Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Canon #11

Tom Waits - "Anywhere I Lay My Head"

Let me start by saying that I haven't always loved Tom. I had a rocky relationship with him for many years, but, in the last year or so, I started going back to him more and more. When it comes to unconventional music, it often takes time for the listener to really "get it." However, I think loving Tom had less to do with "getting him" and a lot more to do with me feeling him. Chalk it up to me getting older, wiser, and more experienced, but I just love this gnarled old bastard now.

Tom has described his musical oeuvre as being comprised of "weepers" and "creepers." "Anywhere I Lay My Head" seems to mine the area between the two - both a resilient underdog's sad lament and a raggedly triumphant anthem. With a wonderfully woozy horn section as his only musical accompaniment, Tom bellows the words of a truly bruised and beaten-down guy:

Well I see that the world is upside-down
Seems that my pockets were filled up with gold
And now the clouds, well they've covered over
And the wind is blowing cold
Well I don't need anybody, because I learned, I learned to be alone
Well I said anywhere, anywhere, anywhere I lay my head, boys
Well I gonna call my home

However, this song does not end with downcast eyes. As Tom utters that last line "...anywhere I lay my head, boys/Well I gonna call my home," he sounds defiant and tough. A second of silence, and then those drunken horns march on with that beautiful, broken melody. The last minute of the song makes you think all that sadness was nothing more than a fleeting thought. This is the song that made me love Tom Waits. I don't expect this song to resonate equally for everyone, but it hits especially close to home for me. As a person who has spent his life being a vagabond (8 cities in 25 years, and more than one residence in certain cities), those lines "anywhere I lay my head...I gonna call my home" just grab my heart with their crooked fingers. It goes without saying that a side effect of constant moving is constant loneliness (especially when you're younger).

If this song had a moral, it would be this: Pick yourself up by the bootstraps boys, everything is going to be fine.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

We're back!!!

No, Chik Chik Chik isn't back. Just Rob(hopefully) and I. Due to a constant lack of motivation and utter laziness, nothing new has been posted in a month. Since Rob and I love (and hate) lists so much, I'm going to start what I call a "neverending mixtape." This feature will highlight what Rob and I decree as the best in new music. I know what you're thinking: "isn't that just like Pitchfork's recently instated infinite mixtape?" Well, yeah...kinda. Except I had to say "neverending mixtape" instead of "infinite mixtape" to avoid confusion and copyright entanglement. Besides, it was a great idea and I don't think Ryan and Co. would mind a little healthy competition. Also, The Canon will return later this week. Without further ado:

Neverending Mixtape #1

The Knife - "We Share Our Mother's Health"

The Knife are an electronic duo from Sweden comprised of siblings Olof Dreijer and Karin Dreijer Andersson . Their particular brand of electronic music is dark and haunting, but unmistakably melodic. Think of a mash-up between Bjork and Aphex Twin. They also claim to be more influenced by film than music - particulary David Lynch. This would account for the sweeping, desert-noir vibe in many of their songs. If that's not alluring enough, check out their promo pics:

"We Share Our Mother's Health" is from their new album Silent Shout (currently my soundtrack for aiding lesbian amnesiacs and finding severed body parts). The song's insistent beats richochet through squelching synths and the duo's throaty incantations. Karin sings like a Nordic version of the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser which adds to the song's glacial beauty. On the other hand, Olof just sounds...Nordic. Karin handles the majority of the vocals on this song (and the rest of the album), but Olof's voice adds a nice dichotomy to the song. There are more ambient, gossamer songs to be found on Silent Shout, but "We Share Our Mother's Health" will get your blood moving.

And what would a blog be without a relevent youtube link:

The Knife - "We Share Our Mother's Health"