is this a genre now because I keep* seeing these and
*ok so it’s just, like, 2. But I will keep TABS on this beat as this obvious zeitgeist evolves.
is this a genre now because I keep* seeing these and
*ok so it’s just, like, 2. But I will keep TABS on this beat as this obvious zeitgeist evolves.
This started as a self-indulgent, “no such thing as a bad idea” playlist. That’s probably obvious. Matthew said let’s have a lot of classical mixed with Japanese city pop. Sammie said let’s have Trans Europe Express three times in a row. Matthew said an entire Elvis Costello album. Sammie said a podcast episode. Matthew said the real 14th hour of this playlist is actually this YouTube video somewhere. And so on.
But then we asked ourselves, what does it mean, from a curative approach, to create a playlist that’s longer than most people are even awake on a given day?
Does it “chart” the course of a day? Does it rouse you from sleep, settle you into your workday, nudge you to take breaks, encourage you to cook dinner, lull you to sleep? Is it multiple listening sessions somehow mirroring Tim Rogers’s critical positions with the power of music? Is this, like Action Button Season One, apparently a long exploration of the concept of authenticity? Is this a humorously long playlist echo of Tim Rogers’s own lengthy style of writing, inspired by Tokimeki Memorial and the Action Button review of it, essentially a multiple business days–long spotify playlist version of this:
Let’s start with the bottom line: trash garbage shoulda been a TikTok.
One “chapter” of this playlist (or “disc”, to mirror Tim Rogers’s choice of terminology to mirror the medium of Final Fantasy VII‘s original physical release in 1997, which also appropriately thematically works for us making a 17-hour playlist of music which, released at a certain point in time, would also have been divided into multiple discs), is a remake of one of our early playlists: materia system. The “joke” would seem to be, yep, Tim Rogers likes Final Fantasy VII, just copy/paste a slightly tweaked version of an old playlist in here to pad this playlist up to 17 hours (although as Sammie pointed out while working on this, “I just don’t see how we can justify calling anything “padding” in our almost-a-full-day-long-playlist”). But revisiting one of our oldest playlists a few years later has prompted a few interesting things, such as:
As Tim Rogers would say (or at least did say about the decades of the idea of a remake of Final Fantasy VII), it’s a philosophical nightmare.
Tim Rogers worked at a Target in high school. This comes up from time to time in his video game criticism. It makes sense in context; he’s a hell of a storyteller. One half of trash garbage also, coincidentally, worked at a Target in high school. Are you ready to hear about Julien the electronics manager who showed up to work drunk and befriended the aforementioned half of trash garbage because they were the only other person there who listened to Aphex Twin?
When I was 16, I started working at Target and eventually was moved to the electronics desk because it became readily apparent to leadership that was the only time I actually did any work. I’m not going to deny this, my attitude towards working at Target persists in my attitude towards work to this day, which is basically like “in a capitalist system, a company’s job is to extract as much work from me as possible for as little pay as possible. My job as a worker in a capitalist system is to extract as much money as possible for as little work as possible.” I have 0 interest in performing labor to increase someone else’s wealth, but I have to survive, which is why I work in tech.
The electronics desk was primarily run by, as previously mentioned, Julien. Julien had the stereotypical swept hair of the early 00s. (This was the early 00s.)
Julien and I worked together frequently, but always kind of regarded each other with a sense of caution. He seemed to me a bit like the guys that were (at the time) routinely picking on me in gym class, and I seemed to him like yet another one of the weird nerdy people that hung around the electronics booth constantly. This persisted until one night, we were closing the store together and talking about another coworker of ours, who was somewhat notorious for having very long and unkempt hair. Eventually I offhandedly made the remark, “I think he looks like a brunette Richard James.”
Julien, stopped dead in his tracks: “You listen to Aphex Twin?”
Me: “Yeah, I pretty much only listen to electronic music.”
Julien, with a look on his face I only remember as incredulous: “Me too, I had no idea anyone else here liked that kind of stuff.”
From that point on, Julien and I were thick as thieves. He was a good few years older than me (early/mid 20s I guess?) working on an art degree in Chicago. He’d show me his painting that he worked on and very frequently would let me know if he was coming into work drunk or hungover so I could cover for him, which at 16 was about the coolest thing to me ever.
