Anger is an Energy

Content warning: Old, obscure rock lyrics.          

They put a hot wire to my head
‘Cos of the things I did and said
And made these feelings go away
Model citizen in every way

Anger is an energy!
Anger is an energy!
Anger is an energy!
Anger is an energy!

    —excerpts from Rise by Public Image Ltd


I drove to York yesterday, the closest big city. Big is a relative term. Forty-four thousand people seems big to me. Gettysburg, the town, houses seven thousand, and the surrounding area, another fifteen to twenty. Not big enough, apparently, for a FedEx Ship Center.

UPS does business in Gettysburg.

They have a shipping warehouse right outside of town. When you miss your delivery because you’re at work rather than taking a day off to receive your package, you just pop into the conveniently located UPS warehouse and pick it up.

With FedEx, you drive to York. Including the two minutes I spent inside signing for my package, I spent one hundred and five minutes making the trip. Know what’s annoying? I drove it last week too.

Eli and I bought new laptops. Actually, Eli bought a laptop, I bought a new laptop. Eli never owned one before, so while his laptop is new, I don’t think I can say he bought a new laptop. If you’re the one person who’s been reading my blog from the start, you’re thinking “Another new Laptop?” I seem to buy a laptop every other year. I just looked back at an old blog post; I bought my last laptop in November 2019. It lasted the length of the pandemic. That’s fitting. Lots of death over those two years, why not my laptop.

A few months ago, I noticed that I misspelled half my words as I typed, every other word underlined red. None of them included the letter “a” Jeff Cnn, Susn Cnn, etc. I bought a refurbished laptop last time around. I figured if I could squeeze three years out of it, I’d be ahead. Nope, two and a half years before the “a” key tired out. Plus, it only had fifteen minutes of battery life. This time I went new.

Eli’s laptop arrived last week on work day. He and I drove to York to pick it up. According to Apple Maps, there are two ways to get to York from Gettysburg. One way is to hop on Route 30, a half mile from my house and drive a straight shot for thirty miles. The other way involves squirreling around the county, one dusty country road after the next, covering thirty-eight miles and saving forty-five seconds. This is how Eli and I got to York. Yesterday, without Eli to navigate, I jumped on Route 30, turned off my mind and jammed out to music.

Radio Jeff. That’s what I named my Spotify playlist. Like all Spotify playlists, it’s unique—unique to me. I’m the only one who has heard it. No one else would listen. Usually, with Eli present, we all listen to his playlist. The songs are familiar to all of us—relying heavily on music from the late sixties and early seventies—Hendrix, Zeppelin, the Doors, the Who. Driving home from York, Eli suggested we listen to my playlist. But then we turned it down so low I couldn’t hear it.

Years ago, as a spin instructor, I played an abrasive, scrape-y punk song by the Dream Syndicate. As it finished up, I said, ‘truly a song only a mother could love.”

An old guy in the back row, probably my age and clearly annoyed, replied “And yet here we are listening to it.”

That’s a good way to describe my playlist. I keep it to myself, now.

Yesterday, a sunny Saturday morning, I blasted out my tunes: punk classics from the seventies, hard driving alt-rock from the eighties and nineties, bass-heavy psychedelic tracks from the sixties, and the Beatles. The whole way, one-hundred-and-three minutes, I sang along. Furious music, most of it, filled with rage. Except, of course, the Beatles.

When Rise by Public Image Ltd came on, shouted out the refrain: Anger is an energy! Anger is an energy! Anger is an energy! Anger is an energy…

And then Love You To by the Beatles came on.

A lifetime is so short
A new one can’t be bought
But what you’ve got means such a lot to me

Make love all day long
Make love singing songs…

And I began to wonder, what am I so pissed about. When my alarm sounds at five o’clock each morning, I hop out of bed. I sleep well, and I face each day with excitement. I could rattle off a comprehensive list of what’s great about my life, but really, a good night sleep and daily enthusiasm says it all. My life is pretty good.

I’ve been immersed in the punk, pre-punk, post-punk and neo-punk musical genres my entire adult life.

A song I listened to several times over the past month, including yesterday, is Bad Habit by the Offspring—a song about being frustrated with other drivers. Throughout the song the tension builds until it explodes out in an ejaculation of fury:

Drivers are rude
Such attitudes
When I show my piece complaints cease
Something’s odd
I feel like I’m God
You Stupid, Dumbsh*t, G*d D*mn, Motherf*cker!
I open the glove box
Reach inside
I’m gonna wreck this f*cker’s ride

Jesus! What’s my problem? This song is nothing like me. I’m a patient driver! Why do I listen to this?

