Friday, January 20, 2012

Addicted to the 80's

On the day I was born, "Addicted To Love" by Robert Palmer was the #1 song in the country. Maybe we put too much stock in horoscopes as a way to define our personalities. Tauruses are stubborn, Leos are loyal, Virgos are self-righteous. What if we looked to the #1 song on the day we were born as a way to explain our personality traits, behaviors, and characteristics?

Whoa, you like to think that you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah
It's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough
You know you're gonna have to face it, you're addicted to love

For years, I've described myself as having an "addictive personality", never making the parallels to the #1 song the day I was born. I've had my vices over the years, my obsessions, and one of the most powerful would have to be my insatiable need for the music that keeps driving me.

You can't be saved

Oblivion is all you crave
If there's some left for you
You don't mind if you do

And doesn't this song just describe the go-go 80's more perfectly than any other? The 80's are about excess, the aesthetics of glamour, a synthesizer and a drum beat, day-glo and cocaine, neon and strobe lights, the indulgence of every obsession you could dream of.

From that heavy pounding drum intro to the moment the guitar kicks in, the swing of the song is what drives it. And the lyrics. You might as well face it, you're addicted to love. The song urges you: just give in, don't fight it anymore, just succumb to the desires you so badly need. Didn't we all in the 80's? The song marries lyrics that suggest the darker side of need with a ever-so-slightly dirty groove.

Your mind is not your own. It's the devastation of knowing you're hooked and conversely knowing you love it. It's no coincidence that the term addiction is most commonly affiliated with drug use. Palmer makes the parallels between withdrawal from narcotics and the agony/ecstasy of falling in love, which is pretty much the same thing.

If you'd like to look up the #1 song on your birthday and stop using an arbitrary astrological sign to explain your neuroses, check out this link, which will show you the #1 song on that date for each year of the existence of the Billboard Hot 100.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Of Monsters And Men - "Little Talks": Top Songs of 2012

It has been a long time since I have heard a song I can listen to incessantly, repetitively and never grow tired of it. "Little Talks" by the band Of Monsters and Men is that song for me. I have listened to it over and over again since discovering it as the free download of the week on iTunes.

Some days I can't even trust myself
It's killing me to see you this way

The lyrics are oblique and remind us of our unwavering humanity, rooted in nostalgia and memories long gone by.

Soon it will all be over, buried with our past
You used to play outside when you were young,
Full of life and full of love

The call and response vocals between the male and female vocalist are ethereal and unique, creating the feel of a conversation between two distinct and complicated human beings.

Go go go away
I wish you'd disappear
All that's left is a ghost of you
Now we're torn torn torn apart, there's nothing we can do
Just let me go, me against you
Now wait wait wait for me
Please hang around
I see you when I fall asleep

The song describes the push and pull between what we know we need and what we desperately want. Being haunted by the ghost of our memories, always lurking behind us but perpetually out of reach. It evokes an airy beach house in the winter where the open space seems stifling beyond measure, where sunlight spills across the floor in a way that can't fill the space or warm the cold. Where hope exists, in a way you know like you understand life is finite, but can't bring yourself to truly believe in it.

'Cause though the truth may vary
This ship will carry
Our bodies safe to shore