Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oh, Inverted World: My Decade with Wes Anderson and the Shins

You gotta read this post... it'll change your life.

This time ten years ago, I was a senior in high school. Sadly, my favorite bands were probably Green Day and Linkin Park and my favorite movie was, sigh, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. A year later, that all changed. It happened a little like in the movie Garden State. No, I wasn't encouraged to listen to the Shins by Natalie Portman at a doctor's office, but the Shins were indeed brought up in conversation by a cute girl I sat next to in PSYCH 1101 my freshman year at Georgia Tech. At the time, I had never heard of the band. I simply nodded in agreement as she lauded the Shins debut album. Somewhat curious and eager to impress the girl, I made a note to give the album (Oh, Inverted World) a listen. That afternoon, I heard Caring Is Creepy, New Slang, and the rest of the record for the first time and entered the fantastic world of indie rock.

I became an indie sponge. A hipster-in-training. Out went System Of a Down and Staind and in came Wilco and Death Cab For Cutie. I read up on bands and started going to shows. I think I downloaded every album Pitchfork recommended that year. The Shins had completely changed my taste in music.

Soon, the thirst for better music became a thirst for better movies. I got into Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie and spent hours trying to figure out the meanings of Donnie Darko, Magnolia, and Mulholland Drive. No film, however, had as big an impact on me as Wes Anderson's Rushmore. There was and is something about that movie that stuck with me. Whether it's the witty dialogue, the detailed direction, the terrific soundtrack, or simply the story of young, unrequited love, Rushmore moved me then and still moves me today. It is and probably always will be my favorite movie.

So why this nostalgic David Hammock decade in review? It just so happens that both of the aforementioned major cultural influences released previews of new projects this past week. Below you will find Simple Song, the first single from the Shins' new album Port of Morrow, as well as the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson's latest effort. Though a decade has passed since I first fell in love with these two artists, I still get excited every time they put out something new. The new album and movie may never be as poignant or as life-altering as their work was to me years ago, and maybe I don't want it to be, but maybe it's the launching point for another college freshman's path to creative discovery... or maybe they'll change my life again... I hear Shins songs can do that.

Sic Transit Gloria,

David Hammock

Simple Song by The Shins