The entire world is baffling to me. I can’t wait to come home and not talk to anyone.

Do you stay positive or

No, I’m a roller coaster. I’m a drunk, so… I wake up afraid and fuckin’ morose and remorseful. I’m a socialist then I drink my way into a fucking libertarian asshole.

I was watching your interview last year with Alex Jones on his show and you mentioned living on a fire escape down Arizona. [Stanhope lives in Bisbee, Arizona near the Mexican border; a town he referred to as American's fire escape.] That’s not a joke then, that’s serious? Do you legitimately want to get the hell out of Dodge if things get to a point…

No, no, no, no… I’m going down with the ship right here. As much as I have problems with this country it’s familiar. And there’s no place I’d ever been that I’d rather be for more than a week.

I’m kinda with you. I think it’s a great country at the end of the day. It’s just we have a lot of shitheads here.

Yeah, and they’re everywhere. But it’s the shithead you know.

That’s right, the shithead that welcomes you back. On that note of kind of waking up miserable, have you seen this documentary called Collapse? It focuses on this former LA policeman named Michael Ruppert.

I don’t know that I’ve seen Collapse. He’s the one that ratted out the CIA? I’m a sucker for any conspiracy theory stuff like that.

It was maybe about a month ago that I watched that then I watched… I don’t remember what this other one was called [Gasland] but it was about just the heinousness of the natural gas wells around the country.

Oh, I just put that on my queue. That’s in upstate New York or something?

Yeah, it’s absolutely disgusting. It just completely fucks up the ground water for all these people who live around them.

Yeah, that’s mostly what I’ve been doing for the last few months. Just watching documentaries on Netflix about how fucked up the world is.

Well, watch Collapse then. Because if you weren’t already depressed and borderline suicidal, that’ll put you right in the mood. 

I’ll do it next. I just watched Bikini Radio.

What’s that one about?

It’s about the A-bomb we tested on the Bikini Atoll. It’s only 56 minutes long, but get that on Netflix. It’s all footage from back then…

I go through spurts where I kind of watch these back-to-back-to-back then I just can’t take it anymore.

Yeah, I do that to the point where I’m easily depressed and terrified to go outside. Yeah, and I believe in half the shit. Like, I watched Loose Change again and I was back in that head space. But I don’t care. I get to the point where yeah, the world’s fucked up and everyone’s conspiring against someone at some time on every level of society and that’s just how it is. Whether they’re high level government officials of if they’re fucking Safeway managers, you know?

Absolutely. And I felt the exact same thing when I was watching that thing with Alex because like you were saying on there, he’s got this impossible wealth of information and when you start calling all that out, it becomes like: who the fuck cares?

Yeah, like, what are you going to change? People don’t care.

I mean, at this point do you even have any kind of opinion on Egypt? Like, is that even a thought?

Yeah, well, what are they going to do? They’re going to get other power mongers to take his [Hosni Mubarak] place. No one aspires to those positions without some kind of blood lust. And power corrupts, et cetera, et cetera. As long as people want to be led they’re going to get leaders that are shit. And that’s not going to change.

What was your reaction when you got asked to go on Red Eye. I really don’t know Fox’s angle with that and it seemed like an odd pairing.

I kinda wanted to trash it, and then… I really fucking hated that show. It was just so fucking goofy. The guy was so overly nice to me.

Yeah, he kept trying to identify with you.

So I still have a sense of regret for not fucking just douching the whole show. Like at the last minute… I had sat there writing jokes about all the news stories of the day, assuming that’s why I was on. And then they go, you’re on as a special guest. Instead we’re going to talk about all the shit that’s on Wikipedia.

That’s what he immediately went to was the Girls Gone Wild… 

“So, you have a weird belly button…” What?! I’ve been fucking writing jokes all day and you’re going to talk about my belly button. That’s why I should never do anything sober.

Were you sober at that?

Yeah. Then I went back to the hotel and they didn’t have a bar. The bar was closed for renovations. That sucked. That’s how I remembered that day.

The not being able to drink.

Most of what I’ve done is kind of a blur. Things I had to do sober. Maybe that’s a title of a book.