As near as I can tell, it’s the energy that draws me to this angry music. The rage portrayed wakes me up and pulls me in. Plus, it’s suitable to scream along with—and with my singing voice, that’s the best I can hope for.

Now that I’m aware, I’ll start paying attention to what the song says. Not just singing along with the lyrics, but analyze the message the song is sending. I’m suddenly curious about my motivation to listen to this music. I just hope my new awareness doesn’t spoil all my songs for me.

Listen to Rise by Public Image Ltd. (I think WordPress is now charging bloggers extra to embed videos in posts).

35 thoughts on “Anger is an Energy

  1. Dude reminds me of “Drop Dead Fred” a movie from the early 90s😂 It’s pretty tame for a “punk” song.
    I think “angry” music does have an energy about it. I don’t want to do actual damage to anything or anyone, but it does pump me up. Maybe it hits some brain center and releases chemicals 🤷🏼‍♀️😂 The Neuroscience Of Punk??

    Glad to see a post from you… I was starting to wonder if you joined the hiatus gang😂

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    • I wouldn’t necessarily call Public Image punk, but it’s definitely got a punk attitude. Plus, the lead man (pictured) was the singer for the Sex Pistols who were unabashedly punk. Not writing for over a week has weighed on me. I guess I’ve been busy, but thinking back, I can’t really remember what I’ve been doing. When I started writing today I had no idea where I was going. I sort of shrugged and said just write Jeff. I got one of the nicest compliments ever on this post. Oh, big news, this laptop’s bluetooth pairs with my hearing aids so I can more easily listen to your song lyric posts. & Maybe you know, did wordpress eliminate the ability to embed youtube links in posts? Couldn’t find it.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Gasp! $180? I feel horrible when I shell out $48 each year thinking about what we could do with that money. $180 is absurd. I can’t believe that’s going to increase revenue. I’d think too many people will bail on the platform. I worry what this will do to the blogging community. I always sort of applauded wordpress for supporting art. Now they show their true colors.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, I’m a $48 user myself. I did see in one of the posts (I went thru 3-4 blogs to get to the link I sent you) that there was an update that things were gonna stay the same for now and any problems were a bug they were trying to fix🤷🏼‍♀️
          Some people are already talking about changing platforms but honestly, I think most people will opt for free and do whatever workarounds. I only started paying because I ran out of storage. Too many pictures 😂😂

          Liked by 1 person

        • I paid because I wanted a personal URL–I set up my blog at the same time I published my first book and I thought I was going to be a big deal and needed a private URL. HaHa Other than that There’s nothing special on my blog and only a handful of images that I actually took. I wonder how much storage my 500+ posts would take up without images…?

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        • LOL. I also paid to get a personal URL – 3 actually. One for my book title, one for my name, and one for the name of my publisher (me). All will connect to the same blog/website. I was worried I would be so famous someone would steal my name. LOL. My book business loses money every year thanks to all these URL’s and fees.

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    • I think it’s really common to have a line in your life, before and after, where you stop learning about new bands. Mine was a few years before kids. I’m sort of the perfect age to be a fan of punk. I was a teenager in the late 70s to early 80s which is when punk essentially “broke”. The Beatles were my first musical love and I’m still a huge fan.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just listened to that PiL album on the trail a few weeks ago, forgot how good it was. I love when you enjoy an album more hearing it with an older mind or set of ears, and it lands differently (and better). Glad I got to see them twice too. First time in 1987 at Stabler arena in Bethlehem, opening for INXS. Odd pairing, that. Happy he was able to do so much more with PiL than he had prior.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually wound up listening to the whole album yesterday. I really enjoyed it and promptly downloaded all the other songs to my playlist. I never saw PIL. When the Sex Pistols did their Filthy Lucre Tour in 1996, I boycotted due to the $40 ticket price. Now I’m kicking myself for not shelling out the cash. I still love almost all of the Pistols’ songs– it’s not just nostalgia, I really love the energy in the music.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah the musicianship on that album…the drumming and bass and of course the zany Steve Vai! The lesser-known songs are superb too and I’m having fun getting to know them again after many years away from it.

