Having retrieved my headphones from my previous computer at work, I was able yesterday at last to find an acceptable source of free and unblocked music for me to listen to at work. Given my tendency to be highly anxious and easily distracted, I find listening to music to be a good way to keep my stress levels low as I plow through various data-intensive tasks. Yesterday I decided to listen to a couple of Adult Contemporary stations and today I listened to an Adult Alternative station that had the annoying tendency of teasing songs for a second that I wanted to listen to and then moving on to other songs. My fondness for listening to music while I work is not a new phenomenon , and I comment on it here as a way of helping to elucidate how my mind works, as the way my mind works is interesting to me even if it not always very interesting to others.
One thing I have found out in listening to music is that I knew a lot more music implicitly than I knew explicitly. This ought not to be a surprise given how long I have been listening to music and how poor many radio stations are at giving information on the songs that they are playing to listeners. A few examples should suffice. This afternoon I listened to a song, “Bros” by Wolf Alice, and realized that its quirky lyrics about being raised by wolves  had inspired the title to a previous blog entry. Yesterday, I realized I liked more songs by the Jets than I had thought, as YouTube is always trying to get me to listen to “You’ve Got It All” when I really like “Make It Real” far better, as it suits my own melancholy sort of romanticism. Also, I realized that I was more familiar with the Kenny G discography than I had realized. One of the funnier bits in the Todd In The Shadows video about the worst songs of 1987 is his horror at the fact that Kenny G had a hit. In fact, he had quite a few hits, and was a successful enough musician that I think I will add him fairly soon to my list of posts in the pipeline about acts unfairly excluded from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Let it never be said that I tired of tilting at windmills in unpopular causes.
Not all news about music is as entertaining, though, as realizing you love a nearly entirely forgotten top 10 hit from a nearly entirely forgotten Mormon family R&B group (!). Sadly, my news feed and e-mail inbox has been filled since last night with rather alarming news about a recent terror attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, Great Britain. As someone who makes terror attacks and the larger context of terrorism part of my beat as a writer , I pondered quite a few questions. Why does it appear as if concerts are so heavily at risk for this sort of attack? Why would this particular concert be targeted? Was there something about the music of Miss Grande that was viewed as particularly offensive, or something about the fans of this particular singer that were viewed as particularly suitable as targets, or was it essentially a random target of convenience? I wonder this, and I am sure the singer is wondering this as well, as there is nothing in her own body of work that would suggest that she has a broader cultural interest in her music than representing fairly conventional contemporary views on cultural politics that are in the West. If she is not a particularly morally upright person in terms of her personal views, neither does she seem particularly ahead of the curve when it comes to being a model of decadence. She’s not particularly behind the curve, no traditionalist for sure, but she is no Lady Gaga or anyone along those lines in being particularly interested in supporting artistic decadence.
It is a bit ironic, to be sure, that a young woman whose last album called her a Dangerous Woman even if it presented her rather cutely in bunny ears, is at least in danger as she is a danger to others. She has postponed her Dangerous Woman tour, which was supposed to work its way through cities in Europe, Central and South America, East and Southeast Asia, and Oceania, until further notice. It is one thing to be a dangerous woman, or to view oneself as a dangerous woman, and it is entirely a less pleasant matter to be a woman in danger. One wants to be setting the tone and receiving a certain sort of attention, not putting one’s life on the line to sing pop music. It is unclear what exactly the purpose of this terror attack was. It has certainly made Ariana Grande a figure in the history of contemporary terrorism, which she certainly never had any desire to be. It has postponed her tour, likely costing her many hours of sleep and a struggle with PTSD as she recovers from the horror of seeing death and destruction brought to her concert experience, and possibly costing her a great deal of money as a result of cancelled tickets and rainchecks and the like. To fully understand terror understands that we crawl into the mind of those who like to inflict horror and suffering upon others for their own dark purposes, and for us to understand that sort of evil we must be that evil ourselves. How to eliminate such evil to the best of our abilities, and how to cope with the anxieties and uncertainties of contemporary life, is the sort of task we turn to. For truly we are dangerous people in dangerous times.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: