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You Seem Strange

May 27, 2008

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My husband and a friend had just installed a new CD DVD drive in our computer and were looking for the closest disc around to test it out. On the desk in plain view was “The Failure” by B. Dolan and I drew in a deep breath when my husband loaded it into the drive. He innocently inquired, “What kind of music does this guy do? Ballads?” I responded meekly, “No, no, not ballads,” and waited for his reaction. When the first track started, my husband glared suspiciously at the Windows Media Player Visualization screen. “Is this Satanic music?” he asked me.

I am going to give B. Dolan a chance, and I’ll elaborate why. I am open-minded about music and although I can quickly decipher between what I think is “good” music and what I think is “bad” music, admitting that the first track on this CD does sound Satanic does not necessarily put the entire album into the “bad” category in my opinion. He is a performance artist whose stage personality thrives on controversy and causing emotional reactions in his audience. I’m reminded of Buddy Wakefield, who also provokes his audience with raw poetic style.

I’m also reminded of Guillermo Gomez-Peña, another performance artist thriving on controversy, who incessantly prods and pokes at his audience, willing us to reconsider our relationship with the stranger, the foreign, the invader.

To get an idea of what kind of person B. Dolan is, I read the “History” page of his website. I discovered that he is the co-founder of the very useful website Knowmore.org and uses hip-hop, rap and poetry to spark creativity in at-risk young people. Can you see the benefits of not judging a book by its cover? Although he is accurately described by a YouTube commenter as having “the look of a real psychopath satanic clown nightmare prison rapist,” his life’s purpose is beautiful. He calls out hypocrites, and obliterates the unconsciousness that causes humans to put up barriers.

I’ve been listening to this album for about 2 weeks. It is growing on me. It seemed so strange at first, but now it seems familiar. Some gems on this album are “Knock Knock”, “Heart Failure”, and my favorite, “Joan of Arcadia”. Even if you don’t think you’ll like B. Dolan’s music, please visit his website, Knowmore.org and know more about conscious consumption.

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B. Dolan

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18 Comments
  1. May 27, 2008 6:26 pm

    You are one interesting person and I enjoy getting to know what is in your head. You push and pull, don’t you? good stuff – makes me think.

  2. May 27, 2008 7:16 pm

    It’s so important to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones! I love the way music can help us do that, it is one reason why it can be such a big influence. Thanks for posting about him! I’ll have to check out more of his music.

  3. May 27, 2008 8:07 pm

    This music first struck me as a little creepy, but I went to the website and read the lyrics to “Joan of Arcadia.” I think I get what he was trying to say and it was quite poetic.

    I’ve always been somewhat drawn to things that disturb me – movies and music. I like Marilyn Manson’s music, and although I think he’s a sick and twisted persona, I think there is something to learn from him.

    Are you at all familiar with Tori Amos? She’s not this dark, but she dabbles in the controversial. 😉

  4. May 27, 2008 9:07 pm

    OH OH OH!!! Brian!!! I am a total Tori head. Anytime she has been anywhere near here me on tour, I go see her. Did you see her on Perez Hilton’s Diva special? It made me fall in love with her all over again. Ahhh… Tori.

    Ok, I’m almost done going psycho about T.A. Sorry about that FW but anytime anyone brings her up (which is not that often), I have to dive into the conversation. I seriously listen to her everyday and there’s hardly anyone that I can share my love affair with *sigh*

    Anyways, I applaud your effort to understand different types of music FW. As a self professed victim of musical A.D.D., I can appreciate a lot of different stuff. I think B. Dolan’s music (at least what I heard in that clip) might be a little more than where I’m at in life. 10 years ago, I would have been all over it but I feel a lot more chill now. It’s been a while since I listened to my Nine Inch Nails CD’s and Therapy’s Troublegum. But I can still greatly admire their talent as lyricists. His song Joan of Arcadia is a lot easier to swallow while reading it. And like Brian said, you can see what he was trying to point out.

    Oh yeah… one more thing teehee. Was your husband after hearing this CD happier about you being an independent thinker as a woman? Or is he wishing you didn’t think so much?

  5. May 27, 2008 10:24 pm

    CuriousC, yep, that’s me. Thanks for sticking around even when I am pushing and pulling.

    Deb, thanks for checking him out. You are right about how music grabs our attention.

    Brian, the video is a mix of some of the tracks that promotes the album. The songs are a lot more coherent than the video is. I should have pointed that out in my original post. I love Tori’s music. I have “Boys for Pele” and many songs on that album have lyrics with the same themes of raw sex and orgasms and Jesus. You are not the only one drawn to the disturbing music!

