I’d forgotten about this one. It takes me back to the bygone summer of 2014, when I was trying to listen to all of the Neil Young. I found out that listening to all of the Neil Young is practically impossible, because Neil Young has dozens of albums. Dozens upon dozens. Some are classics, some are just weird and bad. If you start at the beginning, with Buffalo Springfield, or even if you skip Buffalo Springfield, exhaustion starts to set in by about 1972. So you admit defeat and settle back into only listening to After the Gold Rush and Decade over and over again.
Bob Marley offers a plain and pithy truth: you can’t run away from yourself. End of story. That’s a truth that a lot of people are in denial about, and no amount of reggae songs or life experience will convince them to stop trying. If you know what’s good for you, though, take some life lessons from Marley. He has a lot of them to offer, about being a strong and righteous person.
Here for you dose of turn-of-the-century nostalgia, it’s No Doubt. If you remember gluing gaudy plastic “bindis” from Claire’s to your face in honor of Gwen Stefani, congratulations, you’re a 90’s kid. I myself never did that. I didn’t listen to No Doubt in the 90’s, because my adolescent “I hate everything” was really strong, and I could not permit myself, on my honor, to enjoy normal-people shit. That didn’t stop me from having a raging fashion-crush on Gwen, but, you know, in secret. In hindsight, I can admit that No Doubt was a pretty good band. Not a great one, by any means; Gwen Stefani’s style and charisma carried the day far more than her vocal talents. But so what, it was a great image.
This is definitely one of the weirdest songs from The Doors. Of course, The Doors were a weird band in a lot of ways anyway. But they were usually pretty consistent in their sound. They stayed on-theme, mostly. This is like two throwaway songs mashed together, neither one being regular Doors fare. It’s one half jazz-fusion, one half quasi-bluegrass (and one half tribute to Otis Redding.) The jazz inflection isn’t too far out; it’s something the band had played around with throughout their career, although it wasn’t until The Soft Parade that they went all the way with hiring a real horn section. The hillbilly breakdown is just random. Bluegrass was absolutely not a direction that the Doors ever wanted to go towards. I think it’s either an attempt to infuse a little humor, or Morrison’s way of showing disdain towards all the fancy new arrangements. Or both.
“So much of my album has to do with running away and refusing to settle in one place. It’s about the good and the bad of going out on your own.” – Ryn Weaver
Clearly, running away has been a popular theme. It’s particularly poignant for young women who wish to escape from stifling home lives and see the expectations of their future as nothing but a burden. The option to run away and become a traveling musician isn’t exactly a new one; theater troupes and gypsy caravans have called out to the brave for centuries, and the performing arts have long been a designated haven for nonconformists. The idea of making a break for it is still a powerful one, even though we now enjoy a lot more personal freedom than ever before.
The Human League never covered any Del Shannon songs. If they had, it might have sounded something like this. This is also, technically, not a cover of Del Shannon’s famous hit; somehow no one has noticed that it has the same hook and Ladytron has been allowed to claim sole songwriting credit. Call it an homage, I guess. But it does make me want to hear Ladytron cover some early-60’s pop songs. I also want to hear Ladytron do a collaboration with Phil Oakey, because if anybody can replicate the sound of Dare for the new millennium it’s Ladytron. Or, you know, I just want Ladytron to make another album. Which they’ve been promising to do, but haven’t done. I would like it to be a 1960’s pop cover album featuring Phil Oakey, but I’ll take whatever they want to give me.
Now back to our regularly scheduled content of pretty people making shimmery sonic soundscapes. No news from Electric Youth since 2014. If they stay quiet much longer they just might have to change their name. (hahahaha…ah..uh…) This is a vital part of your Millennial Chillwave discography, which you are no doubt compiling. This is the sound of now-ish, the musical takeaway of the decade. You may think it’s pretty wimpy music, if you’re a fan of bands who wear studded leather unironically, and you’re totally right. There’s just something in the air that makes me want music that’s gossamer deep. Don’t worry, balls-to-the-wall rock and roll will dig its way out of the grave eventually, like it always does. In the meantime, enjoy some shimmery soundscapes courtesy of the hipster generation.