Showing 10 posts tagged 2010
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Trouble In Mind Record Store Day Split
If Goodbye Bread was the album where Segall tried to get some footing as a lyricist, Melted is the album where he tried to figure out how to clean up his sound. Not that the grime goes away entirely—he still cranks the fuzz on “My Sunshine” and “Girlfriend”, but with the spare introduction of “Finger” and the acoustic climb of “Caesar”, he was clearly trying to shake free of the sonic confines he built with his earliest work.
The album’s also got some entertaining curiosities on it, like “Mike D’s Coke,” written and sung by one of the album’s mixers, Mike Donovan. (It’s a spacey advertisement for Coca-Cola.) There’s the quiet sunniness of “Bees”, the paranoia of ”Imaginary Person”, and the echoing blues of “Alone”. It’s all part of an album that, as he said, was “more fried out” than Goodbye Bread. And yes, “fried out” sometimes points to the fuzz, but it also sounds trippier and more psychedelic in places.
And although Goodbye Bread is often heralded as his lyrics album, Melted deserves some credit for the narratives he presents. Look at “Mrs.”, a song with a story that’s so elaborate, its lyrics could stand up next to dozens of old country or folk songs. Even on songs with few or simplistic lyrics, like “Girlfriend”, he presents imagery that’s familiar, but not tired, and that takes finesse.
I know this is something I would say, since I’m the one writing a bunch of stuff about the album today, but you should really buy a copy of Melted. It’s great.
I’m really excited about tomorrow, when I’ll get into Lemons, an album that’s hugely different from both Goodbye Bread and Melted. Until then!
“Girlfriend” is a fuzzed out piece of garage chutzpah. The opening chords sound ominous and devastating, and even with hand claps, it sounds pretty intense. So intense, in fact, that in one unofficial video’s reading, three badass women in rubber First Lady masks catch a man presumably cheating on all three of them in the backseat of a car and decide to chop his head off. The correlations between the song and the video seem to be the words “girlfriend” and “car,” and the distortion on the guitars might imply an aesthetic of violence.
It’s not a bad video, but really, it’s off point. For a song that sounds huge and intense, there’s so much joy in it. “She said she loves me!” “She’s got a blue car, / She said I can use it!” “She don’t mind nothin’!” Okay, so maybe the last one could pose a potential problem (apathy isn’t always the best quality), but other than that, it sounds like a pretty good situation for the song’s narrator. Come on, he can use her car! (And I don’t think he’s talking about using her car to have sex with another woman, but hey, I’ve been wrong before.)
It’s unclear if the song has any autobiography to it, but who cares? What’s important to note is the musical elements of “Girlfriend” are ancient. In Pitchfork’s Best Tracks of 2010 list, Rob Mitchum said it quite well:
“The song’s mixture of power chords, bam-thwack drums, and lyrics about a girl is so time-honored it’s eligible for Social Security, but when it’s done well, it still gets the heart racing.”
It does! On paper, it looks like Segall has taken a note from the Troggs’ playbook—caveman drums, loud guitars, “you make my heart sing.” But it works because of his raw, raspy elation, and it works because it’s such a specific, attainable image. It revels in the simple things that make life great: love and convenient transportation.
And MAN does this song sound good with the volume up.
This is a great live video of “Sad Fuzz”, which among other things, serves as a sort of cool down after the bash of “Girlfriend”. The person behind those videos, “San Francisco Face Melter,” has some great videos of other Bay Area garage mainstays, like Thee Oh Sees, Shannon & The Clams, the Night Beats, and Segall’s collaborator Mikal Cronin. Definitely worth checking out.
The song opens with a lethargic drag, but picks up with “Please don’t be sad, my baby, no,” and follows it up with a standard theme in rock songs: “You know you’re mine, / Oh yeah, you’re mine.” You’re mine. It’s the sort of thing that can be taken in two very different ways.
1) I’m here for you, you don’t have to be sad, because I’m going to take care of you.
And the brilliance of “Sad Fuzz” is that his tone stands firmly between those two things. The implied meaning is the one of comfort, the one that says “I love you.” But when his voice gets all raspy and he screams “Oh yeah you’re mine,” he sounds a little too excited.
That said, even if you’re trying to say, “Hey, I’m here for you,” I don’t think a lot of people take comfort in the implied ownership of a phrase like “you’re mine.”
Are you into masks a lot?
A lot of reasons. A: They look awesome. Halloween’s my favorite holiday. Ever! I love candy. So much that my teeth are really messed up now, probably. I’m a Sour Patch Kids addict. It’s messed up. But also, when you think about masks, the whole idea of masking your identity is really intriguing to me. Putting on a different personality. That’s really interesting to me.
Have you ever heard of the Internet phenomenon called Masking?
No, what is that all about?
It’s this thing where people make incredibly detailed and form-fitting latex masks and then film themselves on YouTube putting them on and taking them off and stuff.
That’s awesome! I would like to see a video of someone with them on and then taking it off, so as to fool the audience into thinking that all of a sudden they are ripping their face off, which is cool.
That’s kind of what it’s like, except the masks don’t look human.
Oh! I have seen this. It’s really bizarre faces and stuff, like a deer?
Or just, like a nothing. Like an alien.
I’ve seen something of like a dancing deer head. A blue deer dancing. It was really frightening! It was so real looking. Maybe we’re not talking about the same thing.
I don’t know. The Internet is a wild and inspired place.