January 09, 2005

Dear Taryn:

No one is allowed to be depressed to The Shins.

Garden State was a pretty good movie. It says a lot of accurate things about going home, and a lot of accurate things about trying to be an actor. Natalie Portman will be mine. But if Zach Braff succeeded, intentionally or not, in making The Shins the official music of staring out the window and sighing, and I tried for three or four minutes to find words better than these but there aren't any, he done fucked up.

The Shins' latest album opens with seven claps and a "WOO!" They wrote (and have performed, I've seen it) the song "Know Your Onion," and it's poppier than a party for the A*Teens at Aaron Carter's house that Hall & Oates used to own. More handclaps! Carnival organ!

Okay, granted, the lyrics to that song's hook go "It was undeniably clear to me, I don't know why." So clearly these dudes have worn some sweaters, and attended classes where the professor has published a book he makes you buy. But that's the point. That's why I'm tired of some of my favorite bands (The Smiths, Belle & Sebastian), getting tarred with the "morose" label. Smart doesn't have to equal sad. Ignorance isn't the only kind of bliss. Sure, Belle & Sebastian wrote lots of songs about homely girls with well-worn library cards. And Morrisey sang "A dreaded sunny day/so let's go where we're happy/and I'll meet you at the cemetary gates." Depressing, yea. But depressing with an asterisk. There was always a wink to the ridiculous depths of teenage angst.

And guess what? Belle & Sebastian released "Dear Catastrophe Waitress," and now they play songs with surf guitar. Morrisey's holding a fucking tommy gun on the cover of his new album. They're smart, and they reached the right conclusions. It can't rain all the time. Pop music is fun. They realized what the dumb jocks knew the whole time: staying inside all the time is fucking boring.

In the interest of full disclosure, Taryn, one time I was sad about a girl to the song "New Slang." So I get it. It just saddens me to think of somebody going "Time for sad! Shins CD goes in!" 'cause I think they're so beautiful and, yes, fun.

Maybe it's just that Taryn is not the sort of girl who is allowed to be depressed. If you know her you agree and if you don't, you would if you did.

The link on the song "Know Your Onion" downloads an mp3 of that song. I know! The kids are doing that now!

Posted by DC at January 9, 2005 03:36 AM
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