The Things I Had To Do Sober. I like that, Doug. That’s pretty good but it’d probably be a pretty short book.

Or One Cocktail Away from Being Gallagher.

…The Story of Doug Stanhope… I don’t even know where to go from there.

Do you want to talk about my belly button?

Maybe I’ll save that for when you’re in town and we can talk on a more personal level about that. The intimacies of your naval cavity… There was something I did want to ask you about — I couldn’t find anything about it online. There was this GQ article called “Is This America’s Most Depraved Man?”

Yeah, British GQ.

What was the story behind that?

Yeah, just this guy…

All I read about it was that he was talking to you during some mushroom festival.

Oh, no, there was supposed to be this giant mushroom/hallucinogen festival with all these different acts and comics and we sold all these tickets then the whole thing went bust days before it’s supposed to happen. He was supposed to meet me down there for it. And there were no plane tickets—he bought his own plane ticket on GQ’s dime and ended up hanging around at some fuckin’ swinger resort for three days. All by himself with a bunch of fuckin’ homeless swingers.

I don’t mean to sound negative on this, but I wouldn’t really trust people to be able to pull off a whole festival who are basing half of it on mushrooms.

Exactly. The Stripper’s Real Phone Number Festival. (Which led to talk of his current round or performances that will lead him to the UK in March.) London and Manchester and I don’t know; Nottingshire; Hampsterham. Nothing makes my stomach roll over and squirt acid like the thought of going back to the UK.

Just because of the food?

No, everything. Just the crowded and dank and ugly…

Do you ever get much time when you’re on the road over there to actually take in a bit of the cities you visit.

There’s nothing I’d want to see. I have preconceived notions about Europe; about pretty much everywhere I’ve been. I’ve almost never been surprised. Like, “Oh, this is way better than I was expecting.” Nope, this is exactly what I was expecting. Every reason I moved out of New England times ten. But with way smarter audiences that have way higher expectations… Half your material’s not going to work because it’s America-centric. And the fanbase I have is very tenacious and they’ve heard every fucking word I’ve ever said. So you’re constantly in a struggle. If it weren’t for the UK I might be fuckin’ Ron White. If I could get away with it I might get that lazy.

Blastoids “Since Forever” EP

In the couple of years that Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s Blastoids have been doing their thing they’ve made it pretty goddamn difficult not to compare their sound to Animal Collective; even with their new five-track EP the tendency is to make the easy connection. But before getting all genre-fixated, there’s a bit more to the group than a quick glimpse might initially suggest.

Blastoids’ 2009 Megachurch EP was released through Environmental Aesthetics and does well to show a bit of the electronics that would later bleed into the band’s later releases, and eventually the Since Forever EP which dropped last month. Airy synth blurring the lines between the group’s tribal-leaning drum collage and distant vocals—all of which go a long way in describing AnCo as well. Cows Are Just Food offered what might be the best explanation of Megachurch that will ever exist, commenting on its “Big spectacular splatters of pop, glitchy neon psych schmeared in lovely warm synth jam and explosions of huge hum and beautiful clatter.” But then the band threw a wrench in things, flipping the script on listeners with their next album.

Following things up with Trash Mountain last year, the recording included elements found in Megachurch but focused on some 8-bit electronics mixed in with a whole lotta noise-pop. “Although Trash Mountain was recorded at the same time as Megachurch, it is worlds away from the blissful, bordering on bubbly output I came to associate Blastoids with,” explained Unholy Rhythms. “The electronic elements have not disappeared, instead they found a fuller sound that can be extremely jarring and noisy.” These two albums were later released as a free download from the group, collected as Kid Hands Smell Like Glitter, before the group once again added to the string of contrasting sound with the soundtrack to Daniel Henry’s short film Figure / Ground—the release largely consisting of ambient hums and electronic drone. Despite those superficially easy AnCo comparisons, from their first release on the group has made it their prerogative to follow whatever musical direction their heart leads at the moment. And with Since Forever, they’ve once again done just that.