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  3. I think nearly all music has energy of one sort or another. Angry music definitely has energy and can provoke strong emotions and reactions. I can see the appeal in singing your lungs out especially aid no one else can hear you (no criticism of your singing, Jeff!). I must admit I haven’t done that for years and years although I used to frequently yell out the lyrics to Lily Allen’s ‘F*ck You’ and to a few of Kate Nash’s angrier songs too besides others; all around the late 2000’s. Probably not how you’ve envisaged me? No, me neither; at least, not anymore. I was going through some really tough therapy at the time with, believe it or not, an abusive therapist. But, that’s a whole other story. Maybe, I’ll share some of that another time. I still carry a lot of anger about that, not surprisingly. Not great for the soul, I know. Enough of that.

    I’m glad you’ve got yourself a new laptop now, especially when you do a lot of writing. There’s nothing like unwrapping a shiny new computer. I had to replace mine about two months ago having had my last one for less than three years. Not cheap things either, are they? I always swear I’ll clean every particle of dust off the screen and all any finger marks off the keys etc every evening when I’ve finished writing a post or piece of work for my course, but I put a lot of energy into my writing even if it’s not obvious, and I’m fit for bed by then and too sleepy to think about my poor laptop’s welfare!

    On a different note, I came across your post called ‘Un-Disabled’ earlier this morning and wanted to comment on it but then, somehow, I lost it. Please, could you send me a link to it so I can read it again and leave a comment. It was very interesting and something I could identify with. Thanks. Ellie

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  4. You’re never going to believe this, Jeff, but I’ve just typed a long, long comment on this post but typed it on my phone instead of my laptop. I pressed the send comment button and was asked to log in which I did … and … Hey presto! Magic! My comment went up in a puff of smoke. I rarely use my phone for my blog or for reading others’ posts so that’ll teach me! If I write it all again now, it’ll be time for bed before I get finished – it was really, very long!

    Apart from commenting on this particular post, I came across your post called (I think) ‘Un-Disabled’ and wanted to comment on that one too, but it seems that’s disappeared too. Please, could you send me a link to it and I’ll try and keep well away from my phone while I’m reading it again? Thanks, lots. Ellie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i have a “free” plan. i am able to post youtube videos by using “classic” block (just tried a few minutes ago and had no problems!). maybe it will work for you too?

    Liked by 1 person

      • let me try to explain how i get it to work (i’m not technical either and don’t know all the tech words, but here goes): click “write”. when new page opens, click on (+) sign (to the right of the page). this should open a search box: type in “classic” and click on the classic icon. This should open the old classic toolbox on the page (under where you would title your new blog post). To post a youtube video, just copy/paste the link into the body of the blog post (you do NOT use the camera/video icon to post the video). Just copy/paste the link in the body, it should embed automatically into the post (at least mine will). Sometimes, certain youtube posters have their videos marked so you cannot share, and you will then get a message stating “unable to upload” or something similar. but i can usually find another link of same song that will work. hoping this helps! if not, Eli can come to the rescue! if nothing else, if you were a fan of the old WP toolbox, it’s baaaaack!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you did well to have a refurb computer last that long. My new computer was purchased around the same time and I think it’s getting slow. Unless it’s me that’s slow.

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  7. The funny thing is that I was reading a meme that had David from Schitt’s Creek and he was saying: “It’s just one long string of really bad luck, And I don’t know what kind of carnage I inflicted in my past life to deserve it. I must have been Dracula or a spin instructor or something.” I laughed and thought of you and then to see a mention of your spin instructor days here – it made me laugh!
    I feel you about the music too. Gosh, the ladies in my area that are my age get all gaggly over – well, I don’t know any of their names actually, but “insert country person’s name here” and they all swarm excitedly together waving their tickets. They also all go to Billy Joel, Maroon 5 like concerts – I like this music, but I never put it on on purpose. I go for the angrier, edgier stuff. It’s the music that moves me. I have also questioned some of the lyrics I have belted out. I have no reason to align myself with this angry mentality. For all intents and purposes, I should be one of the gaggles cooing over “insert country person’s name here.” And so whenever someone says, “What do you want to listen to?” I just shrug and say, “Whatever you would like.” There’s little chance the other person is going to want to rage with me and I definitely don’t want to explain my taste in music.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I need to find that meme so I can send it to my spin instructor. I don’t have any lame music in my life (well some of the stuff at spin is pretty bad) but everyone in my family is playing stuff I enjoy. Since writing this post I’ve decided to get started on another playlist that is more mellow. I’ve been leaving off a lot of good music because ‘I didn’t think it would fit’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just tried to find the meme for you, but of course, since I am trying to find it, it is unfindable. A more mellow playlist is not a bad idea. I know a lot of the angry bands I listen to have their mellow(er) moments and the songs are still enjoyable!

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