Saturday, July 24, 2010

shiver and say the words of every lie you've heard

Ran out of podcasts to listen to earlier today, so i switched over to some music in the ol' shuffle. Skipped the first bunch of songs but finally settled into "The Only Thing That Shines" by Shriekback. Shriekback is a slightly obscure 80s gloom-dance side project. I don't know anybody else in Salt Lake who's a fan (although I'm sure they exist). This song is actually a ballad (and I think a pretty obsessive imbalanced one).

The next song was "Borderline" by Madonna. Today that song sounded SO good. Better than usual even. I pondered a little on the song's end fade out where she's just doing a sort of "la da da da la da da da." I wondered how it was recorded. Is there an actual end to the song that they cut out through fade? Perhaps I just wanted to hear some more even if she wasn't even singing words.

The next song was "Bring on the Dancing Horses" by Echo and the Bunnymen. It was absolute perfect timing, because I found the experience euphoric. Astute readers of this blog (just me I think) may recognize that this was the song that played during the fireworks climax at Sugarhouse as I drove by on I-80 (simply savvy people would recognize the tune from the Pretty in Pink Soundtrack (the 23rd greatest movie of all time)). Today this song sounded even better. I heard things in the song that I never really took specific notice of. Is that a harp? Is that an electric accordion? Most of all, the song sounded so earnest and sincere. I completely believed Ian McCulloch when he sang "First I'm gonna make it then I'm gonna break it 'til it falls apart." I also was willing to actually bring on the dancing horses he was speaking of. The fact that I don't have any idea what "it" is that will fall apart or where these horses are (or even if they're literal or figurative) had nothing to do with the absolute believability of what I was hearing.

I wonder if a song could be written today with the unironic harp, wheezy reverb and earnest (but easily make-fun-able) lyrics that I hear in "Bring on the Dancing Horses" and still be a song that I don't brush off immediately.

I'm the biggest 80s music fan I know. I'm very fond of saying that I've been a fan of 80s music since 1980. 90% of my friends cannot say this because they were born after December 31, 1980. I have a huge fear that my fandom is mostly a result of life chronology. Obviously it's a huge part of it. For the most part the music of today is no worse than any other era. The only reason you think it was better when you were a teen-ager is because that's the music that was released when YOU were a teen-ager.

I like to think it's not JUST that though. I like to think that there was a different sense of sincerity back then (that I think only I can see).

My biggest reason for wanting to take part in time travel is to just go back in time to a time I remember. Would it feel different? Would it feel now? It probably would, but I really really hope it would feel like it did back then -- which is simply a lot different than it feels now in ways too complex to describe and do justice.

Coincidentally while doing my traditional YouTube music video "research" for this post I discovered that "Bring on Your Dancing Horses" actually appears in Hot Tub Time Machine, a movie I meant to see, but didn't get around to. I have a bad feeling that everybody who has seen it now knows the song quite well and they know it as a joke. I'm afraid the song has now been reset. The time machine I'm hoping for is now much farther away.


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