With the band’s new release there’s been a slight return to Megachurch‘s vibe—the exception being “Taste” with its its bubbling abstract electronics. Aside from that the EP does well to use a far deeper vibe in establishing a crisper sound that translates as something far more “their own.” Whatever that might mean. Take a listen for yourself as the EP is streaming over at Bandcamp. And if you get the opportunity, I’d suggest checking them out live if ever given the opportunity. Having not seen them myself, it’s a risky statement—championing a show sight unseen—but if these photos from Blastoids’ New Year’s show are any indication, everyone in attendance is in for a helluva good time.

TRMRS “Hello Self” (Influenza)

Finding inventive ways to keep garage punk vibrant isn’t really as necessary in the genre as simply being good; or “feeling it”; or simply having fun. And when you start adding up all of those factors, it becomes natural start making the comparisons: “Not comparing TRMRS to the Black Lips would just be weird” (Stuck on an Island), “This quartet sounds like the zombiefied Ventures” (the Portland Mercury), or “What would the Sonics sound like if Link Wray played lead and they were molested by the Germs?” (OC Weekly) all having been batted around at some point. It’s not as if any of these are unwarranted–the quartet themselves liken their sound to the Black Lips, the Strokes and Link Wray–but in doing so it becomes easy to overlook the fact that they’re not simply a run-of-the-mill knockoff. A quick scan of live videos shows a band actually enjoying themselves, which translates to a bit of rowdiness on stage. Take the group’s single and subsequent music video for “Hello Self” as further proof of the passion for psych-punk fury; it’s something the guys bleed, not a mindset they fall in and out of when it comes time to record or perform. Sure the group’s music might come be similar to something else you’ve heard, but TRMRS retains an authenticity that gives them a sound of their own. In this edition of Influenza Tommy Stewart (guitar/vocals) and Anthony Perry (guitar/vocals) break down what “Hello Self” represents, what it means to be “trash pop” and how they hope to help change Orange County’s rep.


So, I guess you would have to understand our band in the right perspective to get what “Hello Self” is really about. We are from Orange County, CA which has long been described as a bubble or sort of a white washed culture that lacks a young lower class atmosphere. I think just from touring and traveling a lot, we’ve realized that most of North America and the world doesn’t realize what makes OC cool is the rapidly growing counter-culture in response to the whole “bubble” thing. It was never about making popular music it was about making collaborative art that really represented all four of us. We wanted to create music that was dirty, modern, provocative, and embodied the pride in our friends and the very culture that we represent. With that in mind we just started calling it “trash pop” because nothing else seemed to fit better.

“Hello Self” is one our songs that simply represented all of that. Inevitably, it gets people SO worked up regardless where we are, just about every single time we play it live. The verses talk about your up and down attitudes on life. It talks about where we live, what we want, and knowing if we would still be the same person regardless. Everything we do is a collaborative effort with our friends, family, and community. The official video for “Hello Self” was filmed by our good friend Taylor Bonin. The video isn’t so serious rather than it being a projection of our silly artistic tastes, and overall we are stoked on it and what more is to come.

The AK “Kaby’s Day Out”

Largely recorded last year, the AK is out to make waves with his latest offering: the Kaby’s Day Outmixtape. “I have associated Kaby with the more playful/mischievous/satirical side of myself,” explained the MC recently in discussing the collection via email. But don’t be mistaken, by going lighter the Nashville MC is in no way coming soft; despite sounding far from the thuggish drawl of the Ca$hville community, Kaby’s 19 track release bridges a solid range of sounds, capturing everything from trunk-rattling bangers (“Get it All”) to throwback jams (“Thank God for Crime”).

While he’s definitely got some personal favorites in the set—citing “When Yellow Meets Red,” “Elephants Run When We’re Snoring,” “No Surprises” and “Who Did It” as the mixtape’s best tracks—the AK isn’t relaxing on his game any time soon, already looking ahead to a load of new projects for 2011. “In March, I’m releasing a mixtape called Stigmatic. That’s a really serious record. Much heavier than KDO. April 1 I’m releasing Fool’s Gold and in July I’m releasing Return of the Red Tape. So a lot is in the works. I also will be releasing a J Dilla Tribute EP with Jo’shua Odine.” In the short-term the MC just released a dark new track entitled “Hell I Been Through” with producer CutThroatKid and is also prepping a music video for KDO‘s “#Yikes5000.” The entire Kaby’s Day Outmixtape can be downloaded for free here or if you prefer to get a taste first, you can stream the mix over at DatPiff.

