Wednesday, December 15


There’s this really old cartoon called Rocky and Bullwinkle. Each episode would start with Bullwinkle (a moose) announcing to Rocky (a squirrel?) that he was going to pull a rabbit out of his hat and then he’d proceed to pull out a growling lion and frantically shout that he must have grabbed the wrong hat. Well…watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.

Here…I’m just going to reach inside, grab this guy by its little ears, pull…and, um…well, here’s my pick for favorite album of the year! I guess you could say that, like fashion or style, picking a favorite album is a highly subjective endeavor. I have to admit that my selection isn’t as meaningful to me as it was when I was younger. I used to agonize over my favorite album. Now I just pick. Perhaps this is the way it is with fashion too: one day you’re wrestling over what to wear, pulling out this and that, and then one day you’re old, living in some senior citizen community and you’re pulling out a pair of old brown polyester pants without really caring what anyone thinks. Anyhow. This year my pick for favorite album is: The Nationals, High Violet. They had me with the line – “I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees.”

I assume by now you’re all asking yourselves what the Christmas does my favorite album have to do with fashion and style? Well, that’s a good question and worthy of an answer other than “I must have grabbed the wrong hat.” Hopefully I’ll manage to connect the dots for you and if I don’t there’s worse things in life.

Now, I’ve been told I look good in a suit but I’m not so sure, I think it’s just a line people feed me. I’m really more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. You see, when I wear a suit I always feel like an impostor, the same as if I slipped on a white lab coat and pretended to be a highly intelligent scientist. I might be able to walk around the lab for a while and blend in but sooner or latter I’d have to actually do something. I’ve heard that there are elements that will explode if you don’t mix them properly. I’ve never felt comfortable in a suit. I think that’s the most important aspect of fashion: you have to wear something with a degree of confidence. If you don’t, well, it’s just not going to work. The Nationals’ High Violet is a very confident album played with a straightforward honest attitude. Maybe that’s another reason why it’s so enjoyable.

Here’s another connection The Nationals have with fashion. Unlike many popular bands these guys perform in concert tastefully dressed in suits, ties, and nice shirts. Although I do feel there’s a slightly Monty-Pythonish quality to their fashion tastes. Like me, they don’t seem able to pull off the whole wearing a suit with confidence routine but for a rock band that might be a good thing. Rock stars can sometimes find themselves being perceived as egocentric elitists. A little awkwardness goes a long way in establishing a common bond with their fans. Although I have to admit that lead singer Matt Berninger rivals only myself in his apparent suit-wearing discomfort. He also has a tendency to appear slightly inebriated and I’m not sure if that can be contributed to his attire or the consumption of alcohol but I suspect the ladder.

Music and fashion have always had a long-standing common-law marriage. Music sets a tone; it establishes style. Try to picture a fashion show without music. And need I point out the countless marriages between rock stars and fashion models? I didn’t think so. So in closing, let’s review: fashion requires confidence, style is subjective, The Nationals’ High Violet is the best damn album of the year and always remember if you’re going to pull a rabbit out of a hat make sure you’ve got the right hat.

Anyhow, I guess this has all been a long way for me to say…check out this video, and tell me it doesn’t get stuck in your head! And since everything’s subjective – what’s your favorite album of the year? Bend my ear and tickle my brain.

Love this song.


Amanda Ashby said...

Greg - nice dot connecting!!!!! Oh and my husband swears fashion and music go together as well - especially when he is watching the Fashion Channel!!!

Anyway, Lungs by Florence and the Machine was my fav album of the year and quite possibly ever.

Wendy Toliver said...

Great post, Greg. I watched the video and liked it.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Excellent dot connecting and I've been meaning to check out The National!

My favorite album this year is probably American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem.