“I can’t get enough of you God gave me strength and I gave it to you I’ve got sticks in my spine but what can I do I can never never never get enough of you.”
I’m probably a rubbish fan of The Jesus And Mary Chain because for as long as I can remember, Darklands and Psychocandy have been the two records I have constantly played and always related to. The amount of sentimental value I hold towards those two records is beyond an explanation. There’s one person who understands it, and will only ever understand it. I don’t know what I would do without those two records, and them. However, there is obviously more to TJAMC than just these two records- I own them, I just never gave them as much attention as I should. I’m going to start with Honey’s Dead.
Honey’s Dead opens with Reverence, a song that held a wealth of controversy in it due to its lyrics. If you’re searching to be offended, you’ll be offended. Sure the lyrics are dark but you’re not going to get sunshine and rainbows with TJAMC are you? I wouldn’t want to ever hear that, from anyone. Their songs like Nick Cave, touched on themes of lust and love in a way I want to hear and can relate to regardless of how brooding and heavy it may sound. The title of the record references the end of the sound they were known for previously, but I’ve learnt from each record is that they all sound completely different. I always toy with what my favourite record by them is, and right now I’m in favour of Darklands. Tomorrow it could easily be Honey’s Dead. I love the artwork to Honey’s Dead and how beautifully morose the front cover is. Even if I wasn’t aware of TJAMC the cover alone would lure me in.
I love the way Jim conveys such desperation and pleading in his voice in a lot of the songs. It’s done in a way that not many can do without sounding so clingy and overbearing. He does it in a way that releases this sense of pain that smacks you right in the gut. At times it overwhelms you because of how strong and intense it is, but nothing else can come close to it. I picked this up especially on Reverence and Teenage Lust.
There are a couple of songs on Honey’s Dead that have the same sentimental value to me as the likes of You Trip Me Up and April Skies have. Good For My Soul and I Can’t Get Enough are the kind of love songs I can relate to, and fully appreciate. The lyrics to both are extremely open and show this vulnerable side to the band that I have always adored, and I think that’s what drew my to them in the first place. Honey’s Dead is not that much of heavy record, but the weight is in the vocals and to an extent maybe that could be said for their previous records. It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Or so they say. Besides, I just find this from Good For Soul to be one of the most beautiful lines I’ve ever heard: “She can take the world on another journey into her soul.” When you adore someone greatly, you’ll see yourself in this song.
Sundown is one of those songs you play when everything seems a bit wrong and tormented. The sorrow in William’s voice is heavy and easy to empathise with, and it will make you want to leave where you are in the search of something better for your soul. Sooner or later, we are pushed to do so. Maybe it isn’t so much about having guts but enough patience to see it through. It’s the longest song on Honey’s Dead and I find it to be the one I like to hit repeat on before I carry on with the remainder of the record.
There’s a handful of bands I love that I thought I always had a solid favourite song and record by, and I always thought that The Jesus And Mary Chain were one of them. But after delving into Honey’s Dead more, I’ve realised it isn’t the case/ Maybe I’ll never be able to choose, maybe I don’t even need to. I’m content with them being one of the most important bands to me and a band that have been a massive lifeline for me.
“But you break me in two And you throw me away And you spit on my head You trip me up.”
After spending more money on gig tickets, travel and accommodation – it is with a slight bout of deafness and sheer joy that I can say, I have finally seen The Jesus And Mary Chain live. Twice. In the space of a few days. Not sure how I am not totally deaf, but it’s fine. It is an excuse to not listen to anyone (not like I do anyway.)
I don’t want to turn this into a comparison of Manchester vs London. I’m siding with London because I was at the front, I can’t hear and the venue was a lot nicer. The Troxy is one of the most stunning venues I’ve ever been to. I’m usually a fan of venues that look like they’re about to fall down and are the size of a shed, but I like to make an exception. Instead, I’ll just go on about how TJAMC are one of the best bands I have seen live, finally.
