I’m sick (flu), I’m broke, I’m stressed, I’m having more insomnia than usual, the person I’m currently seeing suggested that we should break-up, I was late to two out of four classes today and when bathing this morning, blood started to drip from my nose so there’s a chance my anemia is getting its triumphal comeback. Luckily, I have already enough music, pills and milk to survive the rest of what seems like a bleak and miserable week, so come sit down for a moment, raise your wine and mourn with me.
Black Box recorder – the english motorway systemBesides being exquisitely british and falling in sound somewhere in between Saint Etienne and Lali puna, the black box recorder are also fronted by one of the most beautiful and delightful pop ironists of all time, Sarah Nixey. The magic of this song relies on how Nixey constantly throughout the song avoids to talk about the emotional rapture she’s feeling by well… speaking about the english motorway system while almost unconsciously dropping the real question: “Do you really want to break up?”. Normally, I would enjoy it as a bittersweet pop song, but at this moment, I can hardly listen to it without skipping.
Jasmine Star – the sky decidesThe press surrounding Jasmine Star some years ago affirmed that it was the musical project of a mysterious woman that simply called herself “Z” and that it was composed and recorded on a mental institution where she had been hold against her will for a long time. While I always thought this was a hoax to generate publicity, the Mazzy Star sound reminiscence immediately pulled me into this particular world where “z” is only joined by an acoustic guitar and an occasional tanpura to portray some of the bleakest and most tender moments I’ve ever heard in narcotic pop. According to people that have bought her album, after repeated listens, her music may subliminally work as a depressant causing an unpleasant and mournful listen so I must warn you about this before peeking (I was already depressed when I first found her, so…)
While slippery guitars overwash the song, Neil Halstead delivers another one of his usual narcotic motifs in one of Souvlaki’s most emblematic and influential moments- there’s a certain irony in the way he explains: ” It’s so cold now, I swear it will be warm, here she comes now” as if he didn’t really believed the girl in question is actually coming, so instead of becoming the beautiful love song it was meant to be it gets uttered as a prayer for change. This makes the overall atmosphere of the song utterly depressing and claustrophobic.
Note: I hold “souvlaki” as one of my favorite album of all times, but I think “Pygmalion” is the one that holds the authentic impotent, sad gems (couldn’t post because the songs where around 13 mb files): songs like “Rutti”, “blue skied n clear” and “j’ heaven” are perfect for roof-gazing (or shoegazing, as you prefer) while enjoying a natural narcotic state propelled by depression.
While I think “Fake plastic trees” stands as the saddest (in a long list) and most affecting song Thom Yorke has even laid his hands on, “Fog” is the one that makes the back hairs of my neck stand up everytime I listen to it. The regret and disappointment in which Yorke delivers the lyrics: “Did you go bad?” and “Somethings will never wash away” while throwing in metaphors about crocodiles in new york sewers growing amidst crap, make me want to rip my heart out (and feed it to those poor baby alligators) while leaving me paralyzed by the emptiness of my own regrets.
Image: Gerard Lange.