Symphonious Thursday #28 & #29

I could lie and tell you I was just waiting for someone to post any new suggestions, but I’m above that. Could you believe it’s been two weeks already?
Anyway, since neither of you had any songs to offer me (at all?!) I guess I’ll have to find some myself. Luckily, though, I always keep a backup and already knew which song I was to talk about last week. And this week.

First up:

This song came to me just right out of the blue… and I instantly loved it. It’s one of those fantastic Blur songs, if you know what I mean; you can hear it’s Blur, but it’s just a tad more… wonderful. I have no idea how I managed to avoid this for so long.

I’ve read interpretations claiming this song is about drugs… and to be honest, I don’t really see that. One argued that “they’ve been putting the holes in” could refer to the myth that ecstasy making holes in your brain, and I’ll have to agree that that fits very well. However, nothing else of this song screams “drugs”.

The song obviously takes the perspective of a storyteller. The song is a story (my favourite). You can tell it’s a tragic situation: a girl gets kicked out on the street because she can’t pay her rent, but the part that puzzled me for a while was “now she’s eating chocolate to induce sleep/and in a chemical world it’s very very very cheap”. To be honest I couldn’t think of any way of interpreting this line. I usually don’t have trouble doing this, but that line didn’t make any sense to me. “She moves to the country, get’s kicked out of her apartment… and then what?”. I couldn’t see the rest of the story! The only thing I could think of is her literally eating chocolate to induce sleep, but that seems pretty stupid.
I guess you could argue that “chocolate” is supposed to be some sort of metaphor for some kind of drug, but again: I can’t really see it. So she get’s kicked out and then starts taking drugs? Why?

The more logical way to interpret this story is to say that someone is using sugar (chocolate) LIKE drugs.
When times are tough we need something to soothe us. Some of us might have a smoke, others even use alcohol and many use sugar to relieve that stress. Very few (though probably more than we would assume) actually goes to the extent to putting drugs in their body, but sugar is a logical resource. I even do this myself. I’ll have to admit that after I started working regularly I’ve been eating just a small piece of chocolate almost every day. It works for a couple of hours, but in the long run it only makes things worse.
The line “Now she’s eating chocolate to induce sleep” literally means she’s eating chocolate to relax. To soothe herself.

There is also another line that leads me to believe this: “feeling lead, feeling quite light headed/had to sit down and have some sugary tea”.

Second on the list is:

I heard this song almost exactly a week ago and I really loved it. It’s hard to explain, but even though you can pretty much tell when a song is made by this band, they too (like The Beatles) have a very distinct difference on their songs according to time period. But whereas with The Beatles it’s easy to say “their early stuff was more classic, and then it got a bit psychedelic”, They Might Be Giants’ differences is more based on the immediate emotions you have with a certain album. I don’t remember if I mentioned it, but I always tied TMBG‘s early stuff with abandoned factories, for some reason. And their early stuff can be considered… different. I have no idea how to make my point here, so I’ll just move on. What I meant to say is that You’re On Fire reminds me of their “middle” stuff, which is why I like it.

I’d be lying if I said their new stuff was as good as their earliest stuff (They Might Be Giants (1986), Lincoln (1988), Flood (1990)…). It is absolutely not bad,  but it’s not as good. But that is like comparing chocolate with ice cream. The first albums was alternative gold.
The reason I’m mentioning this is that, while I think their earliest stuff is better, this song stands out. It’s the first song on their new album, Nanobots (2013), and I can honestly say it’s the perfect song to open the album. It is wonderful.

As well as giving my interpretation on the song I figured I’d do a short review of the album, seeing as it was just released. So… here goooes…

I’ve already made up my opinion on this song. To me it is simply about angry people. It might not be what they were going for, but that’s what I get out of it.
The mere name is a dead giveaway: “being on fire” is pretty much a universal synonym for being angry. That is dragging it a bit far, but you know what I mean.

To me the song is about a person confronting a furious person, and it almost sounds a bit sarcastic. The line “oh damn, you must’ve got one of them combustible heads/I read an article all about them” seems like a way of sarcastically saying “oh, yeah, you’ve got a very good reason for being angry”. It’s not his fault, he’s got a condition. A way of telling the person “calm down, dude”.
Also, the opening line “hi, I forgot your name/whatever/my point is/hi, your head’s on fire” makes me think of a person approaching the angry person. Again, just to tell them to calm down, or simply bring it to their attention that they’re taking it too personal.

The album is really great. Again, You’re On Fire is amazing, and the next song, Nanobots, is also amazing. Both these songs scream They Might Be Giants. And I’m pretty sure that if you heard these songs without knowing they were from the latest album you would probably guess it was made in the mid 90’s.

What I like most about the album is that it works almost like Apollo 18; there are some full length songs and then some short ones (ranging from 6 seconds to 1 minute). The point is to put the album on shuffle, so the short songs come as a surprise “break” between the main songs.

In these ways the album is like a blast from the past. But there are also a lot of very new songs, not only new as in they’re actually new, but also new in style. Apparently TMBG went from a very authentic sound to a more electrical sound over the years, though not really leaving their roots… ever.
The album certainly has a more modern feel to it, but at the same time it mixes not only TMBG’s past, but also elements from older forms of rock, like in Call You Mom (50’s rock) and You’re On Fire (60’s rock).

My overall rating? Hmm… 4 1/2 out of 6 coffee cups.

I love it when the coffee's done

Pleeaase feel free to give me some suggestions for next Symphonious Thursday in the comments! Work with me!

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