The best part of those stories was that this was the same gentlemen that came to me one early summer morning and said “Sammie, you gotta help me. I’m still drunk and the manager is asking for this barcode number, and I’m too drunk to read the numbers on the tag”, so I read the numbers off to him while he recited them, one by one, into our walkie talkie.
He introduced me to a lot of sound collage and frequently showed me his work, which was primarily inspired by Russian literature. Then I left for college and never saw him again. Pretty anticlimatic, honestly.
The playlists we make aren’t “art”. If we share these playlists because we wish to share certain moods, headspaces, or simple joys that make the workday more enjoyable, it’s closer to, but is not, a review, specifically a Tim Rogers Action Button style review which wishes to share, with its whole heart, what there is to love about a thing. It’s closest to a hot mess coworker who you nonetheless have a soft spot for because you learned you like the same music. Beyond the bare minimum of presenting implicit endorsement of a thing on which to spend your time and attention, we’re not reviewing anything. Beyond a parasocial relationship helping working hours pass more tolerably, we’re not your coworker either.
Around this point, you may be thinking, there are definitely easier routes to comedy than writing thousands of words to explain a vaguely Tim Rogers–themed Spotify playlist in the style of Tim Rogers.
Another “disc” inside this playlist is the first playlist Sammie and Matthew made together, before either of us thought about doing this repeatedly on a regular basis and posting them somewhere for ~someone~. It was shitpostingly titled “Sammie and Matthew’s 24/7 Lo-Fi Hip Hop Beats to Study and Relax To”. The natural extension of such a shitpost is a blog. idk if blogs exist anymore.
This isn’t my observation, but rather something stuck in my head that I think I read on Twitter or maybe screenshot from Twitter onto Instagram and then shared on Discord (further to my point that it is 2022), but if you are old enough to remember a Flobots song titled “Handlebars”, there’s a lyric “I can make a living off a magazine”. There was a heyday before it was 2022 when it really felt like it was possible to make a living writing words on the internet, not really in a be-your-own-boss kinda way, but rather in a if-you-build-it-they-will-come-and-they-will-kill-Goliath-it-is-unclear-in-this-metaphor-if-David-is-a-metaphor-for-a-collective-this-is-before-we-were-really-thinking-about-the-labor-issues-of-it-all-we-weren’t-even-really-thinking-about-the-sidehustle-we-just-thought-we-saw-the-future kinda way. There was a “side business” I did with a friend for approximately eight years, a respectable amount of people read it, it was called Bad Books Good Times. You may have heard about it. You may have read something we published one time and forgot about it. It’s statistically not improbable. When we were 21 and realized enough people were reading it where if we bought the domain and got our own ad revenue, it would pay for itself and then we would profit. We were 21 and realized, depending on how you paraphrased the situation, we could make money writing dick jokes on the internet. It feels impossible now, but ad revenue on the internet? Oh boy. When the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie came out in February 2015, we got so much traffic on our blog that we made $300 in ad revenue in a single month. Not “make a living off a magazine” money, but I was certainly not upset about “replace my laptop every few years when the old one has fallen apart one too many times” money. I don’t mean to be egotistical, but February 2015 may have been the last time anyone ever made money writing a blog. The internet just does not work like that anymore, between the death of the sidebar ad and the mutation of the attention economy. It’s laughable now. Telling this anecdote, I’m not complaining about how I’m not an influencer and still making money off the internet so much as I feel like I’m trying to tell an important story about a rolodex.
I feel a little pang of displacement every time we decide a playlist is ready to “go live” and then I roll over to WordPress. All we want is to share, but all we can do is make content. And we’re making content badly. Was a website the right way to do this? Should this have been a more modern approach, like a newsletter? How long are newsletters possibly going to be in vogue though? Should this have been more modern yet, should we have researched a creative approach for curating vibes on TikTok? Is this pivot-to-video stamping on a human face forever? It’s hard to imagine a bottom line outside of capitalism, to imagine a Point free of constantly keeping up with how the attention economy works at an exact moment in time, when asking yourself what is the balance between an enjoyable and a viable project?
