“Sam’s Town” – The Killers

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Dear Daily Phat Jam —

Oh blog, so much has I changed since I last wrote. Before, I was a balding stick figure with a cocaine addict’s disposition and Resting Sleepy Face. But now, I’ve got less hair and I moved away.

Today I somehow started listening to and preaching the gospel of “Sam’s Town,” the sophomore album by The Killers and one of the most underrated goddamn albums of this miserable century. Because I can’t have a thought without sharing it, I tweeted about it. Then I went on a long drive and listened to “Sam’s Town” and decided that an even smaller audience needed to hear about an album that was released more than 10 years ago and that was panned by many critics.

So now that I’m home and I’m wearing stretch pants and drinking CapriSun, I’m going to fire up the ol’ iTunes, queue up “Sam’s Town,” shuffle that bit, and write about what awful memories are conjured up by the album.

So strap in.

Song 1: “Why Do I Keep Counting?”

When I first listened to “Sam’s Town,” I sort of skipped over this song in favor of “Bones” and “This River is Wild.” But I re-discovered it when I digitally dusted off this album in college.

Help me get down / I can make it, help me get down

Ha ha, that always makes me think about my future life when I’m old and decrepit, probably in the next 5 years or so, and I’m just screaming at some miserable person to help me get into a bathtub.

What it makes me think of in Real Memories is darkness. Not depression, but literal darkness. I associate it with driving at night, for some reason. I remember listening to it in my sister’s Prius, which was later totaled by my arch enemy, Past Seth. And I remember it being dark, but the song, which starts quiet but blooms and eventually explodes, was always turned up so loud. The Prius had this thing where you could adjust which seat in the car got the full brunt of the speakers, and I would always angle that shit toward the driver’s seat and just go insane to this song.

There’s not much more to it than that. The memory isn’t detailed. This was a shitty idea.

Song 2: “Bones”

No it wasn’t! This brings on more vivid memories. This is a great idea! Fuck to the doubters!

Jesus, thank God. Shuffle really bailed me out here.

“Bones”! The choir-esque lyrics, the cheerful piano, they immediately take me back to being 16 years old, at my first concert ever. The Killers were playing at Sandstone outside of Kansas City (blessings be upon it), and my girlfriend and I got tickets to see it. We went with my older sister (Chaperone/Driver) and my little brother (Future Super Genius, Then Nerd). And the concert fucking rocked.

“Bones” came on and she and I danced to it, sort of PDA-swaying, and we whispered sweet nothings and just listened.

A cinematic vision, ensued / Like the holiest dream / Is someone calling? / An angel whispers my name / But the message relayed is the same / Wait till tomorrow, you’ll be fine!

It was prophetic, it was ecstatic, it was perfect for a young couple and a young relationship. It was one of those moments that you know, somewhere in your brain, you’ll remember forever. I couldn’t conjure up another exact memory of them playing another song at that show. But they played “Bones,” and I was so happy when I heard it start, and I’ll never forget that moment.

Song 3: “Exitlude”

Ughhhh the “Enterlude” and “Exitlude” from this album are incredible. They’re too short. And because they’re so short, when I was 15, I would listen to them on repeat, over and over and over, and yell at my little brother, Z, to play “Exitlude,” with its quiet joy, on the piano so I could howl out lyrics and shatter windows and send birds flying from their trees and cause an uproar among the general town folk.

When I was 15, I shared a room with Z. It was on the top floor of our house, and outside of the room was a spindly little wooden desk with a Dell computer on it that I would use to listen to The Killer’s CDs. I turned up the speakers and played “Exitlude,” which is not a banger and shouldn’t be played at full volume, but I did it because I wanted to drift away with it, float along as the lyrics fade. I wanted it to be longer, but if it were longer, it wouldn’t be the same. Like [tilts head back] being young.

Outside the sun is shining / Seems like heaven ain’t far away / It’s good to have you with us / Even if it’s just for the day.

But what really gets me is the light piano and drums at the end and the far-off vocals that bid you farewell. But I can’t take a hint, both from this song and from my memories, so I hit replay over and over.

Last Song and Then I’ll Stop: “For Reason’s Unknown”

Yikes, this song is so good but brings on such embarrassingly petty memories. For one, it makes me think of being 15, a wonderful time when I decided I’d rather play soccer averagely and Halo obsessively than pay attention to school or being Not A Nerd. On the bright side, I had so much hair and occasionally saw the sun.

What this song makes me think of is trying to get over this girl I had a huge crush on. We talked constantly our freshman year, and I was super into her in only the way that 15 year olds are into girls. Timing your responses to texts, obsessively monitoring her response times, playing it cool and apathetic when you see her in public like you’re stoned and trying to buy candy from Quik Trip.

Well, she didn’t like me like I liked her. So I played “For Reasons Unknown” repeatedly, made the more aching parts my Facebook status (Seth Klamann is But my heart, it don’t beat, it don’t beat the way it used to) and belted it out while playing Halo. Hey, at least it drowned out the sound of other children calling each other racial slurs over the Internet.

So that’s it. Uhhh. I masquerade as an adult now and shouldn’t share these things, but [burps] that’s the waaay the news goes.

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Yearly Phat Jam

Jams

This is less a Daily Phat Jam and more a Yearly Phat Jam in that I’ve decided to compile my favorite albums of the year. Not all of these are “prestigious” or necessarily “better than Smash Mouth” but thankfully I’m not a music critic and my opinion only matters to me and like nine other people (at best). They’re listed alphabetically by artist name.

I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It – The 1975

Much like the title of the record itself, this album is a bit too long and a bit too intentionally odd, but the best parts of it (“The Sound,” “Love Me,” “She’s American”) outweigh the tedious bits.

Malibu – Anderson .Paak

This dude blew up in 2016 and for good reason. If you’re in search of an album that masterfully blends rap, hip-hop, pop, and funk (and the artist isn’t Chance the Rapper), this is your jam.

22, A Million – Bon Iver

Bon Iver got big when I was still in my “I don’t like slow music” phase. I still haven’t been able to truly connect with the group’s previous albums, but man did this one scratch my itch. Take Justin Vernon’s haunting, emotional vocals and distort it nearly beyond recognition and you’ve got a striking, memorable album.

Blonde – Frank Ocean

I got Apple Music just to listen to this album. That should tell you enough. (In full disclosure: I never deleted my Spotify account and ended my subscription with Apple Music.)

How To Be A Human Being – Glass Animals

I was blown away when I heard “Life Itself.” Already a big fan of Glass Animals, I was a little nervous to see how they’d return with a sophomore effort, but the band managed to advance their sound without losing what people loved about ZABA. Maybe my favorite album this year.

The Life Of Pablo – Kanye West

Not a masterpiece as it stands but I’m willing to bet there’s a masterpiece in there. This album has so many incredible moments (when the choir kicks in on “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”, all of “Waves,” etc.) that keep it afloat when other tracks fall flat.

A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead

I’ve had difficulty getting into more recent Radiohead. I love The Bends and OK Computer and just this year developed a love for Kid A. Call me a poser but regardless, I immediately fell in love with this album, partly due to its accessibility, and especially its first track, “Burn the Witch.”

A Sailor’s Guide to Earth – Sturgill Simpson

Sweeping, heartbreaking and twangy in all the right ways, this is the best possible version of modern country music. Simpson’s “In Bloom” cover got a lot of playtime from me this year. It alone is worth checking out.

Birds In The Trap Sing McNight – Travi$ Scott

He may not be the most, er, inspired lyricist, but Scott sure can make a dope-ass album. Not to mention the feature from The Weeknd on “Wonderful” that nearly steals the show.

We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service – A Tribe Called Quest

I didn’t grow up listening to rap music, so I really have no history at all with ATCQ. No matter, because this album (the group’s first since 1998) is fresh, amazingly produced, and more relevant than ever. Also: Busta Rhymes has the coolest voice in rap.

Weezer (White Album) – Weezer

Weezer was my all-time favorite band growing up. I fell in love with Weezer (Blue Album) and Pinkerton at the best possible times (in high school, with a healthy dose of raging hormones) and in a year fraught with nostalgia overload, this is about as close to those albums as Weezer will get. And that’s okay for me.

Light Upon the Lake – Whitney

My brother got me onto these guys. This album is so easy to listen to, and hits all the right notes (especially the horns on “Polly”) that it was hard for me not to include them.

Still Brazy – YG

YG made a West Coast ‘90s album in 2016 and took on the now-president-elect with the best diss track of the year (“FDT,” which stands for exactly what you think it does). He’s got my vote.