I knew it was going to be loud. I knew it was going to feel like my ears were going to burst and bleed. I wouldn’t have bought tickets if I wasn’t alright with that. The crowds at both nights (and I’d imagine for most dates/all) consisted mainly of middle-aged men having the time of their lives. Some crying onto their best friend’s shoulders, most shouting the words back at Jim as if he’s some modern-day Messiah (he probably is, let’s be honest.) For me, it felt like a Morrissey show but with a bit more bite. How these guys react to TJAMC is how grown men are at a Morrissey show, without the stage invasion. There is something beautiful about seeing this. TJAMC appeal to those who are awkward, unsure but carry the weight of daily feelings like no other. They are for those who do not mind the darker side of having emotions, what they do mind is being told how to offload it all. How do you offload it? You stick on TJAMC and you think of someone or something that is really eating you. This is how you come alive.
I wasn’t even a mere thought before Psychocandy came out (I was born a year and one week later, always late.) but it has become one record that I quite simply, cannot live without. Is it a bold statement? Is it foolish? There a few thousand from over the past week or so who will probably agree with me. United. It’s a record that means more to me than anything else I’ve ever heard. I’ve felt every ugly and passionate feeling Jim sings on that record, and fuck me I am not ashamed. I’m sort of proud that I am able to relate to such a remarkable record. See, I just can’t live without it. To see it live in its entirety was something no part of me ever thought I would see. I never ever thought I would see TJAMC live, ever. I have a tendency to like bands that have most members dead or they hate each other. Sometimes both. Thank you Jim and William for getting your shit together.
I expected nothing from the shows, all I cared about was seeing TJAMC. The excitement I had was probably borderline irritating, I don’t care. If you get the chance to see your favourite band in the whole wide world live, go. Just go. I don’t care how you fund it, just go. Treat yourself. You need to.
There was an atmosphere at both shows that I sincerely hope was at all of them. It was a mixture of relief, absolute happiness and shock that it was about to happen. I know this isn’t a live review, all it is is something unleashing how it feels to see their favourite band of all time live. Finally. There was nothing wrong with these shows, every element of it was perfect. Last night, William played a bum note during a song and Jim just turned to him as if to say, “typical” shook his head and grinned. William was like the mad scientist surrounded with amps and pedals. Jim was every bit the brilliant frontman I knew he was. There was no need for painful conversation between songs. I’m not a fan of that. And I don’t think they are either.
Seeing You Trip Me Up and My Little Underground live meant more to me than I thought they would. Those songs hold more sentimental value to me than a song probably should. More than I want them to, but seeing it all live was like a release. A sigh of relief, yet I didn’t want it to end. TJAMC have been missed, so dearly missed. I hope they never leave us again because we needed it. Live music needs bands like them. Being brutally loud and not apologising for making you feel as if your ears are bleeding. If I don’t get injured or go a little deaf at a gig, I probably didn’t have a good time.
TJAMC’s music is the polar opposite to me, sound wise. They are brutal, somewhat sinister and loud. I’m too shy for my own good, but I’m alright with clinging onto that. Psychocandy is a release of all sorts, and to finally see it live goes beyond the words I have written.
They opened with April Skies. A song I thought would be too much for me to witness, but my god it was beautiful. To just watch that over and over would be something else. Maybe they’ll do a tour for Darklands…that’d be nice. There is no doubt in my mind that TJAMC are the best band, ever. How Jim Reid feels about the Velvet Underground is how I feel about them. Ultimately I do feel the same about the Velvet Underground, obviously. I think that’s quite clear. One of the true special moments last night was Miki Berenyi joining them on Just Like Honey. Oh, and Kevin Shields was sat upstairs too. Shoegaze heaven.
The shows I went to were euphoric and loud. Seeing middle-aged men take their partners with them as if to say, “This has been me for the past 30 years, this is who I am” was just beautiful. The songs are as important as they always were, much like the band.
