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July 2, 2004

Aural Pleasure does the Time Warp

Hi folks, and welcome to the newest attraction here at Chicago Maroon Voices Park—The Time Warp: Behind the Music Journalist. It's a mind-bending indoor roller-coaster adventure into the depths of a new music journalist's brain every week. This week, our featured writer is the self-deprecating, brutally honest, and occasionally funny Dave Maher. I happen to know that Dave is doing some spri—er, summer cleaning, so this should be a pretty wild ride. Now before we get started, let me just warn you that because of the scattered and prolific nature of Dave's thoughts, this ride will not be suitable for everyone. Young children, pregnant women, and those intolerant of self-indulgence are all discouraged from riding The Time Warp.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's head inside. One last warning: some of these music journalists' thoughts are more difficult to decipher than others, and Chicago Maroon and its affiliates take no responsibility for any lack of coherence or confusion resulting from this ride. You will hear snippets of thoughts, see scattershot images, and be rolled along the track at varying speed. We hope only that you are able to make some kind of sense or meaning out of what is presented to—or rather, hurled at, he he—you. Alright, let's go. Whooooaaaa

Man, we are just speeding along here, folks. The information monitor in my car here is telling me that we are getting a glimpse into the musical purchases, thoughts, and feelings Dave has made and had over a period of about 10 days. Starting his summer off right is My Morning Jacket's recent full-length It Still Moves. What you're seeing on your left is some streaming holographic video of Dave driving around, drinking Diet Pepsi Vanilla, eating two Klondike bars, and talking to himself—doing some serious thinking I imagine, unless he's finally lost his marbles, ha ha ha—on Sunday night.

Perfect summer night driving music.

Sounds like we're starting to hear things too, folks. Don't be alarmed. Like I said before, those are just his thoughts. Way back in the corner of the building, if you look really closely, you can see the covers of Talib Kweli's and DJ Hi-Tek's Reflection Eternal, and the Beach Boys' double album reissue Sunflower/Surf's Up. He must not have really delved into those yet. But wow, hey! T. Rex's Electric Warrior is cowering over us right now.

This groove, another album of great driving music, except any time.

Looks like we're jumping ahead about a week to seeing Dave and his dad swim and play inflatable pool-toy chicken to Electric Warrior as well. I guess it's not just good driving music.

Okay, we've moved back in time, and we're slowing way down. What we're now experiencing is Dave's mental lull during his drive up to Michigan this past weekend to drop off his sister at arts camp. Fortunately, you can hear the transcendent, absorbing sounds of Sufjan Stevens' Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lake State. And he's popping in his recently-purchased copy of Cincinnati-based Over the Rhine's newest (double) album, Ohio, as he crosses the border back into his home state. Watch him shiver as singer Karin Bergquist powerfully intones the word "hand" in the title track.

"I'm not buying music for a while after Ohio. I really want to enjoy it and some of the other stuff I've bought and let them sink in for a while, which means, for me, probably not more than about two weeks."

We're getting actual sentences now, folks, but wait—within three days of the last comment, here are two instances where Dave nearly breaks this promise to himself. Look to your left and you'll see him almost buying either Paul Simon's Negotiations and Love Songs or Rilo Kiley's The Execution of All Things at a Barnes & Noble, and look to your right to see him almost settle for buying Neil Young's Harvest and Ryan Adams' Heartbreaker (I happen to know he already owns burned copies of both) in addition to a $9.99 greatest hits collection of the Band. Fortunately, he's just leaving that Best Buy with some lemonade for his blood sugar. Smart choice, Mr. Maher.

We're back in the middle of this ten day period, again, and it looks like Dave is still struggling with that new Pedro the Lion album, Achilles Heel, from a while ago.

The drums on "Discretion" feel like I'm kicking them.

There's a feeling that it needs to exist in all of those spaces that it doesn't make sense to listen to it in (i.e. when feeling happy, content, full of potential; in the morning; etc.)

I'm gonna manually kick us out of this area; it doesn't look like there is an end to these thoughts, so we better escape before we get bogged down by them as much as Dave seems to be.

Right as we're leaving and the ride is slowing to a stop, you can see—right in front of you—Dave actually breaking that previous promise to himself by purchasing a used copy of the Cars' Heartbeat City. Tsk, tsk. But he did just get a job for the summer; it was the exact album he was looking for; and he did get it for less than nine bucks, so I guess we can excuse him, but just this once.

Well, everyone, that concludes today's ride. On behalf of Chicago Maroon and its affiliates, I hope you have enjoyed your ride on The Time Warp: Behind the Music Journalist. Come back next week, when we'll almost certainly have a more cohesive writer's mind to probe, and if you're not feeling too well, stop by the summer mix hall on your way out, where you can sit down in an air-conditioned building, order your thoughts, and create your very own summer mix tapes and CDs. It's cheap and therapeutic! Be careful unbuckling your harnessing and getting out of your seats. The exit is to your left. See you soon!