I first heard about these guys in 2013, when they placed really highly on p4k's albums list, and I think my only thought was "wow that's the worst band name I've ever seen". There wasn't much in the description, or the review (which only got an 8.2 and no BNM, making it one of the largest discrepancies between score and list-placement) that made me think this would be my cup of tea, and a quick curious glance through Impersonator seemed to confirm it.
Now I think that I was probably just entirely turned off by the band name, lol. This is pretty cool music. They played it on CBC Radio's show Q (generally a great show, and Shad is doing a fantastic job as the new host) as we came back from Thanksgiving stuff today. When I heard the opening line - "Red wine and sleeping pills", I immediately said "these are Radiohead lyrics". I don't think that recognizing these lyrics is too unreasonable, given that "Motion Picture Soundtrack" is pretty well known and such. It's the fact that I apparently had to point it out, immediately, even though only my dad and grandma were in the car, and they obviously didn't care, and it wasn't like I was accusing them of something, I wasn't offended or indignant or something, I just... had to say something, because I'm that level of unreasonable Radiohead fan.
And then, the followup line, which wasn't "Help me get back into your arms" but "You're gonna die, so you say", almost felt like a joke, y'know? Like almost a parody of the Radiohead lyrics, which basically do amount to something like "you're gonna die"? It seemed kinda like he was mocking my ridiculous need to exert my Radiohead fandom at even this opportunity.
But nah, having heard more of the lyrics, I don't think it's that at all. Instead, I'd place this in the great cross-medium multiaesthetic that I've been thinking of as "degeneracycore", which includes the Monogatari series, alt-lit, emoe, iLoveMakonnen, Yung Lean, PISSCORE, some Touhou doujins, and a bunch of other stuff... It's probably not worth defining it fully right now, so we'll look at this specific instance of it.
Think about the first full stanza: "Red wine and sleeping pills/You're gonna die, so you say, but you're here still/You feel okay, you're just tired of the feelings you have for yourself". I think a big part of degeneracycore is about the normalization, or maybe casualization, of things typically seen as abhorrent or degenerate. So here we're starting with a Radiohead line that I think we're supposed to recognize, one that references a dangerous combination, but we're supposed to move past that, it doesn't actually mean anyone is actually drinking and eating those, it's more likely that someone is listening to that song, and or in the general mood of listening to Kid A, which means something to the listener, and is indifferent to the idea that other people might not understand it. Then you get the "You're gonna die, so you say, but you're here still", which is like... someone making what could be a cry for help, or something else significant, but is immediately downplayed by the response, which is almost aggressive, but also sort of sympathetic. And then, in a weird sort of assurance, the speaker argues that we're really feeling OK, but are just tired of our feelings for ourselves. It's a sort of unnotable melancholy that I think is probably pretty common but is usually drowned out by one's daily concerns and achievements. In degeneracycore, where such active elements of life are forgotten, such subtle feelings are articulated and given the spotlight.
Or look at the line "2C-i and 2C-b/Crash your car and lie down in the street", which was truly surreal to hear on the CBC. There's an assumed familiarity to the substances and actions. The question of "why?" has an assumed answer obvious to the intended listener, placing them in the emotional space that they know will produce this behavior. Thus there is a sort of exclusivity in understanding the content that feels sort of nice in contrast to the sadness of the content itself. I guess if there was one phrase that would summarize it, it'd be "Only we can understand that feeling", and if you get that reference, wew talk about dgen.
Anyways, this is a pretty cool song. I really like the style of making a complex, shifting, ethereal sort of beat, and then singing unashamedly straightforwardly over top of it. There's a great mixture of the vocal line being "graspable" in its entirety and the beat being "overwhelming". It's the same sort of appeal as Makonnen songs. It's sorta reflective of this same attitude, of placing yourself in a socioemotional situation to receive simple direct understandable messages.
Okay that's it let's hope song of the day maintains some regularity for awhile!!