Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Come on mood shift, shift back to good again

Bands used to have simple names: The Beatles, The Clash, Johnny and the whoevers... now we have the clumsy, yet cool, "Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah", the impossible "!!!" (pronounced "chk, chk, chk") and the beautiful "I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness". Song titles, too, once evoked their intended purpose: "Turn, turn, turn" actually had "turn, turn, turn" in the chorus - shocking! And even New Order, who attached their song titles, it would appear, to their music and not their lyrics, had fairly muted and zippy titles for their tracks.
Then along comes Sufjan and his "The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Going To Have To Leave Now, Or, 'I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight". This tune lasts only two minutes but takes at least a good 60 seconds for the name to scroll through the iPod's screen.
Of course every action has a reaction and people are going for the more refined, straight forward approach nowadays too - ie: Matt & Kim and their "yea yeah" song. Pretty simple (but somehow calculated no doubt).

Quirky, Georgia based Of Montreal have bulky song titles and I can’t say as I understand them or the band that much. But "Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games", a favorite video around our house (and featuring a guillotine), is sure a catchy song and I used "So begins our Alabee" in our family's 2006 recap movie. And then there's the mythically titled "Heimdalsgate like a promethean curse". The fine, helpful people at had to help me out with this one (I only read newspapers and magazines). It has taken me a while to get into this song but now I can't shake "Come on chemicals. Come ON chem-i-cal-a-o-a-o-a-o-als" out of my head (as Mr. Montreal says in the song: "my own inner cosmology has become too dense to navigate"!?!). But what really grabs me is the way he pleads with himself: "I'm in a crisis. I need help. Come on mood shift, shift back to good again. Come on mood shift, shift back to good again. Come on be a friend".

Below is the video for Heimdalsgate like a promethean curse - not in any way bizarre:

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