Jenny Odell’s How To Do Nothing explains that it’s not possible to just escape the attention economy, there must be an alternative. For Odell, this has been more time in nature, hiking, learning about identifying flowers and birds. Odell explicitly states that the point of her book is not that you have to get off the internet and go be in nature, just that nature was an alternative that was effective for her. I’m growing tomatoes, snap peas, cucumbers, shishito peppers, strawberries, and lettuce this year. You know that feeling in Stardew Valley where it’s raining and you don’t have to water your crops? Can you imagine how good that feeling is in real life?
It sure would be nice if the Democrats had some tomato plants outside instead of just yelling about how it’s raining, metaphorically speaking.
19-hour tim rogers review of tokimeki memorial 2 is kind of a work music playlist, not really for the most focused of work, but maybe a day where you go back and forth between working, doing the dishes while waiting on an email, taking a break to cook lunch, kind of a lowkey wednesday where if someone asked you how work was you might just say “it was fine”
the first disc is mostly city pop, with occasional diversions for classical music or jazz or… Prince. the second disc i’m not sure how to categorize beyond a godspeed you black emperor song, fast car, a classical to jazz to funk block, then trans-europe express three times in a row. the third disc is more pop and rock, including an intermission that’s 20-odd minutes straight of Doom E1M1 covers. the fourth disc is some jazz that eventually slows down into classical that eventually slows down into a podcast about semiotics. somewhere between disc 3 and 4 is an entire Elvis Costello album, i’m not actually sure where one disc ends and another begins. disc 5 is the first playlist Sammie and Matthew made together, a proto-trash garbage playlist, which was originally titled “Sammie and Matthew’s 24/7 Lo-Fi Hip Hop Beats to Study and Relax To” and is pretty much what you would expect from that.
disc 6 is fun. disc 6 in the spotify playlist is the aforementioned Materia System Remake – an updated/remade version of materia system with a similar philosophy to how Final Fantasy VII Remake is an update/remake of Final Fantasy VII, as well as drawing upon Tim Rogers’ analysis of Remake in ways that, honestly, are intentional fallacy up its ass. what matters is that it’s a strings-focused work music playlist. alternatively, because there was a single song from Final Fantasy VII Remake that would have been perfect for this playlist but is not on Spotify, there is also a YouTube alternate version of disc 6. it’s a wacky journey with alternate songs, some songs from the OG materia system that are no longer on spotify but are still available on youtube, some other tweaks for the resulting changes in flow as a result of that, and a MuLtImEdIa experience with some goddamn let’s play clips that, imo, feel sufficiently backgroundy and work music-esque.
disc 7 is another podcast.
disc 0 and/or 8 is the bit of Action Button Reviews The Last of Us where Tim Rogers attempted to write the story of The Last of Us in the style of Cormac McCarthy. You can play this disc wherever you see fit in your experience with 19-hour tim rogers review of tokimeki memorial 2. Timestamped below:
buddy, nothing is real! you aren’t supposed to do anything! drop the needle in the middle of this playlist, skip the podcasts, only listen to the spotify and youtube materia system remake discs, fall asleep to the classical-into-podcast section if you like to fall asleep to classical music and/or people talking on the radio* (*or whatever), play the psuedo-tim rogers audiobook adaptation of the last of us over a classical music section. whatever floats your boat that evokes the same feeling from this playlist as the feeling you get of watching tim rogers love Tokimeki Memorial:
the only thing you are not allowed to do is put this playlist on shuffle. that’s the only wrong option.
every year, I tell myself, ok, this is the year I get into baseball again. sometimes I just forget. sometimes a pandemic happens. sometimes there’s a shutdown because you can’t just enjoy baseball, some capitalists have to fuck everyone’s day up to make line go up.
which is to say the origin of this playlist was in the early, banana bread era of the pandemic, working from home unable to and/or too sad to focus, simultaneously putting on a youtube playlist of someone playing a baseball video game on very low volume and one of the 24/7 lo-fi chillhop studybeats playlists at the same time. I also lit a candle. it was a great vibe. it was an oddly comforting combination that I’ve occasionally revisited and decided, ok, time for a multimedia Trash Garbage project. this is DRONEBALL.
this playlist is Fine on its own, but ideally you’d pair it with a baseball game in a small window in the corner of your second monitor. the game can be real, live, archival, video game footage, whatever, the game doesn’t really matter much, much like the lo-fi chillhop beats. it’s an oddly coherent combination.
lo-fi chillhop beats to study slash relax to is certainly an odd duck to curate, since it’s kind of a genre that exists purely as background music for an algorithm to interchangeably endlessly compile, but also idk I’m not a classist I like some lo-fi chillhop beats to study slash relax to. this playlist is partly curated by letting this playlist run until The Algorithm took over and kept playing the same kind of interchangeable music, and occasionally I’d add a few of those that struck me as having that particular quality of being good but not “noticeable”. this playlist is also partly curated from a handful of artists I actually like! this playlist is also partly curated from trying to mostly stay clear of covers because it’s supposed to be non-distracting but yeah I figured a 3-hour playlist can have a few moments where you actually look up because something intriguing happened to happen, just like baseball itself, now thinking about it. again, it’s an oddly coherent combination. there are also a few decidedly not chillhop, higher energy, maybe actually just hip hip-influenced jazz tracks in here, because, look, everyone gets bored after a few hours of a baseball game. you have to adjust your mission statement if your work music playlist makes you start to fall asleep.
some of the playlist also comes from an Official Spotify Playlist that was at one point in time, I swear to god, incoherently titled “Lo-Fi Absentee Ballot”. it was the most Trash Garbage thing that could ever happen. sammie and I still talk about that time spotify itself out–trash garbage’d us.
you do not have to use this particular playlist of baseball games to pair with the DRONEBALL playlist, but it’s a starting point. think of it as the preset in a character creator. watch any baseball you want to. watch whatever game happens to be live and vibe. that said, as alluded to earlier, fuck the MLB, fuck capitalism, you can find streams of live baseball games. can we link to a pirate stream here? yeah why not that’s pretty trash garbage. we’re anticapitalism over here.
to reiterate, the components of this Multimedia Trash Garbage experience are:
Recently, Matthew asked if I was ready to do a new Trash Garbage playlist, which was a nice question of him to ask. The back half of 2021 is apparently full of ~*life changes*~ for me, and because of that I’ve been the less active half of the blog lately.
I haven’t been listening to much music lately. When Matthew asked what I’ve been listening to, I answered honestly, which was that I was mostly watching weird direct-to-video or made-for-TV documentaries about severe weather, as just some kind of background noise. I mentioned I had a playlist of these and half-jokingly suggested I run that as the next playlist, to which Matthew responded enthusiastically.
So here’s 11 documentaries from the 1970s to the early 2000s, all of which detailing some aspect of severe weather, mostly tornadoes (blame my midwestern upbringing). I have no idea if this will actually resonate with anyone, but hopefully it does, because – and I know we throw this term around loosely here – “non-spotify playlist” and “non-music playlist” are both very trash garbage. Consider this first one to be a preview/mission statement/threat of future experiments to come.
HAPPY SUMMER TIME FOR SKA
Look, I have no idea what there is to say about ska. We often do “idk what to say” posts ranging from ironic to earnest to whatever liminal spaces in between serve our needs, but a ska is a ska is a ska is a ska. Sammie and I have talked a lot before about how weird it is to realize as adults that not everyone went to a high school that, for some reason, was really into ska. I genuinely have no idea if explaining my goal to make a good ska playlist, a bangers only ska playlist, a not just popular ska playlist, by writing that “everyone already knows about ‘Beer’ so you could just listen to ‘Beer’ if you want to listen to ‘Beer'” would come across as a shitpost, as inscrutable, or as the most controversial thing I’ve yet to write on trash garbage. I even came across an article published a few days ago that says more about the weird self-defense gut reaction combination of condescension towards and gatekeeping within ska than I could articulate.
So here’s a two and a half-hour ska playlist for your hot vax summer. Music that is, in the words of Brian David Gilbert:
Maybe it’s even more alienating that last year’s summer playlist. What a blessing.
i think its pretty trash garbage to come in pissed about work and slap a bunch of that shit on a playlist and then be like “here you go, i’m mad at work”