7.12.2010

Hey Listen World, I've Had Enough!

I thought that I would give up on my project, particularly because of the months I have taken off because I didn't (or sometimes couldn't) listen to any music. But as I was writing a statement explaining my decision to change it from a project to simply a wishlist of albums I will eventually listen to and cross off my list, I felt incredibly sad. Maybe I have a habit of starting more projects than I can finish, and I may not have the commitment to see many of those projects through, but the 365 project was one of the few things that I really looked forward to for the first quarter of the year. The last two months I have not even thought about music, but now that I finally find myself wanting to hear music again, I suddenly feel like it would be such a waste to give up now. I have five more months ahead of me, or more specifically, 188 albums to review in 176 days.

So, I might as well get started.

Nine Times That Same Song by Love is All

I started falling in love with music because of the freedom it gave me. My family is incredibly tight-knit; growing up, my mom tried to force my sister and I to be as close as conjoined twins. As a whole our family acts like a collection of reclusive people, so desperately alone that we cling to each other for dear life. I grew up sitting on an old orange couch, listening to old school hip hop and pop music from the 90s my sister liked on the radio. And that music simply never moved me.

I started listening to rock music by happenstance, and it was amazing the personal space bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana afforded me. For the next several years, music was an active assault on the limits of my life, and had a very physical presence in my rebellion against my parents. If I lied, had "attitude", or fought with them in any way, their immediate and swift punishment was to take my music privileges away. They believed that music would play only a small part in my life, a stage I'd eventually grow out of.

Unfortunately for my parents, the passion for music never really went away. When I turned to indie music in 2006, I immediately gravitated towards loud, forceful music that would drive my family away. I started listening to Love is All precisely for that reason: Josephine Olausson's half-shouting, Markus Görsh's driving drums, and even (sometimes especially) Fredrick Eriksson's frenetic saxophone. Between "Talk Talk Talk Talk" and "Trying Too Hard", Nine Times That Same Song is fast-paced, frustration-fused songs about love, watching too much television, aging, and trying too hard. For people like me that may or may not rely too heavily on lyrics to derive meanings, it may be frustrating to find that Love is All sometimes buries its lyrics through a fog of reverb and accented vocals (made worse when compounded by the fact that I can't even find lyrics online for half of the songs on the album).

After a while, that frustration with my parents and my lack of privacy eventually died away, and my music tastes became a bit more reasonable. I still seek space when listening to music, because I simply don't want to be accessible to people. A lot of bands have fallen by the wayside due to this shift, particularly Love is All. When I had finally realized I didn't need noise to build walls from the people that cared about me (my rotten disposition is good enough to accomplish that), I turned to twee and pop music. It took me a long time to find my way back to anything remotely "noisy", beginning with Animal Collective and burgeoning from there. It took a long time to find my way back to Love is All, which I needed yesterday morning to drown out the sound of my parents yelling.

I never really appreciated Nine Times That Same Song when I first listened to it, namely because I heard it for the sound. Of course, the sometimes angry-as-hornets sound is important in defining the album, as it expresses general frustration but also wound-up anticipation for life to get started. The album is, to a degree, rooted in real life events in the band members' lives, but it largely conveys sentiments: particularly, the album explores themes of love, apathy towards life vs. a hunger for something bigger, and generally trying too hard and still doing things that you realize probably weren't the best idea. There is an impressive presence of balance on the album, balancing frantic noise with melodies and pop hooks, as well as balancing all that energetic sound with lulls (just listen to the difference between "Spinning & Scratching" and "Turn the TV Off").

And luckily enough, if you happen to like Nine Times That Same Song, Love is All manages to keep from disappointing in A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night and Two Thousand And Ten Injuries (they kinda seem to have a thing for numbers, don't you think?).

1 comment:

Nathan said...

yesssssss. i'm glad that you're listening to music again :).

I always listened to music before we met, but you've exposed me to GREAT music and I will never forget it. thank you

also side note I watched nick and nora's infinite playlist and it's by far my most favorite movie to date.