Thursday, 14 December 2017

i can hear music

At my last session my therapist gave me one task which I've been throwing myself into with some gusto.

She told me that I needed to listen to more music. I know, what a slavedriver. But I am nothing if not a good student.

One of my favourite bands has always been They Might Be Giants, who often get tarred with the wacky brush. However, they suffer from the opposite problem to The Smiths, who are mostly hilarious but who people assume are miserable. Conversely, TMBG write quirky, funny songs that have a sheen of cleverness and fun but frequently touch on dark issues such as death, depression and social anxiety.

One of my favourite songs of theirs is called - bluntly - Dead. Call me a simpleton, but I’ve always just read the lyrics as being an original look at the concept of death and reincarnation
I came back as a bag of groceries
as well as fears about the legacy we leave behind
Did a large procession wave their torches as my head fell in the basket?
And was everybody dancing on the casket?
as well as daft regrets and the wrongs we never corrected
I will never say the word "procrastinate" again
I'll nevers see myself in the mirror with my eyes closed
I didn't apologise
For when I was eight and I made my younger
Brother have to be my personal slave
So far so clever (but since when did we see cleverness and expertise as a bad thing?).

But the day after I got my second PIP refusal letter I spent a lot of time playing TMBG songs. I was in a bad way and quite frankly just about ready to give up. And in my heightened state I realised that this song is actually about depression:
Now it's over, I'm dead, and I haven't done anything that I want
Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do
It seems so bleeding obvious now but a quick look at the TMBG wiki shows that not one person has tagged it with depression or pulled out that theme.

But that line ("I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do") summed up how hopeless and pointless it felt that day. And weirdly made me feel better.

But it’s not all highfalutin concepts and heavyweight lyrical concerns. Sometimes pop smarts just come at you out of left field and you find yourself playing the same song over and over again.

A quick reccy of YouTube plays and recent Last.FM stats shows that I’ve played this song by Alvvays around 12 times within the last couple of days.

I know nothing about them, they're not doing anything remotely original. It's a song about love gone bad through thoughtlessness or laziness, and musically it’s treading some well worn paths.

All I know is, the way she slurs downwards on the word "psychology" at 1.28 (on the video above) makes my heart go all squiffy.

That one moment makes my day every time I play it, in a way that hasn't happened since the off-beat ride cymbal which kicks in at the end of Uptown Funk (from 3.54). Yes the song is the very definition of ubiquitous but by god that's a Grade A piece of pop arrangement.

So what has all of this navel-gazing got to do with anything?

Yesterday I went for another bloody job interview. I’m waiting for feedback and clinging to the fact that one of the people who interviewed me isn't at work today. But being realistic it's not looking good is it?

However, at the very least this will be (surely?) the last job interview I have this year. So that's something, right?

Play it again, Stevey.

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