“Talking fast on the edge of nothing I would break my back for you.”
It’s hard to pick a favourite album/song by your favourite band, because you love them so much it just seems impossible. It’s also a really good excuse to just sit and listen to them constantly. I’ve always been sure of my favourite record of all time, but song I struggle with. I can change my mind instantly. Just when I think I know, I’m reminded of something else. I would write about Psychocandy but I’m saving that for 18th November (2 days before I finally see TJAMC live.)
Last night I worked out how much money I’ve spent on November’s Psychocandy shows. I’m not ashamed or anything like that. Whatever money I have left over goes on something music related, so I might as well spend it on something that is as special as these upcoming shows. I was going 3 times, but one of the London dates clashes with something else. I think I’ve found a good home for my ticket. So it’s just one London and one Manchester date. If I had more money I would have gone to Glasgow, pretty sure those shows will be the most and probably most special.
Anyway, this isn’t about Psychocandy.
I’ve been listening to Darklands a lot recently, and I realised the worth and meaning of the lyrics on that record to me. They are equally as impressive and as moving as those on Psychocandy but with a lot less reverb. In short, you can hear Jim and William’s voices clearly. I do miss the sheer noise and brutality that’s all over Psychocandy. The lyrics are vulnerable on Psychocandy, but Darklands has that. Maybe it has it more, I can’t make that call. All I know is that it is a brilliant second record.
April Skies is the one song by TJAMC that hits harder than the rest. All the significance it has to me is way too personal to even try write down, and if I tried I would just sound really stupid. You don’t need to read it and I don’t think I need to be so open. There’s just no need. But I can appreciate the lyrics with slight distance from what it means to me. April Skies has one of my favourite lines of all time, and a line that just sums up why I love the song so much. You know what it’s like, you hear a song and you’re convinced it was written for you, for a certain point in your life that will always smack you in the face when you listen to it. The line: “I take my aim and I fake my words. I’m just your long time curse” I adore that line to the point where I would happily have it tattooed on me. Although I probably wouldn’t be up for discussing why that line. Their lyrics was always the reason as to why I became a fan of The Jesus And Mary Chain. I really can’t remember anything else. I don’t know how old I was, where I was or why it happened. Sometimes you just don’t need to know. Maybe I was just another lost soul who got saved by a band. For better and for worse, The Jesus And Mary Chain have been my “go-to” band. It’s not always Morrissey you know! (Usually is, but shush.) There’s another line from the song towards the end that’s really important but it’ll just end up turning into a piece about April Skies, and I don’t think I have the words for that.
Darklands I feel is massively underrated in some respects. Sometimes a band/singers second record is always shadowed by just how phenomenal their first one is, but TJAMC managed to create something different but equally as important. All of their records are important, but I’m starting to hear things in Darklands that I’ve not heard before. I really paid attention to just how beautiful and brilliantly romantic About You is. It is a gorgeous love song that anyone should be honoured to be thought of when hearing this. TJAMC wrote some of the best love songs ever. They’re the best because they aren’t typical, they are sickly love songs that make you want to puke up your breakfast. Those kind don’t sit well with me at all, they make me feel uneasy. They don’t feel real and they don’t sound heartfelt. TJAMC put it all into their music, and the lyrics are evidence of that. They wrote the kind of songs I wish I could.
Nine Million Rainy Days is such a sombre song. If you read the lyrics it reads like some old Gothic love poem from way back when. It brings up these ideals and nightmares in your head. You remember the things you maybe should have forgotten. But you cling, because that’s just the kind of person you are. There’s really no shame in it. “And all my time in Hell was spent with you.” It’s just a stunning and brutally honest line.
There is that underlying dark and less obvious brutal sound to Darklands but everything about it is so open. The lyrics are gentle and the way they are sung just makes them hit your gut harder and quicker than most. Their lust/love driven songs are so easy to relate to, or maybe it is just how my brain is wired. It is the perfect record to follow Psychocandy. I can’t imagine my life without these two records, I really can’t. I once found a few 7″ singles from Darklands in a market and just bought them all. They were about £2 each, I think I gave one away- for sentimental reasons, obviously. Always the way. Darklands is a record to lose everything to, mentally. Physically, you lose it to Psychocandy but mentally it has to be to Darklands. Maybe they’ll do a 30 year anniversary tour for that too, hopefully.
I love the lyrics to all the songs and how they all seem to have that darker side of love flowing through them. You do everything for one, and for what exactly? It’s alright because look at the songs that come from it. It can be unrequited, it can be a pain in the arse, it can abandon you, it can be there in ways you weren’t sure of- but it is there. Darklands is just one of those records that when you listen to it, for days and days it will be the only thing you listen to. I’m not sure how many times I’ve played it recently but each time feels like the first time I ever heard it. I’ll never love a band as much as I love TJAMC, they are my one and only. There is something about them that just means more than most, and I’m pretty sure Darklands fully justifies why.
I wandered around Soho on Friday afternoon to find a record shop. This record shop has had every single record I’ve ever wished to own. I’ve only ever been in with a friend (she knows the way round and when with another person in a record shop, I do not spend as long in there.) So I wandered around for what seemed forever. I knew I was lost, and I loved every minute of it. I didn’t care that I didn’t know where I was because I knew I’d eventually stumble upon this record shop. I found it eventually. I had to walk up that sex alley to get there. I kept my eyes on the ground for a bit, then realised I was amongst curious tourists who were falling in and out of the shops selling various (and probably questionable) things. I didn’t care, I just wanted to find this record shop.
I walked in and went towards the 7″ singles. For some reason I’ve recently started buying more of these than I have of LPs. Maybe it’s because I now have Psychocandy on record so I no longer seek out looking for much (if I tell myself this then my addiction to buying records will seem less of a problem.) I’ve found a few gems on 7″ from The Walker Brothers to The Shangri-Las. Somehow when you see they are only 50p, you pile the records into your arms like a greedy swine at an all you can eat buffet. I’ll take music over food any day. Even though I’m chubby; I can survive without food but not music.
I must have been in the shop for close to an hour and a half. I realised I had friends to meet. I also realised I forgot the way to Tottenham Court Road station. I went for the fool-proof route: GO THE WAY YOU CAME. Always. If I wasn’t in a hurry, I’d have tried to discover shortcuts and new places to ramble. I was sensible, but the hour and a half I spent in the shop I was anything but. I found Safe As Milk for the extremely pricey £25. I did some maths in my head (never a good sign) and I had about 3 in my hand that came to under £20 but I was desperate for this Captain Beefheart record. I was painfully sensible. I put it back so I could afford to buy my girlfriend and I dinner later on. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t approve of me buying her dinner and I declined anything for myself as I had bought a record. Being sensible is never fun, but sometimes you must do it.
In the end I bought a 7″ of The Jesus And Mary Chain and also a copy of their third record, Automatic. I’ve not played it yet but I’m sure I’ll be doing so soon. TJAMC have become the most important band in my life. They went from being a dormant love to a dominating passion that is uncontrollable. I don’t wish to control it nor do I ever want to tame my love for music.
Something else also happened on that Friday.
I was sat in a pub with a group of people I really cannot be without or be away from. Turns out that this pain of being away from them is soon to pass as I’m going to FINALLY move to London in about a month. I own nothing and I have nothing so I will want for nothing (except for a job of course.) States of bliss occur in small things. From finding records you’ve been searching for to being in the company of those you love beyond words. Everything felt alright on that Friday. Even when Amy and I got on the tube leaving James behind, only to find we got on the wrong tube and had to pull him off the tube he got on after us so we could get on the right one together. You find happiness in the things and people that matter. Happiness is not going to be found in the form of money. It is in time, in places and in people.