Bright Eyes “The People’s Key” Review

Conor Oberst has been anything but unproductive since dropping the last Bright Eyes release nearly four years ago. Recording a pair of alt-country albums with the Mystic Valley Band in addition to dropping the not-so-folky debut album from Monsters of Folk with Jim James, M. Ward & Mike Mogis, Oberst has clearly demonstrated an interest in diversifying his range. Not surprising then that this trend continues into Oberst’s new release, The People’s Key; the album doing well to avoid the musical trends that have persisted through his long string of past Bright Eyes recordings. Aside from enlisting contributors ranging from Matt Maginn (Cursive) to Carla Azar (Autolux) to Clark Baechle (The Faint), The People’s Key is still as diverse sounding as anything Oberst has done musically to this point: “I was really burnt out on that rootsy Americana shit,” explained the musician in an interview with Billboard recently. “So I tried to steer clear of that.” Perhaps even more important than the musical shift is Oberst’s outward showing of lyrical ambition on the recording. Often pigeonholed as a songwriter, The People’s Key finds Oberst complementing the musically diverse tracks with lyrics aimed at transcending reality, often looking to the metaphysical in hope of discovering some sort of truth. There may be no better example of this direction than the spoken monologue which runs throughout the album, starting with a lengthy introduction in “Firewall.”

Heard again in “A Machine Spiritual,” “Jejune Stars” and album closer “One For You, One For Me,” fringe musician and Refried Ice Cream frontman Denny Brewer opens the album with an extended rant, touching on examples of extraterrestrial influence on our culture before the track eventually picks up a slow roll, closing with Oberst vocally humming “Seen by I and I,” a refrain which is echoed again as the album comes to its end. What follows is best described by Oberst himself, who explained recently to NY Magazine, “The one recurring theme in my writing, and in my life in general, is confusion.” And that’s exactly what’s driving The People’s Key—lyrically, at least: not knowing.

“The wheel of becoming erases the physical mind/Till all that remains is a staircase of information” croons the singer in the intermittently musically aggressive “Jejune Stars.” “My private life is an inside joke, no one will explain it to me,” reveals Oberst in “Shell Games,” continuing by repeating “Now you are how you were when you were real” in “Approximated Sunlight.” While one of the album’s most musically inspired moments comes with the bleak, minimalist sound of “The Ladder Song”—Oberst’s solo keyboard performance in tribute to a fallen friend—the most intriguing moment might come with the spirituality-focused “Triple Spiral.” No stranger to dissecting his own beliefs in song, Oberst appears both lost in uncertainty at times and grounded in confidence at others. “I loved you triple spiral/Father, son and ghost/But you left me in my darkest hour when I needed you…” he cries out early in the song, while later appearing collected, focused on the illusion of his search, “That’s the problem/An empty Sky/I fill it up with everything that is missing from my life.” It’s an interesting contrast, if only for its openly confused tone.

In looking solely at The People’s Key, the album reveals a writer with many questions and very few answers. But that isn’t a negative—his undecided contemplation—but rather, quite the opposite. By the time that The People’s Key is released the group’s centerpiece will have turned 31, and whether or not this is related to his age, the new album shows Oberst’s growing resolve to go beyond preaching his position, and instead look to what else there might be. Closing out the album in “One For You, One For Me” Brewer remarks, “When there is total enlightenment there will be peace.” Through so much of his career Oberst has positioned himself to have some sort of answer; politically, ethically or otherwise. But rather than striking up a fight or championing a belief, as he’s done so many times in the past, The People’s Key appears to document Oberst’s search for enlightenment. NPR‘s Robin Hilton has already lauded The People’s Key as not only “the best record Bright Eyes has ever made” but “the best record the band’s frontman, Conor Oberst, has ever been a part of.” And if Oberst is able to stay on this path it might not be long before people again dust off those well worn Dylan comparisons in praising the singer/songwriter. This time around however, they might just be onto something.


