Listen Up (still amazing): Maximo Park’s “A Certain Trigger”

I’m in a UK band time warp circa 2005. Time for some Maxïmo Park! I love the raw energy of their first album.

What happens when you lose everything
You just start again
You start all over again

My heart is always changing

I’ll do graffiti if you sing to me in French

Listen Up (still amazing): Bloc Party’s “Silent Alarm”

Glad to hear that Bloc Party has regrouped. Their first album “Silent Alarm” is one of the best albums of the 2000s. Gorgeously energetic melodies and striking lyrics about love, youth, and struggle.

Come and show me how it was

I made a vow/To carry you home

I really tried/To be what you wanted/It all went wrong/again

This modern love breaks me

Throw your arms around me

Listen Up: “What You Know,” Two Door Cinema Club

Two Door Cinema Club is an Irish band that is currently touring the U.S. Their song “What You Know” is lyrically devastating but musically infectious. The singer does a wonderful Ben Gibbard impression with backing from some sparkling guitars.

Life has become unsettled and unfamiliar in the past month. I’m back in school and am preparing for class and teaching. Here are some notes I took while watching this video.

**

A woman on white roller skates enters the frame and the camera follows her movement. The woman beats the yellow drums in time with the drum beat, splashing the red dust. The last drum she hits is a white drum with mustard-colored dust. She has dark magenta socks with a matching smock over a white top, white shorts, and her hair is half up, half down. The authoritative way she beats the pails along with her less-revealing outfit demonstrates her agency. She does not have to look at anyone offstage for approval or entertain anyone as a dancer. She has a unique visual identity and does not have to use her body to express the music; she becomes one of the music-makers and creates a visual representation of the sound. Her smock hides the shape of her body, and her roller skates allow her to move without bouncing or flexing. The camera briefly pans down to show the pails and her lower body as she beats the pails.

**

There are two pairs of parallel lines in the background. Parallel lines will never meet. The song describes a romance that has failed and gone on too long. These two people will never be able to come to a happy union and become “one”; there will be no convergence.

**

The dancers move towards the camera with expressionless eyes and twitchy dance moves. This is not about sexy, sinuous moves, but about acting automatically with emotionless motion. Like how the relationship is just going through the motions without any passion.

**

The camera cuts back to a frontal view of the band (with no bright colors in the frame) for the most heartbreaking part of the chorus—the stark truth.

And I can tell just what you want
You don’t want to be alone
You don’t want to be alone

Since the previous shot, the Buddy Holly guitarist and the sweater guitarist have switched sides. They are all moving with more energy; even the sweater guitarist is looking up and bending his knees a little. The singer is looking at the camera full in the face while singing the chorus, calling out the fears of the beloved.

**

Then the band members jump forward off of the boxes that they were originally on and the dancers in shorts come forward and dance in formation. Then everyone turns, and in the new shot, it’s the dancers in skirts. Finally the dancers and the band are integrated together in a formation and are moving together. Just as the dancers and the band start to move together with passion and energy, the singer is reinforcing the crumbling state of the relationship in the chorus, about failing to unite.

The band members move forward back onto the boxes. All band members are moving with confidence. Buddy Holly guitarist is rocking out with his feet wide apart and bobbing his head. The sweater guitarist does some nodding head moves and deeper knee bends. The singer is moving his whole body with bouncy energy, swinging his guitar neck up and flicking his guitar strings with a flourish as the scene fades to black.

And I can tell just what you want
You don’t want to be alone
You don’t want to be alone
And I can’t say it’s what you know
But you’ve known it the whole time
Yeah, you’ve known it the whole time

No More Admin Drudgery, No More Burritos

Stars, “Elevator Love Letter”

I’m so hard for a rich girl
My heels are high
My eyes cast low
And I don’t know how to love
I get too tired after midday, lately
I take it out on my good friends
But the worst stays in
Or where would I begin?
My office glows all night long
It’s a nuclear show and the stars are gone
Elevator, elevator
Take me home

I’m so hard for the rich girl
Her heels so high
And my hopes so low
’cause I don’t know how to love
I’ll take her home after midnight
And if she likes, I’ll tell her lies
Of how we’ll fall in love by the morning
I don’t think she’ll know
That I’m saying goodbye…

My office glows all night long
It’s a nuclear show and the stars are gone
Elevator, elevator
Take me home

My office glows all night long
It’s a nuclear show and the stars are gone
Elevator, elevator
Take me home

Don’t go, say you’ll stay
Spend a lazy sunday in my arms
I won’t take anything away
Don’t go, say you’ll stay
Spend a lazy sunday in my arms
Don’t take anything away

José Gonzalez’s cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats,” featured in a Sony ad

One night to be confused
One night to speed up truth
We had a promise made
Four hands and then away
Both under influence
We had divine sense
To know what to say
Mind is a razor blade

To call for hands of above
To lean on
Wouldn’t be good enough
For me, no

One night of magic rush
The start, a simple touch
One night to push and scream
And then relief
Ten days of perfect tunes
The colors red and blue
We had a promise made
We were in love

To call for hands of above
To lean on
Wouldn’t be good enough
For me, no

To call for hands of above
To lean on
Wouldn’t be good enough

And you
You knew the hand of the devil
And you
Kept us awake with wolves’ teeth
Sharing different heartbeats
In one night

To call for hands of above
To lean on
Wouldn’t be good enough
For me, no

To call for hands of above
To lean on
Wouldn’t be good enough
Send “Heartbeats” Ringtone to your Cell