Wow. I have no idea how I managed to forget about Symphonious Thursday three weeks in a row. That is incredible. And not acceptable. I guess along with being inspired and active in some things leave you forgetful and nonchalant to other things. It’s not like I don’t want to do this anymore… I’ve just been focusing on other things.
On top of actually working every single day, only leaving every third weekend free to spend with friends, I have to help out at home, try to do things I’ve been procrastinating due to “hard labour”, try to get a read in once in awhile, help my sister with her big project (will be explained in further detail), and then there’s my blog which, I’ll admit, have been pretty lousy recently. I even promised to write about my trip to London if most of you wanted to, and guess what? You actually did! And I who walked around thinking you find it lousy. You, guys :)
But this is me trying to get back on my feet after a pretty big fall. It’s not anything marvelous, but I’ll tell you one thing: this is my 100th post. Yep. It is. You can check it out if you don’t believe me. So, you know, yay.
So because this post is so special I want to spend more time on each of these songs. Really go into elaborate detail about why I love it, why I’ve been listening to it and just general things about the songs to remind me why I started doing this thing in the first place.
Let’s hear it for number one!
I do believe that three weeks ago I was listening to this song. I remember singing it at work and my coworker telling me that we could put the radio on if I wanted. Just a clarification: just because I’m singing Jonathan Coulton songs, that doesn’t mean I want to hear Diamonds by Rihanna five times in a row. I am dead serious, this song is on all the time! Obviously she couldn’t know what song I was singing, so I politely said “no, thanks, I’m good”, and then continued singing.
I just generally like Jonathan Coulton, actually. I don’t really know how I came over his talent, whether it was by Portal or They Might Be Giants, but I’m sure it was by either of the two.
What may be interesting to know (at least for TMBG fans, including myself) is that John Flansburgh actually directed this video. Not only is Jonathan Coulton a big fan of TMBG, but they’re very good friends and work together on several occasions. Which is awesome.
I don’t really know why I adore this song so much, but I know it has something to do with the guitar in between the verses. And the bridge is pretty cool. Coulton and Roderick’s voices sound very good together and make a great harmony.
The theme is also very good and original. It might be just me being musically oblivious, but I don’t believe I have heard this kind of song anywhere before. It is a nice original view on love; how enemies actually are dependant of each other. A very special and interesting kind of love.
It is interesting how they match hate and love; two emotions that are surprisingly difficult to tell apart at times. And I’m not talking about the kind of hate you have over an annoying workmate or just someone who bugs you. I am talking about real heart aching hate. On the verge of feeling like you could actually kill the person in question. A perfect example is of corse siblings.
Most of us have been there. Feeling the urge to get rid of their brother and/or sister for good. And in the moment of thought we don’t really think we’d have a problem with it. But it’s almost like a “you don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve lost it” situation. Not that you actually lost your sibling, but many might feel guilty just by thinking it. And I believe that if you actually did you would miss them dearly. And end up in jail.
Okay, maybe if they died in an accident or was killed by another person. The point being that even if at times you want them dead, you still love them with all your heart.
You’ve got sibling rivalry, but you’ve also got what’s called a “brotherhood”.
And then there’s number two!
(Heh heh… number two…)
Yea, I know. It is a cover. And yes, I know. Nirvana is one of the best bands of all time. Yeah, yeah, I know. The Polyphonic Spree was never world famous and meaningful and iconic to the degree Nirvana were. More like The PolyPHONYc Spree, am I right? Am I right? Now back to serious business. Granted, it is a cover and most people would agree it’s not a very good one. And granted, I am not a big fan of covers myself. But to my defense I was never a big fan of Nirvana. It’s not that I don’t like them. It’s just that…. well, to quote Frank Black: “it didn’t turn me on”. I should do it properly, considering there’s actually an option for that.
“It didn’t turn me on…”
– Frank Black on “Flood”, Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns, 2003
In my defense again, I’m not actually a fan of The Polyphonic Spree either. I just prefer this version. Nirvana’s original version is too depressing for me. Yes, the lyrics are still the same and still very depressing, but the way they’re performing it reminds me of They Might Be Giants: they’re happy, but they’re sad.
