(Get it, ’cause my name is Dan White. I wish I could say being this unfunny was effortless)
I received my first MP3 player (A Creative Zen Touch) when I was around 11/12, and since I don’t believe that there’s been a single day that I haven’t listened to music. I try to listen to as much as possible, and I think I have fairly broad, open music tastes. However, I am notoriously bad for just listening to one single song on loop for about thirty minutes/an hour. You know those times where shuffle offers up a song that so perfectly encompasses your current mood that you just leave your music player of choice on “song-repeat” for a bit? Well the idea of this (hopefully recurring) theme is to talk about those songs. Let’s get into it!
Poke – Frightened Rabbit
“And now we’re unrelated and rid of all the shit we hate, but I hate when I feel like this and I never hated you”
Frightened Rabbit’s latest album, Painting of a Panic Attack, is one of my favourite albums released in 2016 so far. This prompted my return to this track, which is my favourite FRabbit song. It’s a wonderful piece; the juxtaposition of very lyrical Scottish singing and a very soft guitar, with such bitter anger and emotion in response to a break up. It’s a very beautiful song, that just happens to contain the word “cunt”.
Tears Over Beers – Modern Baseball
“All I can hope for is me to get better, because all I can take is no more”
The song found its ways into rotation because it’s finally getting to summer, and this skate-punky, emo-y music just reminds me of wasted days drinking in the sun with friends. The line I highlighted from the chorus is what gets me though. The song is about a breakup, but the meaning of the line is unclear: does she mean to get “better” by moving on, or is she hoping to “better” herself and get him back?
Play Crack The Sky – Brand New
“And I wish for one more day, to give my love and repay debt, but the morning finds our bodies washed up 30 miles west”
I think Deja Entendu should be held up as the gold standard of album art; the whole spaceman floating in a burning sky thing is very striking. It’s a wonderful album, full of emo sentiment and smug lyrics. But then “Play Crack The Sky”, the closing track, stands out in its honesty and introspection. Yes the emo/alt-rock aesthetic is still there within the lyrics, but this acoustic ballad is a softer look at endings and your own mortality than anything else offered by Brand New.
The Navesink Banks (live) – The Gaslight Anthem
“And your first sin was a lie you told yourself”
Brian Fallon’s raw sandpaper voice does stuff to me. The special edition of Handwritten ends with four tracks pretty much intended to make you sob, “National Anthem” followed by live versions of “Great Expectations”, “The Navesink Banks” and “Blue Jeans and White T-shirts”. Another song about break ups and moving on (I promise this wasn’t an intentional theme), I love that it doesn’t deal with these issues by looking at the other partner. Instead the inability to move on is centred around the narrator, and the little lies he told himself that prevented him exorcising the ghosts in his life.
Mrs Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel
“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you”
There’s a pretty simple reason for this ending up on permanent rotation recently. I officially graduate in two months, and in my “oh shit the real world is coming” moment I watched The Graduate again. I mean if you’re struggling with having to leave your teenage angst behind, you may as well watch the film that invented the modern teenager! This is another quite sad song, an open call back to the glory years of old that you left behind you. But god is this song catchy. Depressing or not, if you can listen to this song and not spend all day singing it you have a much more willpower than I.
So that was the first White Noise blog post on this site. I didn’t realise until I was writing it that all of these songs were actually quite depressing; maybe this says something about my life! This is just the first five songs on my initial list of 10 songs from the past few months, so expect another blog soon. I’m still quite new to this blogging thing, so again I’d be very grateful for any comments/feedback.