“On Hold” – The xx

Jams

The xx is comfort music. I didn’t discover the group’s first album, which came out in 2009, until sometime early in college a few years later. Its simple, stripped-down sound was a welcome accompaniment to long winter walks on campus with its warm tones and soothing vocals.

This past week has been a long winter walk for many of my friends and family. Throw in some pelting sleet and black ice for good measure. Annie and I missed a lot of the buildup to the election, and the subsequent letdown on Tuesday evening, which was blunted by 14 hours of travel from Iceland to Baltimore to Kansas City. By the time we landed, it wasn’t looking good for Clinton.

Iceland was beautiful and a welcome escape from reality, if only for a few moments. The Wi-Fi wasn’t great there and to be honest, my top priority wasn’t discovering new music, so I spent most of Wednesday going through my Spotify New Music playlist while I got caught up on work.

I’ve been telling myself that jetlag is responsible for the miserable, if shortened, week I just had. That’s likely part of it, but the other was the outcome of the election that I was too naïve to fathom ever being possible. There have been countless takes on what happened, countless journalists/media personalities/podcast hosts tossing blame, and countless tears shed by people all over the country for my words to add anything to the Kleenex pile. So I won’t.

Shock still lingering in my system, I fell upon the new xx song, “On Hold.” It begins like many other xx tracks, with Romy Madley Croft’s choir-like vocals welcoming you to the reality that is new xx music. Oliver Sim follows with his own soothing vocals as the song rises with a steady, measured production. And then, at 0:50, it bubbles over into something totally different. Hall & Oats different.

That’s right. This song samples “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” by Hall & freaking Oats. I had no idea. Try listening to the original song, if you can. I attempted it and blacked out for a moment, followed by a hallucination that I’d somehow fallen into a wormhole that dropped me into a dreamy 1980s nightclub complete with like, six mustachioed saxophone players. Don’t listen to it. It’s a weird, weird song. But Rodaidh McDonald and Jamie xx worked some magic with this sample because it transcends any previous xx song.

Jamie xx’s new solo artist stamp is totally evident in this track. I’ve not been as familiar with his debut album as I need to be—I also had no idea he was in The xx until last week but who among us, right?—but a quick visit to the band’s Wikipedia page confirms my claim. There’s a rising optimism to this song that never reveals itself on any of the previous xx albums. Describing it does no justice. Just listen.

Forget that the lyrics actually detail a broken relationship. We’ve all had those. Plenty of people had one last Tuesday. This is a bright, optimistic song as far as I’m concerned, because it was my first ray of light after election night’s dreariness and that hangover that followed. I can already tell it’ll be on repeat for weeks to come.

“This Modern Love” – Bloc Party

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I love Bloc Party. I especially love their album “Silent Alarm,” which dropped more than 10 years ago. I’ve wanted to write about their music since Chris whispered life into this beautiful and popular website (we hit 10 million views last week, folks). But I haven’t, and I’m in a writing mood, so here goes.

“This Modern Love” is my favorite song from “Silent Alarm.” The song is about, well, modern love. The inability of 21st century people to properly express their feelings for another person. The distance and guards people throw up to protect themselves, which inevitably leads to the hurt they’re avoiding.

The song starts slow, simple. But as the narrator grows more frustrated with this modern love, it picks up and Kele Okereke’s voice comes into gentle yet persistent focus.

“Don’t get offended if I seem absent minded / Just keep telling my facts and keep making me smile.” He’s keeping a distance, remaining somewhat away, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want her. “Baby you’ve got to be more demanding / I’ll be yours.” Tell me how you feel. Stop hiding it. Be blunt, be honest, knock me on my ass, tell me, tell me.

This next line is beautiful. “You told me you wanted to eat up my sadness / Well jump on, enjoy, you can gorge away.” This person says she wants to make the narrator happy, to take away his sadness. But she hasn’t, so the narrator is urging her to do it, to take a leap to him at last and eat away his sadness.

“What are you holding out for? / What’s always in the way?” and “This modern love breaks me.” He’s throwing his hands up in exasperation, enough dancing around, tell me what the problem is. He’s through with this modern pursuit of evasive love, a romantic shoot and scoot.

But … Not fully. The song ends with him repeating, “Do you want to come over and kill some time?” Despite it all, the elusiveness and game playing, her being “so damn absent minded,” he’s still there. And unlike this frustrating modern love, he’s direct. “Do you want to come over and kill some time? / Throw your arms around me.”