I played Psychocandy on my record player the other day. I stared at the splattered vinyl (the one from Record Store Day) and was just in awe of everything that was happening. The sound was beautiful and the artwork was stunning.
There was no real point in this, but I learnt one thing from typing this up- it is incredibly annoying and a bit difficult to type this when attached to a blood pressure monitoring machine/contraption. More than anything though, it is massively distracting. And with that, I am going to listen to the new Dirty Beaches record(s).
I know age isn’t important. I know it’s not a big deal, but when your 26th birthday is creeping up on you; you cannot help but think “what the hell have I done with my life?!” I know this will pass soon, and on my actual birthday I probably won’t even pay any attention to how old I am. I don’t look my age at all. I look like I probably should be in school. Youthful skin. Maybe that’s my Italian genes coming through. Or maybe it’s because I nap a lot. I have no idea. The key is to moisturise. Always. In the morning and before you go to bed. Look after your skin, and you too can look as if you should pay child’s fare on the bus. Skin tips from a scruffy bint. Enjoy.
Last year when I turned 25 I think I had a brief moment of “oh fuck I’m nearly 30 what have I done with my life?!” And I think it is going to happen again. I don’t know why because no part of me does things in the hopes of getting approval of anyone. I don’t wish for that ever. If that was the case; I’d just be like everyone else. I don’t make an effort to not be like anyone else. This is how I turned out. Whether or not its a good thing, well that’s undecided. Maybe as I get older I may tolerate myself a bit more. Maybe I’ll stop being cruel towards myself. However, if I get in first; it won’t matter so much when someone else does. But there are things others say/ do that probably hurt a bit more than if I was to pick up on it about myself. But, it isn’t worth the time. Not much is. Time. Time. Time. Ages us all, aches us all. Us.
I maintain an element of silliness to make sure I don’t age too much mentally. If I see someone trip up in the street (providing they are not bleeding to death or a pensioner) I’ll probably find it funny. I think most are like that. When you take everything too seriously, it all loses meaning. And we’re all trying to find meaning. Maybe we’ll never know. Maybe we do know, but still want to keep looking. The answers can come from looking outside or from your own reflection. Just depends on how deep you want to get.
So, as I approach 26 I do wonder if I’ve done anything of worth. I just don’t know. I really don’t. My life pretty much revolves around music and I guess I hold interviewing Warpaint as the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve met and spoken to some of my heroes; and they say you should never do that. But I know of many who have done so, and it being a pleasant experience. I fully endorse meeting those who have changed you and saved you. Sure it’s mainly to do with music for me, but there’s about 2 people who I class as friends that have also done this. So maybe interviewing Warpaint may only be the best thing I’ll ever do. I have no idea. Or maybe it was that time about a year ago when I showed Shirley Manson a piece I wrote about Bleed Like Me on her Facebook page, and she read it. Then told me it made her cry. How many people can say they’ve made their role model/idol cry? I’m still trying to work out if I’m proud of that or not. I’m not sure. I feel bad about it, but I’m glad she saw it.
This seems far too self-indulgent and no doubt I will dislike myself for writing this down. But it is better than a drunken outburst on a pavement with friends moaning about how I’ve done nothing with my life isn’t it. Some things you need to spare others from ever seeing.
It’s just an age. It means nothing. Those kinds of things do not define who we are. I’ve also finished watching all of The Wire again for the third time. Still kind of wish Jimmy McNulty was my best friend or something. And I’m going to always be pissed that they killed Bodie and Omar. That wasn’t right.
Anyway, have some songs; if you’ve got this far. Here’s to the bands/singers over the past (nearly) 26 years that have been my crutch and saviours.
“Step back and watch the sweet thing. Breaking everything she sees. She can take my darkest feeling, tear it up ’till I’m on me knees. Plug into her electric cool, where things bend and break. And shake to the rule. Talking fast couldn’t tell me something. I would shed my skin for you, talking fast on the edge of nothing. I would break my back for you.”
