What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?
That’ll be High Fidelity then, from the film (I can’t find my copy of the book – an instinctive aversion to Nick Hornby’s prose style has probably seen it jettisoned – but it conveys a similar sentiment if not those words exactly). And let’s be upfront about it; should you happen to be a music-obsessed urchin – someone who spent a not insignificant amount of time working in record stores; somebody still possessing a relationship with the modern world that at best can be described as semi-functional – then High Fidelity is always going to be some kind of constant. There in the background, riding pillion across anecdote and musical memory.
Except there’s a flip side, isn’t there? Something that reminds me that I’m not John Cusack should the mirror ever grow faulty: literally thousands of songs about wonderment, acceptance, togetherness, benediction and bliss. Did I listen to pop music because I was ecstatic? Or was I ecstatic because I listened to pop music?
Below the words: a Pale Saints record, another constant – warm, uplifting, embracing, if a little sad. A glass of wine record on a rainy, windy day. And something (almost) new; Dutch Uncles, hiding away in their Manchester garret and monkeying around with time signatures in a manner that suggests what TV On The Radio would sound like if they were female-fronted and originated from a wet and dreary island floating off the coast of Northern Europe. This week’s new favourite record, I’m guessing.
Pale Saints / Sight Of You
Dutch Uncles / Fragrant