I used to be the type of person who reached for the top rung when it came my descriptions. Every movie I saw was “the best movie I'd have seen in a long time,” albums would be “the best thing so and so had ever done,” when in all reality, I was just trying to communicate the fact that I really enjoyed these things. Whenever I’m asked, “who’s your favorite band,” or, “what’s your favorite movie,” I scramble, like most of us do, to find the answers that explain my personality. It’s almost like the list has to be a certain way, or its not "you." Few people talk about the few situations where they don’t have a choice in the matter.
Let’s take the album Demon Days by Gorillaz for an example. When I put on this album, whether I can say that I like, or even love Gorillaz is beside the point—Demon Days is my favorite album of all time, and I don’t have a say in this decision. It’s a gut feeling; when the Intro begins to play with the noise and the ebbing cello—I’m transported. When Last Living Souls, the first song on the album, starts: it’s all over. I’m in. This album has everything I love—songs with great hooks, fat beats, dope rappers, big fat distorted bass, delicate acoustic guitars, danceable rhythms, a song with spoken word lyrics; for God’s sake, there’s both adult and children’s choruses. It’s science fiction, it’s fantasy. It’s a concept album that tells an incredible story that invites a multimedia experience, but only if you want to go in that deep. Everything I ever do in my artistic life will forever be an attempt to translate the feeling Demon Days gives me every single time I experience it.
I don’t love Gorillaz. The first album is pretty boss, but after Demon Days, I float in and out. There’s albums I loathe, albums I think are cool, and albums that are just kind of like “oh, that’s a thing.”
Lord of the Flies is another example. I couldn’t tell you what draws me to this book, but it’s the only one that I have ever read multiple times. I’ve always held the opinion that life is too short to re-read, but there is something about the way William Golding writes that amazes me. He winds a fantastic, yet plausible, world of lost kids up into a frenzy, only to abruptly pull the plug from the fantasy and turn wild warriors back into scared little boys with the simple presence of an adult. It's awesome, in the truest definition of the word; I’m forever trying to write Lord of the Flies.
I love the colour blue. I’m wearing blue glasses and a blue scarf as I write this. My wife is able to drop my jaw with royal blue, the cover of my first book is a deep navy, one of the most satisfying things to watch (for me) is cyan colouring dropping into water. But, do you know what colour likes me best? Purple. Purple has forced its way into my life via the royal purple of Crown Royal and the LA Lakers. I’m not a fan of either whiskey or basketball, yet here I am, going to work like the Pope on Easter—in my best purple robes.
In Catholicism, purple is the colour of resurrection, and I’ve been told that ultra-violet is the colour of 2018, signaling thoughtfulness and other such shit. If so, consider this the resurrection of thoughtful Joel, who thinks before he speaks. One who doesn’t label everything as the best so and so he’s ever seen/read/heard, and one who actually places value into a human context, instead of on an arbitrary rating scale.