    Chris, I love how you’re all, “I would have liked this 10 years ago.” You crack me up! My husband declined to opine about the CD. 🙄 He doesn’t want to put in the effort to listen to it and discuss it. He made a snap judgment as usual.

  6. May 27, 2008 11:29 pm

    Chris cracked me up with her Tori love-fest. I listen to Tori all the time, too. I think I have every album she’s ever done, and I also have her video collection on DVD. At the risk of sounding like a Calgon commercial… it takes me away. 😀

    Anyhoo, it’s kinda funny how you like something and your husband won’t even consider it. But that’s the way relationships often are – opposites attract. I LOVE dance music, but my partner says it gives him a headache. I love pink flamingos, but he thinks they’re tacky. You get the picture.

  7. May 27, 2008 11:32 pm

    OMG.

    Do you believe in coincidence? I’m kind of freaked out right now, because I decided to check out Chris’ blog and I see that she has a post entitled “Calgon, Take Me Away.” I swear I did not see that before I made my Calgon comment.

    OMG.

  8. Rick Toone permalink
    May 28, 2008 8:36 am

    Poetry professor once gave a pretty good definition of art…

    “The purpose of art is to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable.”

    Would that apply in this instance?

    🙂

  9. May 28, 2008 9:18 am

    AAAAHHHH! That is really really wierd Brian. I thought for sure you were making a reference to my post. Thats a crazy coincidence. It’s not like those commercials have been on lately to make us think of it. Wierd and wacky stuff. Did you get goosebumps?

    I had every album she’s ever done but I only had a taped version (old school, i know) of Under the Pink the B sides. I lost that tape a while ago and have been searching on the net forever trying to find ANYwhere I could get my hands on it. I can’t even say which album I love the most. They’ve all been there for me at some point in my life. But I would dare say that Boys for Pele was for real her most volatile one. Genius combined with amazing piano skills. Ironically, I was just trying to figure out what Tori song to post for my anniversary post. I was considering A Case of You. Anyways…

    Yes, FW, I was an angry teen. Imagine that… an angry teen. I don’t know if I could have been anymore stereotypical. The rebel. I wasn’t goth but I was something. Mostly a mixed up pup. I had a lot of issues to deal with emotionally and scars to revisit. All of that combined to make me a very angry teen. I dealt with a lot of my anger through music (i.e. NIN, Therapy, Tool & Alice in Chains). I was all about ‘damn the man’ and bucking the system so B.Dolan’s music would have been welcome. I was just thinking I needed to post about my old self. I’m so domesticated now, people don’t believe who I’ve evolved from LOL. Music mends the soul. I love that you introduce us to new music here. Keep throwing it at us… I do so enjoy it 😀 At least you’ll be making us expand our minds even if DH won’t.

  10. May 28, 2008 11:47 am

    Rick, that definition certainly applies! Thanks for sharing it.

  11. May 28, 2008 11:49 am

    LOVE what Rick said.

  12. May 28, 2008 4:05 pm

    Just wanted to say hi and see how you are doing! HUGS!

  13. May 29, 2008 3:09 am

    Interesting that my initial thought as I was reading, was: “On the computer you can rip the disk and burn a new one without the first track.” Then I got to the part that said: “He calls out hypocrites, and obliterates the unconsciousness that causes humans to put up barriers.” I guess in my case, he generates the consciousness that causes me to put up barriers. 😉

  14. May 29, 2008 7:53 am

    Bikkuri, that track is the beginning of the story. The rest of the CD depends on it, like a progression. It just scared my husband because he wasn’t ready for that kind of sound. It’s not for everyone (especially if you are expecting ballads, lol).

  15. May 29, 2008 12:14 pm

    I should attribute the quote…

    Peter Wood taught undergraduate poetry at The College of New Jersey throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. He was my mentor, and I enjoyed several independent studies under his tutorage. He, more than anyone else, is responsible for sharpening my wordsmithing skills.

    He also encouraged my love of bicycling. Inspired by his NJ to CO travels, the summer I graduated, a friend and I made the trek from VA to CA.

    I’ve lost touch with him. He’s long since retired. Google does not reveal much.

    I believe the quote is his original thought.

  16. You, madam, are no Sei Shonagon permalink
    June 2, 2008 8:17 pm

    Oh absolutely, yes! Thanks for this. Have you heard Sage Francis? I really like him, some of his stuff is more lyrical. And the words, the words…

  17. You, madam, are no Sei Shonagon permalink
    June 2, 2008 8:22 pm

    This video got me started with Sage Francis:

  18. June 3, 2008 11:04 am

    Rick, thanks for attributing the quote. He sounds like a great man. Maybe you could call the alumni office or the dean of faculty and ask about where he is now.

    Madam, that is an interesting song/video. Thanks for pointing me to it. 😀

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