Hopeless teens and angry adults, they all fell for The Jesus And The Mary Chain didn’t they. I fell in love with them when I was very young. Of course it happened by listening to John Peel. It was another dreaded night before school. Academically, I loved school. Everything else about it? Well, I truly hated. Maybe if I wasn’t bullied I may have enjoyed it. I don’t know. So, as usual I was staying up late to listen to John Peel and he played an old session by The Jesus And Mary Chain. I’m not sure which song it was that I heard, but I know it was off Psychocandy. I also knew that everything this band made me feel was terrifying. Terrifying because my young ears could relate, and the distorted sound freaked me out. It freaked me out in a way that made me feel less terrible.
The Jesus And Mary Chain covered me in darkness, but they did it in a way that didn’t make me feel low. If anything, they provided some kind of comfort. I’d much rather listen to songs that expose ugly and dark feelings than songs about how the sun is shining and how in love a person is. To me, those songs are depressing because they’re not real. You cannot compare someones eyes to an angel because you’ve probably never seen one. I wanted to use a different description, but I can’t actually think of one. So maybe that’s redundant? Who cares, no one is reading this anyway.
For me, they felt like every bad feeling was being poured out in every song. When I listen to It’s So Hard it feels like some kind of demon is being exorcised. I can pretty much describe all of Psychocandy as being like that- an exorcism. It’s a record that I can associated with things my mind won’t allow words to form. A thing, a person, something that has been unspeakable but that record just sums everything up. The Jesus And Mary Chain, as I get older end up meaning more and more to me. I notice different things about their songs. I find myself relating to them even more. I will ALWAYS regard Psychocandy as being the best debut record ever and probably my favourite record of all time. There is something about it that just makes me compare all I listen to, to how that record makes me feel. If I’m not moved by it like I was moved by Psychocandy then I won’t care for it. Maybe this is a horrendous thing to do, but I always want that feeling. I always want that dark, euphoric and intense feeling surrounding me. Although I’m a calm person (my ability to ignore most things around me is a gift and a curse) feeling something intense isn’t too bad at all. It doesn’t leave me biting at my hands at 4am because I’m an anxious mess. I’m probably likely to be reading at book at 4am..if I can’t sleep.
I know of two people who know of and LOVE The Jesus And Mary Chain. One’s a relative (my uncle) and the other is a friend. We’ll call them a friend as..well, that’s what they are. A few months ago I found a couple of 7″ singles of The Jesus And Mary Chain at a market. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy. I rarely play them because I don’t want to ruin them. My records are my prized possessions. To find something like that over here truly blew whatever was left of my mind because well, I just didn’t expect it. I looked at the other records on the other side of the stall and they had Level 42 and Dire Straits, so you can see why I got excited and bought all of TJMAC 7″ singles. I go back every Saturday in the hopes more turn up. I may go look tomorrow, feeling quite rebellious on a Tuesday- why not? I’ll take my excitement where I can get it right now.
Bringing it up to date- I had a MASSIVE outburst when I saw they were playing SXSW this year. I may have cried. Obviously it was silly to get joyful over this as I live nowhere near Austin, Texas. But part of me kept thinking “they may do some UK dates…” I’m keeping that dream alive. If it gets to the end of the year and there’s been none, I’ll probably still keep a bit of hope aside for them. I have to. I sometimes think if I’d want to see them. It’s like my view on The Smiths reforming- I don’t ever want it to happen. The Smiths had the 80s. That was their time, not now. Morrissey’s solo career means more to me anyway. So part of me thinks, would The Jesus And Mary Chain still have IT(whatever IT may be) now? Well, I watched some live clips from their SXSW show and I’m going with YES. That fucking brutal, distorted and intense feeling is still there. That atmosphere I remember taking me over when I first heard them was still there.
