The first season of South Park debuted in 1997. I was a freshman in high school. An episode came out in December of that year that involved the school putting on a Christmas program, only all the parents wanted it to be either non- or universally-denominational, so the whole thing ended up being performed in unitards and it was all very cold and strange. One of the jokes circled around the fact that the music was composed by Philip Glass. Out of the group with which I was watching, I was the only one who laughed at that joke, because I was the only band nerd in the group who had any idea who Philip Glass was.
The joke fit the narrative. This was a play stripped of all decoration and pomp being accompanied by minimalist music. It was also an easy joke, because jokes about minimalist music are fairly easy to make. There’s no guitar riffs, there’s no hook, there’s no chorus. It starts with an idea. That idea is built upon, added to, modified, deconstructed, rearranged. Then, at the end, it’s right back to where it started. No matter how different or unique things get in the middle, that original idea is just under the surface — always present. It imitates life more than any other style of music. Life throws us all kinds of garbage, but it’s tragically repetitive. Babies, new jobs, weird guys on the bus, movies — they are all tiny differences, tiny theme changes, from the pulsing march of our lives. Baseball, more than any other sport, mimics that as well. There’s a beginning, there’s a bunch of wonderful and heartbreaking stuff in the middle, and then it ends. The day before Opening Day is the day after the last World Series game. Over and over — rinse, repeat. Read the rest of this entry »