Find Me On:
Thumbs up for “It was an after-the-fact association that seems to have displaced the actual meaning and power of the song.”
Here’s my interpretation of the song, the knock-out closer on an album I consider my all-time favorite (sorry, You & Me). Like rasm, I’m likely projecting too much from own life on it.
Alligator’s all about the post-college years finding your footing as an adult. You’re falling out of touch with friends, you’re full of anxiety over your job. You’ve got relationships going but are always looking for something more. To quote the great Aquarium Drunkard, you’re “striving for human connections while at the same time flirting with anonymity”. After 12 songs you’re stumbling home drunk, fantasizing about something better while asking yourself “is this it?”. Nothing drives this home better than the last half of “City Middle”: “I wait for the click, I wait but it doesn’t click in.” Then there’s Berninger’s swaying “la da de da de da”, which is the closest audible equivalent to a drunken stumble these ears have heard. “I have weird memories of you.” The album could end on “City Middle” and it would be perfect somber summation of the album’s themes.
Then “Mr. November” comes in and throws some ice cold water in your face. “This is nothing like it was in my room, in my best clothes, trying to think of you.” Adulthood isn’t how you imagined it. All those times growing up, getting dressed for church or weddings or what not, you’ve put on your suit and tie and thought about your future. Now you’re at adulthood, and you realize, this is it. You may ask yourself, how did I get here? But with all respect to Mr. Byrne, IT DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER. You’re here now. You could keep having secret meetings in the basement of your brain, or you could strive to be better. And it will be better. You’re the new blue blood. You’re the great white hope. You won’t fuck us over, you’re Mr. November.
Haven’t heard Helplessness Blues yet (holding out for release day) but wanted throw Destroyer’s Kaputt into this uncool/cool genre discussion. 80s soft-rock isn’t considered ‘cool’ like witch house, dubstep, or whatever new microgenres are trendsetter-approved today, but the songwriting on Kaputt is so strong, all the genre tropes associated with 80s soft-rock become secondary to the songs themselves.
Upvote this list for the Owen Pallett respect.
Downvote this list for the lack of The Walkmen.
“But Win, what if you win? Wouldn’t it be weird?”
This is really great.
And speaking of versions of Terrible Love, has anyone heard the Sirius/XMU Sessions with The National that they’ve been spinning recently? They play Terrible Love acoustic for it and it’s killer.
I would totally watch Liz Phair rip Caleb Followill a new one.
These songs are really testing my gag reflexes.