The Jesus And Mary Chain made music that I can only describe as romantic. There’s more to it than that, but they let out a side of romance that I feel most are ashamed or maybe scared to face. Romance, love and lust all have different layers. Giving someone flowers isn’t romantic. Making them a mixtape/cd with songs that portray how you feel in the most open way possible or telling them how you feel in the most honest way possible-that’s romantic. Sharing the same ugly and worthless feelings-that’s love. Skipping about in a meadow is NOT romantic. Maybe because I have views like this is why I have shit luck with girls. That and my face is a huge failure.
They give you hope. Hope that even those who plod along with messy hair and black clothing may meet the light to their dark. My love for The Jesus And Mary Chain could be borderline obsessive. I play Psychocandy on a daily basis. Whilst working at HMV last Christmas, I served a guy who was buying the remastered version of their debut record. I spoke to him about how they are the best band ever, and he told me that he has their albums on vinyl. I’m pretty sure I told him he was my hero. He seemed stunned that someone my age loved them as much as he does. That’s the brilliant thing about TJAMC fans, you cannot spot them. You have to dig around and find them. You sometimes find them by accident. When you find them, hold onto them. They’ll probably change your life- like the band did, and still do.
The Jesus And Mary Chain are my favourite band of all time- that will never change. However, when I hear about someone covering them, it causes me to get a bit angry and sad. They never seem to get it right. Why? Because they’re not The Jesus And Mary Chain. I can let it go when it is for a good cause though.
I was just reading something on a site, and I saw Seapony had covered Just Like Honey. It turns out 11 bands have all covered this song for charity. I read up about it, and I honestly think it is one of the most beautiful ideas I’ve seen in a long time.
I’m running the London Marathon for Breast Cancer Care (www.breastcancercare.org.uk). I asked 11 bands I featured on my podcast (www.JustLikeHoney.co.uk) to cover the same song: Just Like Honey (original by The Jesus & Mary Chain). The compilation costs minimum £8 (about $12) but you can give more to support more people affected by breast cancer.
This is a wonderful idea, and one I will contribute to for sure. I’m not going to say anything about the artists that are featured on the compilation at all. It wouldn’t be right, but I can tell you that every single version is brilliant. No version ruins the original. Each version is done in such a perfect way. Some have take onboard the distorted sound, others have made it sound more vulnerable. This is a charity that is so very dear to my heart, as you know- so please support it.
I cannot stand songs that go on and on about being in love or how wonderful the world seems. I can’t relate to it, so I don’t really care for it. I love songs and artists that drag out the ugly, and dark feelings we are conditioned to ignore. The feelings we are told to never speak of. I love it when an artist has the guts to sing the songs that reach for your soul and just crush you. It crushes you in a way that leaves you crippled with so many painful feelings; you just don’t know what to do with them. I don’t mean songs about having your heart broken by someone. That isn’t the only bad feeling in the world. There is more to life than being in love and losing love. However, again; we are conditioned to seek love from another so we can justify our existence. Personally, it’s utter bollocks. You validate your existence in your own way. It doesn’t have to mean you have to be in love to do so.
Although I love songs that rake out the harsh and brutal feelings we are meant to push aside, this doesn’t mean I walk around hating life and everyone. I’m an average human being; nothing special. I hate no one, I hate nothing. I don’t have it in me to have that feeling at all. There’s good and bad in everything, and in everyone. I’m not someone who is against being in love; I’m sure it’s a delightful thing when it goes right. I just find the darker side, the things we are told to not go near much more interesting.
There is something romantic and comforting about hearing a song that just oozes pain and despair. Heroin by Velvet Underground is one of the most gut-wrenching and heart breaking songs ever written. It isn’t about a lover. It is fairly obvious what it is about. Every single time I listen to it, it just delves into a part of me; I cannot imagine a cheery song doing this to me. Don’t get me wrong, I do listen to a lot of music that someone could pass as “happy.” However, bands such as Velvet Underground make me happy because of what they mean to me. It doesn’t matter what song I play by them, it just goes to a part of me that, although the lyrics can be quite sad- it still makes me happy. It makes me happy that I have a band like that in my life, that mean so much to me. The same can be applied to The Jesus And Mary Chain, Spiritualized and Townes Van Zandt.