John Linnell once said that covering your sadness in a happy melody always seemed more sad than publicly crying. And I agree. There’s almost like they don’t want to realise that they’re sad. Like there’s an internal struggle. “I’m happy! But I’m sad…”.
I think a lot of people can relate to that. I even expressed this type of feeling in my Symphonious Thursday #21, where I covered Asleep by The Smiths (another depressing band). And I don’t think enough people talk about this conflicting situation. You’re happy, but in reality you’re quite depressed.
And I’m not claiming that’s what The Polyphonic Spree were going for. It just reminded me of how almost every TMBG song covers a sad subject with an upbeat melody, like this one did.
I have to admit that while I don’t particularly care for covers, I do admire creative twists like that.
I’ve been listening to this song for years and I never seem to get tired of it. It’s just a great cover. And how can you go wrong with songs featuring the harp? C’mon.
And the final song is…!
This is probably one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. Though I’ve considered myself a fan of Arcade Fire since I got hooked on Wake Up after watching the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, I seem to have overlooked this one. My father showed it to me after our trip to Italy where we had a CD featuring Black Mirror (by the same band) and after getting hooked on the band himself. He actually showed me this exact video, I distinctly remember.
I also remember reading that this song was about parents that “exploit” their children for fame, something like Toddlers and Tiaras. And I can really see that.
It sort of takes the viewpoint of the parent, making excuses like “no no, this is different”, “it’s all for her”, and that it’s all for the good (comparing it to Christianity (“I’m a good Christian man“)).
I want to point out what an excellent subject this is. And I like how it’s not even hiding it. A lot of bands would probably use metaphors to get across their message to appear clever, but this song is just so honest. What’s interesting is that it came out before Toddlers and Tiaras(- 2009, Neon Bible – 2007), not to mention before the show got so out of hand. I don’t know why, but I find it interesting that someone can act like complete arseholes even when somebody are so obviously pointing it out. Nowadays we obviously have a lot of memes and other jokes about this matter, but it doesn’t seem to cross the producer’s, not the parents’ minds that they’re being horrible people.
That’s not really the point, though. I just love how honest it is. But even though we all hate these parents for exploiting their children for their own advantage, this song does put the matter in the view of the parent. All this person wants is to be famous. He doesn’t want to “work in the building downtown”. He wants something bigger, but his time has passed. It is too late for him.
I am not saying it is okay to use your child to get fame, but what I’m saying is that… you understand where they’re coming from.
Take Honey Boo-Boo’s mother for example. I don’t want to be mean, trust me, but she is terrible. You can tell her daughter do not want to do this anymore. She just wants to be a child. And it is clear as day that the mother is doing this all for herself. She wanted the fame, and that’s what she got (thanks to viewers, I hope you’re happy). She is just not a likeable person, and wouldn’t have found fame anywhere else. This was her last resort.
I am also not saying that seeking fame for the fame itself should be a legitimate dream or ambition. It should be a byproduct of something you love, which makes Honey Boo-Boo’s mother’s fame wrong. It is the wrong kind of fame. Like the fame you get from leaked naked pictures or something like that.
You’re not producing anything. You’re not showing talent. It’s wrong.
And without actually saying that this song expresses that perfectly. You can tell his wish is humble and he doesn’t want to actually hurt anyone. But by chasing something he cannot reach himself he is hurting the things he loves most.
And again you get back to the excuses about it all being for the child, not for his own fame.
The theme is wonderfully portrayed, and along with the great execution of the subject it has an adventurous melody, which fits perfectly.
An altogether great song!
And again: sorry for being so forgetful. Like I said, I’ve just been focusing on other things. I am still very serious about this. I hope this can sort of even out some of the minor mistakes I’ve done in the past.
And I wanted to say something! PLEASE READ!
Not that I’m running out of songs or anything, I still listen to a lot of new music, but I wanted to suggest something I believe would make Symphonious Thursday a lot more interesting: what if for every Symphonious Thursday I post you post some suggestions. I mean, the few of you who actually read my posts have been with me for a while, and you’re kind of getting to know me. I think you know my taste in music almost as much as I do (I’m actually serious). I promise I would listen to them if you do actually post something. And from what I get (if I get anything, or even enough) I will choose my favourite and talk about it somewhat like I did today.
I think it could be really cool. Just suggest anything, even if you’re not sure. This could turn out really awesome if we work together! :)