Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cymbal #18:: Bitter

A friend told me last night that (loosely recapitulated) if one loves music, it becomes hard to feel bitter about it, that you can't think of it as poisoned, only that poison is in its nature. Is that the nature of music, or the nature of affection? Is music some Baudelarian muse that you embrace, thorns and all?

But to feel at home in music is like feeling at home in water, to be able to strike out in any direction and recreate identity through reference and expression. And surely, when you feel bitter, you can bend an arm into a posture. And this posture suits me tonight. I fear it may suit a lot of you, from time to time.

The Smiths - Frankly Mr. Shankly - 1986

Since I was sixteen, in moments of pain or loneliness or doubt, I've always been able to turn to The Smiths as consolers of the lonely - a reassurance that somebody out there had marginally at least worse issues than I. And it's always been pissing off when gay people make the Smiths theirs; they belong to all of sad, depressed, burdened, cursed humanity, and none more than any other.

The Smiths - There is a Light that Never Goes Out - 1986

One senses a bit of division-of-labour with the strings. Johnny Marr and his Incredibly Sapient Guitar speak to the highest chakra, filling it with pathos, but the body, the muscle come from the bass. It's really athletic basswork; and set in a different mood, it would be almost dancy, a reminder to not get ahead of yourself- it's just great pop. Morissey's black humour is painfully arch ("If a ten ton truck/kills the both of us/To die by your side/Well, the pleasure, the privilege, is mine") a bath of melancholy built to wallow in.

Morissey - Every Day is Like Sunday

I can't say precisely why, but this video (the song is fine, just what the doctor ordered) makes me very nervous. It makes me question what the nature of co-option is, in the context of how mainstream past alternatives are becoming. I get really uncomfortable with the culture of complicity - and something about this Morissey patrolling a well lit stage in a seated venue leaves me deeply unsettled, like discovering your personal laundry strung out in the public view.
Apologies to any who feel they did not receive Cymbal #17:: Big Riffs, HUGE RIFFS. You did. It's probably gone to your spam filter; a consequence of my BCCing the whole list. In the future, I'm just going to bung everyone's names into the main box and hope that you can look through the ugliness. :-)

In case you can't find it and want it, I'll forward it upon request.

No comments:

Post a Comment