It’s easy to get things mixed up normally, let alone when everything is seemingly in some state of chaos. A good friend is mistaken for an enemy, a drinking partner as a lover, and a career as a dead end. But when things begin to find a rhythm and appear in order, what’s to be done when the former chaos remains the only precedent for normalcy? That, friends, is the million dollar question.

Welcome to 1979 Studio (Nashville, TN)

Photos taken February 4, 2011 at Welcome to 1979 Studio in Nashville, TN.

Classic Williams Interview

Having just recently dropped his #SMH mixtape last month, Nashville’s Classic Williams is now inching his way closer to the release of his full length debut, Epic Win. Serving as an introduction to the MC, #SMH includes a wide range of genres reaching all the way from club-focused dance to no fuss hip hop. It’s a mixed bag of tracks, and it’d be disingenuous to suggest that they all come strong, but there are some cuts that are genuinely tight enough to stand behind as singles. Keeping that in mind, Williams himself calls the tracks on “throwaways,” insisting that #SMH won’t hold a candle to what’s yet to come. Recently speaking with the MC via email he explained his focus with the release, his perspective on the Nashville rap scene, and his fascination with Japanese anime. Until Epic Win drops, #SMH is available as a free download via Classic’s Bandcamp page.

Off the top, what does #SMH stand for?

Classic Williams: #SMH stands for “Shake My Head,” usually on Twitter people commonly use the expression #SMH as a way of looking down on other people or when someone or even themselves says something outlandish. I wanted to call my mixtape this because for one: music obviously makes you shake your head, for two: I wanted to use the power of the phrase trending to gain listeners. Also I felt like I was personally shaking my head at my many naysayers, haters, and perpetuates of negativity, because some people truly don’t know who I am, what my role and purpose to the Nashville hip hop scene is. But that will soon change.

You get things going strong on the mix real early on with “Who’s Doin’ That?” and “Sorority Girls” leading the way. The latter toys around with some hyper synth, a club-happy beat & Sebastian Garcia brings the track over the top in its club appeal with his vocals. What’s your connection to Garcia & how did you come to collaborating on the track?

Classic Williams: Sebastian Garcia was a classmate of mine at MTSU. We are both in the Recording Industry program. I heard that he did tracks so I told him about my music and the people that I knew. We knew some of the same people around Murfreesboro who did music, namely Jeff Cyrus, who I collaborate with heavily. I told him about this song that I had already done two versions of called “Sorority Girls.” Sooner or later me, him, and his producer/roommate Louis Magnotti came together to make the track. They own a production company called LIV Productions.

As far as the sound is concerned, that track sounds nothing like anything else on #SMH. Will we hear more of that sort of thing on Epic Win and how’s work coming along on the album? Also, will that be your official debut?

Classic Williams: As far as sound is concerned #SMH doesn’t have a particular sound. It’s got a little bit of everything, it’s like a grab bag of whatever you can think of from rock elements to R&B elements to even techno and pop. All of these records are, just to put it simply, “throwaways” just to show people I’m out here working. “Sorority Girls” sounds different from everything else because I’m going to be using that song to gain listeners in other areas. It’s basically just a really powerful hit I have under my notch I plan on taking advantage of, but that’s not where you get the full scope of what “Classic Williams” does. I Love Sorority Girls is up now and will fully launch later on in the spring and will have a whole plan for that song. The Soul of Nigger Charlie is my next project which will be helmed by Klassix Jones… billboard producer (“Walk with a Dip” by Louisiana Cash). It’s going to tell the story of my life. Then Epic Win, my official debut, which is already recorded; I’m just holding it back until it’s time. Expect it to completely blow your fucking face off, that’s all I’ll say (lol).

“Sorority Girls” is sandwiched between “Darlin’,” which utilizes a tender hook, and “Who’s Doing That?,” which is more of bass-heavy banger. Do you go through stages where you write certain types of songs or do you tend to mix it up along the way?

