When you spend most of your day trying to consume as much music as you can and somehow regurgitate it back through your writing, it’s hard to find a song that literally makes you stop typing. Music writers are conditioned to immediately look through the lines of a song and nit pick every little detail to determine what makes it sound like X or how this band was influenced by Y, and so on. There are not enough hours in the day to just sit around and listen to music. Nobody’s got time for that. Within thirty seconds you have to sense if a song would be worth writing about, write about it, and then move on to the next soundcloud, bandcamp, or whatever.
But the best kind of music actually forces you to stop what you’re doing and pay attention. Get off Facebook and sit on your bed with your eyes closed kind of music. It’s the goal of every musician to break through into someone’s mind like that, to cause the listener to stop thinking and to feel a certain emotion, or just to feel anything at all. Let the music create images in your head and allow yourself to dream of what the music looks like to you. Listen to it twenty times in a row. It’s ok, you’re allowed to. Pick up the album sleeve (or case) and study the damn album cover.
The last time I heard anything like this was two years ago when I first heard Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires Of The City, specifically when I first heard “Hannah Hunt” and “Everlasting Arms”.
Last week it happened to me again with this song.
I cannot express what an amazing feeling it was to hear this song for the first time. I had to step away from my computer and sit on my bed so that I wouldn’t try to analyze it or try to think of what this song sounded like. My brain was turned off, and I took in that heavy drum beat, that shiny guitar, and that dreamy lo-fi voice. I was dumfounded.
I did some research and this song is from The Clientele’s 2000 debut Suburban Light. I had never heard of this band before nor this album. Apparently most people haven’t – even Mark Richardson over at Pitchfork admits to the album’s somewhat obscurity. I can see why – like the album, the band itself is shadowy and mysterious.
Regardless, I am so thankful for this reminder that the best music will always surprise you, even after you think you’ve heard everything. I’m forever grateful for the moments like this, so much so that I had to write an entire post about it. It’s the reason why this website exists in the first place, to hopefully give you an opportunity to experience this feeling with a new song, album, or artist.
This album probably won’t hit you the way it hit me, and that’s ok. It’s not supposed to.
Keep your ears open.
Never stop exploring.
Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber