The Best of the Ought Nots, Part I: 81-100

The beginning of a new year, 2010, and a new third digit in our numbering system for years that indicates I’ll likely never see another year with “0” in that slot for the rest of my lifetime, means that for the first time, this relatively young music fan gets to look back at entire decade (these things being commonly delineated by that third digit even if the technical scientific approach says our decade isn’t over until the beginning of 2011) and try to sum it all up in terms of the music that was meaningful to me over the course of nearly a third of my life. That’s right, I’m just a smidgen over 30, which means that the 2000’s (or the “Ought Nots”, as I’ve decided to call a decade of learning what not to do in retrospect) were my first full decade of being a true music fan. I might have come of age and finished high school and college in the 90’s, and I have my fair share of nostalgic tunes to whisk me back to those days. But this most recent decade was when I truly opened up, with the advent of file sharing and social networking making it remarkably easy to burst the bubble of “Christian music only” that I started out with, to go beyond the basic pop/rock styles largely dominant on the radio, and to really dig deep and find my own musical personality, unburdened by rumors of danger beyond the comfortable fences I had previously built for myself.

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Divad’s Soundtrack #72: January-February 2008

Not having seen Christine’s parents since late 2006, we took an “off-season vacation” in late January/early February to go back to Oahu and visit them. This was a much cheaper trip than usual – no side journeys to outlying islands or overnights in Waikiki hotels or anything like that. Just low-key relaxation in suburban Mililani – and of course the usual driving around and exploring the island that I can never resist doing. Most of these songs aren’t tied to memories of that trip in the direct sense, but any good vacation offers its fair share of moments to pause, take in the peace of a beautiful place far from home, and reflect on personal issues I’m dealing with at that point in time, ways that my beliefs and passions are being shaped and challenged, etc. Listening to this batch of songs ten years later, it’s pretty clear that I was on the verge of some of those changes.

In with the New:
Arcade Fire
Edison Glass
Fauxliage
Jon Foreman (as a solo artist – appears earlier with Switchfoot)

Out with the Old:
Matchbox Twenty
Wavorly
Chris Rice

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Divad’s Soundtrack #71: November-December 2007

2007 was the rare year where I actually embraced and enjoyed the winter season, as evidenced by the Christmas and winter-themed songs that dominate the end of Disc Two. Southern California winters are not known for being snowy, but there’s winter imagery to be found if you’re looking for it. As a deliberate contrast, the first several songs on Disc One are dominated by the theme of fire. Because, unfortunately, wildfires are a common feature of California autumns.

Out with the Old:
Luna Halo

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Divad’s Soundtrack #58: September-October 2005

If the first few months of life as a newlywed weren’t easy for me, it wasn’t because of the marriage itself. It was largely because I was making things hard on myself and the people around me. I was harboring a lot of anger, guilt, and frustration from stuff that happened earlier that year that should have been left in the past, along with ongoing worries about money, and those things were transforming me into a bit of a jaded person. The music contained here helped me to fight that off in some ways, and in a few places, it brings back memories of the sweeter, more romantic moods that should have been the default mode for a couple of newlyweds, but that were at least able to shine through the pinholes into the otherwise dark places in my mind.

In with the New:
Andrew Bird
Ken Oak Band

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Divad’s Soundtrack #51: July-August 2004

In the summer of 2004, I began to set plans in motion to take hold of the future I really wanted for myself and Christine. Slightly hampering those plans: A few sudden, unexpected financial difficulties. It was demoralizing at first, but I was beginning to believe quite strongly in the value of delayed gratification.

In with the New:
Modest Mouse

It Was Worth a Try:
Hoobastank
Neal Morse

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Divad’s Soundtrack #50: May-June 2004

I was really high on life when I made this mix. While it isn’t without the usual aggressive, angsty, and melodramatic material, I feel like there was a conscious scaling back on that side of things to allow more room for the wistful, romantic stuff. That’s what best represented how I was feeling at the time.

In with the New:
Joe Henry
Ron Sexsmith
Something Like Silas
Sufjan Stevens

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Divad’s Soundtrack #30: January-February 2001

The mood of my mixes became increasingly erratic and jarring in the year 2001. I was dealing with growing pains in terms of reconciling old favorites with new experiments, trying on different hats to find an identity. I was also trying to cling to the simplicity of my college days and the friendships formed during that time (especially in my slowly unraveling relationship with my girlfriend), while dealing with a lot of angst when that didn’t go the way I expected it to. So if these songs feel like a bit of a rough ride with little in terms of logical connections from one to the next, then I guess that’s the way I felt back then.

In with the New:
Lifehouse
Tree63
Toby Mac (as a solo artist – appears previously with dc Talk)
Chevelle
Coldplay

Out with the Old:
Earthsuit
Aleixa
Collective Soul
No Apples for Adam
Shaded Red

It Was Worth a Try:
Dido
Rivulets & Violets

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Divad’s Soundtrack #29: November-December 2000

These discs are a snapshot of one of the first holiday seasons in a long while that I fully enjoyed, a time where friends and family merged rather than seeming mutually exclusive, and where colder weather didn’t mean being cooped up as it had in years past. Many of these songs would eerily predict changes ahead that I wasn’t aware of – some of them very difficult ones. For now, it was a period of calm, a time where I finally felt settled in my new life as a “grownup”. The year ahead – 2001 – would be a turbulent one, so I look back on this segment of my life as a welcome breather.

In with the New:
Salvador
Shaded Red
Vertical Horizon
The Corrs

Out with the Old:
Out of Eden
Christine Glass
Michael W. Smith

It Was Worth a Try:
Parkway

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Divad’s Soundtrack #15: March-April 1998

Second semester of junior year was an awful lot like a grueling class in Humility 101. It’s funny how some of the worst memories triggered the placement of some of these songs, while some of the happy and silly moments of that year (which were numerous) didn’t get documented as well, but that’s just the nature of the music that connects with me, I guess.

In with the New:
Plankeye
Seven Day Jesus
The Electrics
Jennifer Knapp
Smalltown Poets

Out with the Old:
Dryve
Miss Angie
Reality Check
Church of Rhythm
Clay Crosse

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