Classic Williams: However I feel at the time is what I write about. Sometimes it can be influenced by a situation that happened to me, other times it could be an extension of how the music makes me feel. I can go into the beat with somewhat of an idea, but what I did with a lot of the songs on #SMH was just get extremely intoxicated and zone the fuck out and freestyle it. That’s what I did with “Azzhole.” Matic threw on the beat and I was just like okay here it go “People always ask me… why you such an asshole” and I just built it up from there. Everything I write or freestyle about are real situations that have happened. “Darlin’” is about my ex-girlfriends—one in particular—I freestyled all the singing on that song. One of the reasons it varies so much is because, like I said before, #SMH really is a grab bag of songs. Some of those songs I’ve had under my belt for a long time I just never released like “Blue Magic.” It’s kind of a great metaphor for my life though, there’s so much going on and all you can really do is shake your head at it.

“Azzhole” is one of the stronger tracks on #SMH; what can you tell me about Matic Lee? Who worked production on that song and how did you bring it all together?

Classic Williams: Matic Lee is cool with my neighbor Anais Briggs who is a singer/songwriter. Matic has done a lot of production for Strange Music and Tech N9ne. He made the beat to “Azzhole” and spit a verse on it as well. He has a studio at his house and I went over there after work one night and bam! Studio magic.

Tell me a bit about what “#Hateraid Tweetsyle” is.

Classic Williams: The “Hateraide Tweetstyle” kind of makes up the guts of the project. It was basically just like a big fuck you. People have so many opinions about my place in the “Nashville Rap Scene” and niggas really don’t know my magnitude. I made a song for my friend’s fraternity my freshman year of college that still gets views from all over the world. People from Poland, the Netherlands, the west and east coast of the US, and all over the south, have heard the name Classic Williams. People try to compete with me when we aren’t even geographically close to being competition. So lines like “fans all over the world and I ain’t even on yet,” these are all real statements. Niggas try to compete with the rapper next door. I’m competing with my favorite rappers in my head. I ultimately outshine them in the end.

On the Twitter front: is there a story behind your Twitter handle?

Classic Williams: AstroBoyClassic is my Twitter name because I’m a huge Otaku (Japanese anime nerd douchebag) and AstroBoy is this anime about this boy robot. I like the “AstroBoy” handle because frankly I’m fucking crazy and out of this world so it just fits. My other nickname is Otaku Steez Ichigo… which basically means I'm like the #1 nerd douchebag with swag, so to speak. I might go watch Fullmetal Alchemist or DragonBall Z or something really childish like that, turn around, get your bitch really high and fuck the shit out of her. Who’s doing that?

Stepping away from the album a bit, on your site you say “The same artists that a few years ago were championed as ‘the next big thing’ are still being championed.” What was the thought you had when you first wrote that? Was it aimed at anyone in particular?

Classic Williams: It wasn’t necessarily aimed at anyone in particular. The Nashville hip hop scene is all flash but the camera doesn’t have any film in it. Niggas just use the whole music thing as a hustle to make money and be that nigga in the club and fuck girls who want to be famous. The same people in Nashville rapping have been doing it for years and haven’t gotten anywhere other than Nashville besides Young Buck. Niggas either getting fucked deals, or just disappear over time. It’s time for something different! I’m tired of people lying about their lives and mainly I’m sick and tired of Nashville being called the “Music City” but they only cater to one genre of music: country. There are so many talented individuals in the city and it’s NOT JUST COUNTRY MUSIC. We have more studios than any place else in the world, every major record company, every major publishing company, every performance rights organization within a two mile radius. It’s ridiculous! They tried to rewrite our history… when urban or black music is just as much apart of Nashville than ANY other genre. Google the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

What is the Klowd Krowd and who’s all involved in that?

Classic Williams: Kloud Krowd was an idea my friend Brandon Clark thought of. Him and my cousin DJ Rawtune formed a blog. It’s kind of like our version of Taylor Gang, very much inspired by the Taylors, but it’s really just like our clique name, and the name of my fanbase. We’re trying to expand it into a full fledge brand with clothes, etc. Every good rapper needs a movement. My grandfather always told me never to follow the crowd. So instead we created our own. Now the crowd follows us. Anyone can rep Kloud Krowd. It’s about embracing your uniqueness and doing your own thing and not giving a fuck what anyone thinks about it. Praising God and looking towards to the sky, following your dreams.

