The Song: "Consequence," The Notwist. Words and music by Micha Acher. Track 10 of Neon Golden, 2003.
How/when acquired: Gift CD, June 2005.
My friend John hands out CDs the way some people hand out business cards. He's an evangelist for the music he loves, and much of my collection in recent years has come from him. This CD, however, was special. He gave it to me at a book signing and said, "If you don't like this, we can't be friends anymore."
Fortunately, I did. In fact, it's one of my favorite CDs of the last decade, in heavy rotation on my iTunes playlist. The Notwist are a German band whose music has evolved from grunge into electronica over the last 20 years; members play with members of Themselves as a group called 13 & God, which I've seen live. They're moody and smart and bizarre, and this CD hit me so hard when I first listened to it — on a drive from Cambridge, MA to Newport, RI — that I had to pull over at one point to listen to one of the tracks again.
The day after Labor Day still feels like the beginning of a new year, 20+ years after I left school. I have a list of resolutions for a new regime of diligence, focus and — especially — risk-taking. I live a safe life in too many ways, a life that seeks to protect me from the consequences of bad decisions by deferring those decisions until they make themselves. Cowardly, and what it gives you is a life without meaning. Failure is a natural consequence of endeavor, part of the process, and nothing to fear. Or so I'm telling myself.
As Samuel Beckett put it in Worstward Ho: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."