Today seems like an appropriate time to tell the story of how I “met” Weird Al Yankovic. It’s as good a day as any. Mostly because I am eating cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory as I write this. #fat
Also because, as a professor told me I would, I seem to be running into the first wall of the year with this project. While I would never say I “dread” writing each day or that it has become a chore, the honeymoon period is over. I am still enjoying it, of course. But after writing 133 reflections in the 133 days that have passed this year, it has started to wear on me.
The albums that I get up for are my favorites. The ones, like today’s – Toro y Moi’s Causers of This – while good, have me struggling to come up with what to say.
You could call them retroactive reviews (of some sort), but I never set out to do album reviews with this project. It has morphed over time, and it’s now become less about the album itself, and more about my involvement with it.
The only time I don’t feel this sense of being jaded is for my “desert island” albums or ones that I have listened to ad nauseum. Causers of This isn’t one of them, but it’s still a damn fine album.
In July of 2010, I went with my girlfriend to stay in Melbourne, Florida. As I’ve documented before, I adore anything that has to do with the Atlantic Ocean in Florida. Though I’ve not yet visited the Pacific, the Atlantic will always be in my heart for a number of reasons.
We had gotten a ridiculous deal on a room at the Hilton. I try to make at least a few treks over to the other coast during the summer because being in the Atlantic makes me feel like I did growing up, staying at my aunt’s beachfront hotel in Daytona.
The trip from Tampa to anywhere on the other side blows, hard, as this image depicts:
I don’t know if I’ve gone “on record” with this before, but out of any of the major cities in Florida, Orlando is bar none the worst. I loathe everything about Disney and don’t understand the obsession that some people (read: adults) have with it. I personally think that it has to do with an inability to have grown up lifestyles and relationships, but I’ll digress before this opinion ends friendships.
Driving to shows in Orlando used to not be so bad when I lived in Brooksville, which is northeast of Tampa. But man, from out here? With traffic, two hours of hell. I4 cuts right through the heart of the state and I’m not sure how else to explain how terrible it is. Driving in Florida, especially though the Everglades, is painful and boring. We are a flat state, with no scenery except trees for hundreds of miles. If I could manage to budget just flying everywhere in the state, I would.
Anyway, the point is that to escape the west coast’s lack of waves, one must experience the Atlantic in its full glory during summer. If possible, during the weekday, because that’s when less people will be on the beach. If it’s a summer weekend, don’t bother.
When we arrived at the Hilton, we found multiple tour buses in the parking lot. Not unusual, because it is the preferred method of some tourists. But after a trip to survey the location, in the pool area, we happened upon this man:
It was as weird as you might anticipate.
Look, I’m not one for meeting celebrities anymore. My phase of ogling the independent music scene’s demi-gods is well over. I have come to the realization (perhaps sooner than some of my peers, even) that, in spite of whatever wealth and “status” someone has obtained, they’re still just people. Human beings, like me and you, with parents and fears and bills.
As such, I try to give them their personal space. I’ve not been around an “A-Lister” thus far, but I imagine the protocol is the same.
So when Al and I met eyes and had that mutual recognition of “Oh shit, that’s ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic,” and “Great, I’ve been found out,” instead of approaching him and asking for a picture or whatever, we merely exchanged “what’s up” head nods and left it at that. He was just another dude, dipping his legs in the pool while we swam. Except that he was flanked by a security detail and someone looking very out of place wearing a pantsuit at the pool, and that Al was performing later at the sold-out King Arena in Melbourne.
Later, on the way to dinner, we saw Al walking down the sidewalk by himself. It was as bizarre a sight as I can recall in my young adult life: a highly respected musician in a small town, traipsing about, all by his lonesome. We almost stopped to offer him a ride, but that would have fallen under the category of “stalker-esque.”
How does all that relate to Causers of This?
I’m not real sure, but I think we listened to it on the way over there.
From that album, here’s “Minors” –
Standout tracks: “Blessa” and “Freak Love”
Weakest track: “Fax Shadow” – when did this become a djent record?
RIYL: Washed Out, Neon Indian, Twin Shadow. Dream pop, new wave, dream wave, chillwave.