For the past year and a half I have been writing and recording a new album for Parallel Bars called Bowling Alone. I think it’s probably the best music I’ve done on all levels. It’s a very personal record that is meant to be fun yet complex, thought-provoking yet mindless, different yet familiar.
Bowling Alone is now available (on Bandcamp, iTunes, & Spotify) and nothing would make me happier than if you just listened. I’m not begging you to buy or forcing you to like/follow me on social media. I believe that the music can and should stand on it’s own and that if you create something great, people will find it. So take a listen. If it’s not for you, then fine, but at least you gave it a shot. If you do like it, then how about sharing it will friend? I love music and believe that discovering new bands/albums is one of the most exciting aspects of being a fan.
One of the big themes of the record is being alone. The feeling of being alone can be depressing, scary and crippling. It can also be empowering. The album borrows it’s title from Robert Putnam’s excellent book from 2000. In it he lays out the devolution of our societal social fabric. His book was written thirteen years ago. Things have only gotten worse. And I don’t feel good about it.
Over the past several months I’ve also been fascinated with etiology — the study of causation or origin; the question of Why? Why do people care about certain issues? What motivates us? Why did I record this album? It’s a very gray area with no easy answers.
There’s a famous scene from Mad Men where Don Draper talks about nostalgia to pitch Kodak’s new “Carousel” slide projector. He says that in Greek nostalgia literally means “pain from an old wound” and that it’s far more powerful than memory. So why do we always glamorize the past? We remember experiences fondly and therefore they’re put on a pedestal for the rest of our lives. As Putnam’s evidence shows, we were far better off socially back in the 1950’s than we are today. Cultures evolve but there’s always nostalgia. Is that because the past was truly better or because we think it was better in reference to our current situations? I don’t know.
Bowling Alone opens with the song “First to Leave.” In it there’s the line: “We’re just a click away/never more connected/I feel isolated and alone now more than ever.” I think it speaks to the odd juxtaposition of our society today and serves as a pretty good mission statement for the record.
If you listen and have thoughts on some of these issues or others, please share them in the comments. You can stream Bowling Alone below or you can get it in various places. The Parallel Bars site is a good place to start.
Thank you for your time. I think I’ll go…