Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Just another one of those things

Ever get a song stuck in your head that you know you know, but can't, for one reason or another, immediately identify, to the point of being driven absolutely nutters (a nod to our UK readers, or just Sam, who has managed to convince his parents that his semester-long crack-binge-with-an-accent is actually one of those respectable study abroad programs) on the quest to figure it out? Why do I bring this up, especially when I've got a backlog of show reviews that I've been too lazy to write (don't worry, they'll get here eventually)?

Precisely to inform you, the charz2k readership, that you needn't worry about my sanity, for tonight, the song that had been playing on repeat in my mind was cheerfully reunited with its title and performer so that I could play the song on repeat in real-life (and then listen to Real Life by Magazine, which I just realized I'm doing right now). That is the answer to the questions.

Background: during the Sea and Cake show, and again during the Andrew Bird show, one way or another this song wedged itself into the deepest crevice of my consciousness, into such a place where I could not connect the dots between melody and the actual song. What's more is that a week or so ago a song came up on shuffle that has an at least somewhat similar intro, which made me think I had figured it out. I was wrong. To the band (The Old Soul), thanks for exacerbating my problem.

Background 2: The other day when I was in Guitar Center, I did not get called "bro" even once. I'm not complaining, and though it's not germane to the story I'm telling, the lack of the abbreviated fraternal nickname threw me off guard and perhaps shifted my Guitar Center paradigm (use the words "paradigm" and "shift" in different contexts often to make people agree that you didn't get much out of your overpriced post-secondary education, but you got just enough out of it to still manage to sound like a douchebag every once in a while). Oh, yeah, the song thing. I was in the acoustic guitar room, because when you're in that room you can't hear the idiots playing their stupid metal riffs, and I picked up and started strumming a mandolin with one of the few chords I knew. What's remarkable is that this first chord I strummed is the first strummed chord on a mandolin in a song I have, both on CD and on my computer. When I heard what I had played, I was amazed that the one chord I chose sounded so perfectly like the opening chord strumming in that song, uh, shit. What's that song? Fuck fuck fuck.

Fast forward two days for the resolution of background 2: the song was "Irma" by the Magnetic Fields. There was no startling coincidence that triggered the memory, I just happened to remember more of the song than that opening chord thingie and after a little bit of time, it just clicked.

Fast forward to tonight: after thinking that the song in question was by a singer-songwritertype, particularly a Swedish one like Jens Lekman or Pelle Carlberg, or a non-Swedish one like Ned Collette, I was blindsided by something I noticed. The first song I had trouble placing was kind of similar to the second (no, it wasn't the same song; I'm not an idiot). Not the voice, exactly, but there were definitely some common compositional qualities. How tangible these qualities are is up to each individual reader, but that's neither here, nor there. What's worth saying is that identification of mystery song #2 directly helped me solve my mystery song #1 problem. How? Mystery song #1 was "As You Turn to Go" by the 6ths. Stephin Merritt put one over on me.

You almost got me Steve. Almost.


Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Eric said...

Thanks, Charz.

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