I missed a lot of work last week because I’m a chemically imbalanced moron, which meant that there was a lot of stuff to do today, and really no reason not to stay until shortly after 8 in the evening.
Our online clock-in service says I worked from 9:35 a.m. to 8-something p.m., but I prefer to classify my labor as occurring in the hours between When The Bus After The Bus I Wanted Dropped Me Off and When I Thought I Was Going To Die Of A Blood Clot From Sitting For Eleven Hours While Smoking While On Birth Control All The While With A Family History Of Poor Circulation.
My veins are fucked up, yo.
But anyway, work was mostly okay, but there were some problems — my iPod was dead, my Pandora close to critical mass, and my tolerance for posting ads on Craigslist without musical accompaniment dwindling rapidly.
So, out of desperation, I made a playlist on Youtube — the Dane Cook of streaming music, some might say — featuring the five videos I’m currently obsessed with. I listened to them over and over. And it was great. Non-sarcastically and everything.
Now, if you’ll bear with me, I’d love to introduce to you my latest fixations.
My playlist’s first three songs come from Champ, the new release by Tokyo Police Club that I got to know last weekend while visiting LL Cool J in Maryland. Based on my experiences with Elephant Shell — and, to a lesser extent, A Lesson in Crime — I knew TPC to be both nostalgic and catchy, two must-haves that will make my desert island list of musical attributes every time.
And fortunately for me, Champ is just as nostalgic — and just as catchy — as its predecessor.
The vid up top is for “Breakneck Speed,” by far my favorite song on the album. It’s soothing and reflective, with these melodic slides (technical term) throughout the chorus that seem to vectorize the universe, turning coworkers & cubicles into benevolent floating entities the likes of Waking Life.
Plus, “Breakneck Speed” features a different kind of nostalgia than the Club’s usual fascination with childhood and innocence. Instead, “Breakneck Speed” seems to focus on adolescence, a fact I first realized during the bridge: “Super fun / At the movies, drunk and young.”
It’s pure Strokes, really, romanticizing those weird and lost and foolish years in deceptively simple words.
Next we have “Favourite Colour,” an upbeat tune that’s more grade school than high school — not to mention an ideal embodiment of European spellings. It focuses on those childish questions that don’t mean as much as we think they do: What’s your favorite color? How’s your younger brother? What’s the first record you owned?
The questions might become progressively more significant, but they continue to dance around the larger issue — How can you ever explain yourself to another person? It reminds me of Elephant Shell, when Dave Monks asks “Will you tell me a little bit about — a bit about yourself?” in the chorus of “In A Cave.”
My third fixation — and the album’s last — is “Frankenstein,” a brilliant and somber final track I’m still trying to wrap my head around. It makes me knee-jerk sad, even if I’m not sure why.
I love the chorus’s “So tell me, it’s good to be back,” where the desperation of the lyrics undermines the confident vocals (I tried to avoid using the word “juxtapose” there, god help me). The next line, “A gold star turns black,” provides some neat imagery as well, whether said blackness comes from corruption or just the passing of time.
I’m going to save the other two songs for later. Because I’m insufferably longwinded.