I used to be a huge Emery fan, ranking them probably at number 3 or 4 in my top five bands. Their CD "The Question" is still incredible, featuring fantastic songs like this one:
"The Question" is a complete album -- from start to finish it just feels solid -- and these are my favorite albums to listen to. Another example of what I'd call a "complete" album is House of Heroes' "The End is Not the End." Check that one out...it'll blow your mind.
Emery followed up "The Question" with "I'm Only a Man," which dealt a lot with struggles men of my parent's generation go through. I'm not exactly sure what Emery was saying with that album (sometimes it seems they excuse a lot of the failures that that generation is becoming known for), but it still got me through a tough time where I became disillusioned with my father's generation. Maybe that's why I like the album so much...good stories that are relevant to life.
But then they released an EP and an album that were less than spectacular, and certainly not "complete." Emery fell back in my rankings and I kind of gave up on them. They also recently released another album that felt similar -- as if they traded in the creativity that once defined them for a heavier sound, which doesn't make up for it if you ask me.
It sucks when bands get worse, doesn't it?
But as I enter the realm of MP3's (I'm kind of late on that one), I listen to entire albums less, and more just whatever song my MP3 player chooses at random. This has its purposes, but don't ever stop listening to full albums because then you miss songs like this, which is actually two songs juxtaposed to each other:
That's from their first not-that-good album. Isn't it a great song though? I realized, that Emery is still good and writing really good songs, but they just don't fit together as a cohesive album like they used to.
Here's one that struck me from their newest album:
So the lesson is...listen to Emery! All of it at random and in order.
I recently had a conversation with some friends about selfishness...
I was a bit surprised, but also not so much so, that they unanimously agreed that selfishness and looking out for yourself is the best way to live. I think Katt Williams based a stand up show on the same concept with something like, "You gotta look out for the number one pimp" (couldn't find a direct quote for that).
I couldn't think of much to say in rebuttal that didn't draw a direct reference from the Bible, and seeing as the Bible wasn't necessarily a trusted source with these guys, I chose not to. A friend reminded me today, though, that the Bible is a source just like any other, and I should never be afraid to use it. It's true, and I regret it. Never be afraid to drop some truth on people, right?
However, something that did pop in my mind, that I wish I had mentioned, was the amount of devastation I've seen selfishness do to families all over the country in the past few years. You've heard the story: a father/husband gets tired of being married or being unhappy, or he does not like where his life is going, so he decides a new wife/family (or no family at all) is the necessary change. Little does he realize that his selfishness will leave behind a broken trail of distrust and heartache that is miles long, while he tries his best to get everything he wants. It's a pattern I see far too often, and each time, all I want to do is punch the guy in the face.
Or how about our economy? Isn't the economic crisis our country is in directly related to a bunch of selfish people who decided to squeeze as much money as they could out of those who ultimately couldn't afford to pay their house loans?
Media shows it too: so many shows that are big right now seem to feature a bunch of selfish people living out selfish lives, and the results are disastrous. So Hollywood is exploring these characters and finding that selfishness is nothing but a mess, and still we want to emulate them? That doesn't make sense...
To me, living a selfish life is about trying to control your existence. It seems hopeless. I imagine Smeagol clinging to the ring, even though it's killing him. Wouldn't it be better to instead trust that there is someone bigger than you that will provide for your needs? It's much freer at least. Although, if you don't have that faith, then I can maybe understand why you'd live for yourself.
Still, what about community and family? Living for other people, taking care of each other? I'd say anything that causes you to live beyond yourself is better. After all, when we're gone, what can we take with us that selfishness will gain?