Thursday, May 1, 2008

Right place, right piece.

Reading the recent the discussion about music and place, about how sometimes they combine to create a powerful and lasting effect, I got to thinking about times this has happened to me.

Well, since I often walk around with a vast amount of tunes bunged on shuffle, its rare that any one sustained mood or theme sticks in a certain place. One time, though, very much sticks in my mind.

Sat on a bus, trailing up the A40 away from London, I passed across the flyover section and out before me lay that vast, smoggy, unknowable expanse of a city. Dusk was darkening the edges of the picture and the light that remained contained a kind of a glow that only exacerbated the sense of scale ingrained in what I saw. At that moment I just felt hopeless and tiny and unable to conceieve of a way that anyone could ever be HAPPY living in a vast metropolis like that. It wasn't a sad feeling, in fact quite the opposite. It was a realisation, an understanding and a resolve to look for smaller happinesses elsewhere.

At that time, perfectly in tune with what I was seeing and feeling in a way I can't really explain, this song came on. Its by The Postal Service and I have never associated it with anything but that bus, that road, that moment, that thought. When it hits you, it really hits you, huh?

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steenbeck said...

Good post, Snadfrod-- the song and the picture work together almost like a film, they're both so evocative. Did you take the picture? I have Postal Service in my iTunes library that someone else put there, and I've never given it too many listens, but I will now. I happen to have the album with this song on it!

I really liked what you wrote about smaller happinesses, and about the city. Very beautiful.

Blimpy said...

Donds for what steenbeck said.

saneshane said...

Really evocative post and the picture does suit the song..I've got a tasty mix of this on a subpop sampler as well as 'give up'
I like the idea of a smaller Happiness (I hope it is perfectly formed)
The Postal Service evoke very visual images in their songs and the whole of 'Clark Gable' is a song of images around film making..I like that!

I have the lines "i am thinking it's a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned"
from 'such great heights'
They hit me, and boy did get a sudden change in my life.

cheers for the great reminder.

snadfrod said...

Thanks guys. I'm glad the song works for others as it does for me.

Steenbeck - alas I didn't take the picture, I google-imaged 'cityscape london' and took my pick. I am 90% charlatan, and unafraid to admit it. Definitely give the album another go, though. Its the only one they ever did (recently the singer fella, who is also in Death Cab for Cutie, implied it may be the only one they'll EVER do) and, although it can seem a bit twee in parts to begin with, it really does unfurl and stick around, with really strong images, as saneshane alludes to.

Shane - the happinesses are very perfectly formed, thankyou. Smaller is always better, in my experience... Who is your remix by? I'd be interested to look it up.

Blimpy - on another note I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. Today I read in passing a bit about Frightened Rabbit and remembered you'd put that tune up a few days ago. I listened to it and, on the strength of that, got the first two tracks from the album. I was halfway through the second when I ordered a physical copy off amazon. Its that good. I rarely respond so completely positively to a record so quickly, but today I might just have fallen in love. So thankyou.

saneshane said...

DJ Downfall persistent beat mix
it's on SUB POP: Patient Zero (SPCD651)

it was also on X-Ray magazines cd#8

Blimpos MacFlossauges said...

@snadfrod - you are very welcome, I rarely bang on about one band as much as i have Frightened Rabbit (3 blog posts in total!!)

Frightened Rabbit have released one of the best albums of the year (and it's only May) - "The Modern Leper" really did it for me, and then to find out that the rest of the album is on a par with that song was amazing.

One of my pals has similarly been struck by how great they are, and we saw them play last weekend (on the week the LP was released) which was awesome timing. I'm going to see them again in a couple of weeks.

Their songs are growers too, and have great lyrics. Hooray for Scots miserablism!

snadfrod said...

Donds to that. Donds.

TracyK said...

Ooooh, The Postal Service! I really must recommend the new Death Cab For Cutie lp, it's gorgeously heavy sounding. Give Up is one of my Desert Island discs, I have a thing for nerdy looking Yanks like Gibbard, Ben Folds and Colin Meloy. Just give me a man in glasses and a plaid shirt with a broken heart and I'm set.