One of the first songs I remember hearing by Spiritualized was Broken Heart. If anyone was to ever list the songs that could break a person in so many ways- this should be at the top. Jason Pierce has this way of projecting such frailness and vulnerability into his lyrics that make you connect so deeply with what he is saying. He takes you right down to rock bottom with him. Thing is, you don’t want to get back up from it. He was one of the first artists I really remember feeling this way about. Just instantly connecting with every word. Clinging onto it with all I had. Much like The Cure and of course, The Smiths. A band can really make you feel less alone when you think you’ve hit the lowest point. I guess sometimes, you can always go lower. If you’re scared of hitting it- you’ll probably get there quicker than you planned to. If you’re not scared, it’s up to you how you deal with it. Some things you can fight off and avoid. Some things just happened. You cannot plan a thing.
Townes Van Zandt (aside from Morrissey) is my favourite male solo artist of all time. What I loved (and still do) about his music was the honesty and how you could easily feel every single word he sung. You knew he meant every single word when he mentioned feeling so low. Songs such as Waiting Around To Die, Cocaine Blues just really made you feel for him. I will always stand by Waiting Around To Die as being one of my favourite songs of all time. I could listen to it over and over, and not get bored of hearing his breaking, powerful, trembling voice. He was well and truly the most underrated singer/song-writers of all time. If you want pain and aching lyrics- Townes Van Zandt is the one.
All these reasons I’ve mentioned (and more) are probably why I love The Drums so much. I love how they have such sadness surrounding their songs but it is disguised through the electrifying guitars and upbeat drums. Songs such as Book Of Stories, Best Friend, What You Were, I Felt Stupid are so heartbreaking- but so utterly perfect. You know, I don’t think I could look at someone who didn’t enjoy at least one song by The Drums. I remember first hearing them in early 2009 and, I felt how someone must have felt when they first heard The Beach Boys, The Ronnettes, The Smiths- it was so exciting, and so needed at the time. I do believe that if they ever called it quits- I would cry. Just like I did when The Long Blondes split up. When you feel such a strong connection to a band, they become your life. They say everything you cannot say. I love Marina And The Diamonds because she can write songs that make you feel less alone about having bad days and disliking yourself. She makes you feel okay about not being as strong as you think you should be. I love Florence + The Machine because Florence can express such dark feelings in a way that just blows me away and can make you feel less troubled about carrying around certain feelings that probably bug you a Hell of a lot.
You see dear reader, it is quite easy to tell a person something so positive and charming. Yet when you have to attempt to say something quite dark and hurtful about what is whirling on in your head- it can be quite daunting. There’s a song for every occasion. There’s a lyric to describe everything you feel- whether it is joyful or horrendous- someone has already said it for you. Someone has already felt that way and made it more eloquent than you could even try to do. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s bad enough feeling like shit, so when someone else can sum it up in a song for you- it takes the added pressure of expressing yourself off.
Just remember- it is okay to feel like shit. It is okay to be happy. Never feel bad for how you feel, whether it is good or bad. You cannot switch yourself off, but you can always, always-restart.
Have you ever felt, although you are surrounded by people you know- and these people may or may not care about you, that you just do not belong? Do you have a place you feel happy and secure with calling “home”? Do you ever look at Society and just think you were born in the wrong era? That your emotional attachment to it all is slowly fading. If so, I understand fully how you feel.
I’ve wandered through life not feeling part of anything. I’ve never made it my goal to make a difference in a person’s life- mainly because I know I never have, and I probably never will. I don’t mean it in a self-hating kind of way- far from it. You can feel you don’t belong but still maintain an ounce of self-worth. I feel like that most days. Anyway, I don’t need to go in depth with all of this. These are the songs that have stopped me from feeling like I have to be part of something, that I have to belong. We don’t have to. Create your own world.