Friend Requests

My curiosity kinda perks up when I get a “friend request” on Facebook from someone who I clearly don’t know. This doesn’t even include weird “I haven’t spoken to you for well over two years” requests, or the “I won’t give you the time of day in real life, yet here I am” requests, but simply the people who are flat out alien to my life. Who are these people? What is the motivation? What can be gained from “friending” someone who you couldn’t pick out of a lineup? A quantitative gain, maybe; 1000 friends looks better on a social resume than 10. But there has to be something more.

Part of this issue touches on something deeper for me, personally. Over the last two years or so my life has largely become based on numbers. Working for myself, my worth as a breadwinner is based on pageviews and my ability to somehow turn those into money. Whatever I can do to potentially increase those numbers should technically help drive the end and increase my income. So, does having 2000 followers on Twitter add value to me as a person? Only in that it could potentially increase income down the line. That’s the only way I can imagine justifying “following” 25,000 people on Twitter to receive some 20,000 “followers.” The people who do that still baffle me though, because to simply make the time investment worthwhile, there has to be something more driving them to go to such lengths.

In my life an issue developed once these numbers became the primary focus of what I’m doing. The result was a bit of a blurred sense of what is actually of worth. Is establishing a network of 1000 “friends” somewhere worth something because it could lead to few more bucks every day? Maybe. Because something larger could develop from the “networking”? Potentially. But personally I’ve had a problem in the past keeping this element of online interaction — and its potential for professional growth — separate from how I perceive my worth as an individual. Is something I write only worth the pageviews it receives? Am I only “liked” as much as what my digital footprint suggests? Of course not, but it’s hard to see that when that aspect of life is made paramount. If numbers are behind everything, then everything becomes related to those numbers.

So what’s driving people to reach out to a stranger online? All I can think, based on where I’m coming from, is that it comes from some sense of perceived potential value. Had the “friend request” at least come with some sort of personal extension — a note, a “hi” or a “this is who I am” — it might translate as something completely different. But as it stands, I can’t see it as anything but a stab at increasing perceived value. I still struggle with this: valuing my life through numbers. Occasionally I have my moments of online penis envy — feeling lesser because my metrics don’t compare — but I’m getting better at realizing that the one really doesn’t have a ton of impact on the other unless you let it; online interaction and personal life. I am who I am not because of what some sample of data tells me, but because of what no data in the world can.

Someone Else's Eyes

It’s hard seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes.

I was watching a movie tonight and a character said something to the effect of “I just don’t want you to remember me like that.”

Think of a relationship you had in the past and try to think about the moments of interaction that stand out. Think about what you consider a good relationship and ask yourself if the other party might have the same feeling. Was that same interaction positive from their perspective? Same goes for a negative relationship; would that interaction be a negative or positive memory from the other person’s point of view?

I have a lot of brokenness on that level. If I were another person remembering me, remembering the brief amount of time they knew me, or remembering the interaction they had with me, the imbalance between those who might think of me in a positive light and those who wouldn’t likely weighs far heavier on the latter. There are a lot of positive memories I have which, in hindsight, are really one-sided in that regard. For the vast majority of my life I haven’t let people see the good that there is. And honestly, they haven’t been given much of a choice in the matter of how they should remember me. I really regret that.

I guess the goal here is to work on looking at each moment objectively. The only way to go through life not having to apologize to everyone along the way, saying “I just don’t want you to remember me like that,” is to stop putting yourself in those situations to begin with. Yes, the thing that matters most is how you feel about yourself and it shouldn’t really be your top priority to concern yourself with how others think of you. But there is a difference between saying “I don’t care what other people think” and saying “I don’t care what other people are given to remember.” The more you’re able to do things to build positive memories the likelier it becomes that people remember you for something good. This can be as small a gesture as a smile. It’s silly how simple that might sound, but that’s really all you can do. And that is important. From there you can’t control what they think, you can only control the effort you put into making sure that their interaction with you is as positive as you believe it can be from their given perspective.

Yeah, it’s hard seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes, but that’s the only perspective the rest of the world has when interacting with you. Hopefully I can be a little more mindful of that as days go by.