OK, before we get too far, let me tell you this is NOT about Superchunk and their apparently pretty-decent album called I Hate Music. It should be, but it is not. You see, I really do hate a fair chunk of music right now. It won’t last. How can it? Music is like a cute little Teddy Bear. You hate it when it spews dust mites in your allergy-prone nose, but … awww … it’s a Teddy Bear. It’s so cute! Music will return to my good graces soon enough. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe later in the week. Some time it will, but, for now, I hate it, almost all of it.
I have a very specific reason for hating it. Ordinarily, music could be the soundtrack to whatever is happening in life, good or bad. The “man” hates your latest work product? Here come the Dead Kennedys, Violent Femmes, or … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. You just got home ready for an awesome weekend? Major Lazer to the rescue. You just feel bummed out and a bit angry? Pissed Jeans. Perfectly legitimate soundtrack material. But that works when you’re engaged in your life and it falls somewhere with two standard deviations (stats talk again!) of acceptable. There is no soundtrack suitable for the train jumping the rails as it careens down from an high mountain pass. Sure, Hollywood will and has tried to soundtrack it, but it doesn’t work, not when that metaphor really fits. So, I hate music.
I don’t hate all of it, I guess. Somehow, the Dum Dum Girls album “Only in Dreams” works. The title is suitably imaginary for someone wishing to be back on the rails. The album itself deals with loss and heartache. It’s not too rough, even coming from a prototypical garage pop band. It’s not too smooth, although it reminds me of the Pretenders. It just is. I can sing along sometimes. Other times, when the lyrics tend towards sadness, I can sit frozen staring off into space, maybe adding to the facial salt lick.
Some songs by the Decemberists work, too, particularly “Sons & Daughters”, a singalong round from their album The Crane Wife. But, even then, filling our lives with cinnamon? Eh … I’m not sure. Although I haven’t tried it, some of The Besnard Lakes tracks ought to work, too. The use of complex arrangements assembled to produce something simple with a trance-like singalong chorus? That’s about right. I think “Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent” is going to get overplayed really soon. Also, “Devastation” with it’s little not-quite-dirge riff will gain some Orangey air time. Besides, with a title like “Devastation” how can you lose?
Still, I hate music. You shouldn’t hate it. Be nice to it. It’s taking a vacation from me and needs the love.