Thursday, November 12, 2015

Song of the Day #224 - Beach House - Master of None

Cry all the time 'cause I'm not having fun...

I'm not the hugest Beach House fan (not saying much, cause there are some HUGE Beach House fans out there) but sometimes I'm in the mood for this sort of music and I find this, their first album's breakout single, well sates me at those times, usually after about an hour of repetition. I've been watching the Aziz Ansari show also titled Master of None, I just watched the second episode... it's pretty nice, a bit cheesy and heavy-handed but it makes it all the more endearing, and makes me really feel what I see as the emotional drive behind the show. The soundtrack has been great too, but really it just makes me think of this song.

There was a few weeks in 2010 where I had this, CocoRosie's "The Moon Asked the Crow", and Joanna Newsom's "Have One On Me" (the title track) on a three-song loop, for like... every waking moment. They've become very tightly bound in my mind, and somehow, if I hear the introduction to any of them, I can somehow imagine it transitioning into any of the other two. I can't really explain it, but there seems to be a shared sort of "delicateness" in the intro of all three... this whole song feels very delicate, very airy, a very fragile emotion of sadness.

The lyrical content is maybe more similar to You're the Worst, the other sitcom I started watching recently. It's very directed, lyrically, like it's someone chewing out their uncommitted partner for not wanting to settle down, become exclusive, whatever... I've never really been moved by this sort of scene, it never resonates with me, it just makes me think of the scene in Peep Show where Sophie is crying at the wedding. Wow, lots of sitcom talk today. But usually I think of that scene as sort of a "response" to the "you gotta settle down, bro!" scene, whereas this song is sort of an embracing of that eventuality... Full of self-blame and acknowledgment, it's both tender and full of an artificial armor. It feels both very "real" and very "ethereal", which is the feeling you get when you get a good hard look at your life with a wider perspective than maybe you're used to.

The crux of the speaker's argument lies in the titular idiom, that the addressee (and probably the speaker herself, too) is a jack of all trades, but master of none... Umm, this works fine, but to be honest, I find the phrase "master of none" very hauntingly powerful as a standalone and almost wish it didn't have this idiomatic association. If you think of it as a constructive statement, i.e. not that this person lacks an area of mastery, but that they are a master in the field of "none" or "nothing" it feels like a very cool aesthetic or story is lurking underneath. If I can now reference a proto-sitcom, aka a play, it reminds me a lot of King Lear, when Lear declares that "nothing comes from nothing", intending this to be a reductive statement, but then of course so much results from Cordelia's misunderstood silence. Thinking about the rumbling power of absence... it can stretch outward and envelop this whole song if you let it, which I would recommend trying.

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