As my high school English teacher would say, “God damn, that’s good.”

Song assocation and “Hooked on a Feeling” – Blue Swede

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I’d heard “Hooked on a Feeling” before it was popularized again in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but I’d logged it away in the way that you hear songs but don’t realize you’ve heard it until you’ve heard it again somewhere else. But the movie’s trailer, I think that’s where I heard it next, brought it back to me. Brought me back to it.

It’s strange, my relationship with this song. I really enjoy it, but it makes me terribly sad. As I’m sure many people do, I strongly associate songs, particularly ones I play on repeat as I did with this song two years ago, with what, where and who I am in that moment. “Breezeblocks” brings me back to the summer after my junior year, working at a soccer store and melting daily in that Missouri sun.

Lil Wayne reminds me of tooling around the streets of Kansas City with my friends, down dark streets flanked by old, dignified trees, their expressions like the clock in “Beauty in the Beast,” noses upturned, buttressing the upper-middle class fortress. That’s what I remember when I hear Lil Wayne songs. Loose happiness.

But sadness is what I feel and hear and breathe when I hear “Hooked on a Feeling.” It’s a happy song, a song about how love is intoxicating, a drug, but also a safe house, an existential embrace. A reminder, a reassurance, delivered and demanded.

So why do I keep saying, in such an irritatingly overwrought fashion, that it makes me sad? Because it re-emerged in my life almost a year after the death of an old friend, and to my shame and sorrow that’s likely the only fair way to describe our relationship.

I fixated on the hooked on a feeling lyric. She died in a car accident, alone. But months before she died, she reached out to me, for the first time in six years. I didn’t reach back. A year later, and still really, I was hooked on the feeling that I’d failed her.

It makes no sense, I kept telling myself then and tell myself now, my doublespeak with this song. But I wanted somebody to quote the song to me, to tell me that everything was alright, and I wanted to believe it. To the credit of several people, I got half of that. But I was hooked on the feeling.

“I can’t stop this feeling / Deep inside of me.” It makes no sense, it makes no sense, it makes no sense. But I can’t breathe logic into it, can’t dismantle and discard my irrational association of Blue Swede’s blissful joy and my leaching sorrow. Don’t ask me to because I can’t. They’re pressed together at the top of the stack in the part of my memory when old didn’t proceed friends.

I love the song. I listen to it often. But it makes me terribly sad, and maybe it’s a good thing. No, it’s not. But I listen anyway, and pass my hand over my face, and remember.

“Sweet is the Night”– Electric Light Orchestra

Jams

Prince and Beyoncé are anomalies. The two artists have catalogues of hits that perfectly blend sounds and styles, resulting in music that reaches beyond the cavern of Top 40 radio, into the daylight of something brighter, more meaningful. Some artists, like Crossfade or Chevelle, make music that dwells in the shadows of that very same cavern, churning out unimaginative tunes equal parts butt and rock.

I know that Electric Light Orchestra isn’t on the same level as Prince and Beyoncé. Few are. But Jeff Lynne (the man behind ELO) is a songwriting mastermind who has created some of the best hooks of all time. God forbid his passing, but once that day comes, I promise that many will revisit ELO’s catalogue and discover tracks such as “Sweet is the Night” that they’ll be hooked on for weeks.

The Beach Boys’ and Beatles’ influence here is palpable. And yet ELO is very much a product of its time. It isn’t difficult to imagine a disco remix of “Sweet is the Night” coming on right after a dance-off to the eternal classic “Disco Duck.” Somehow though, much like their better known hit “Mr. Blue Sky,” Jeff Lynne and ELO produce a song in “Sweet is the Night” that transcends a period of time or style of music.

This transcendence comes as a result of Lynne’s arrangement. The song begins with a familiar do-wop melody, harkening back to a simpler time, a time in which Marty McFly’s parents may not have ended up together had Marty not interfered at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. That melody seamlessly falls into the background, providing structure to the song, as a string section bursts through at :20, shattering any premonition you may have had about where the song was headed.

Lynne’s vocals come in shortly thereafter. The lyrics aren’t complex and don’t push boundaries quite like Lynne’s influences do. That’s okay though. ELO could be singing gibberish and it wouldn’t matter because their harmonies are so in sync, the production so tight, that at 1:25, the song goes from “I could listen to the rest of this” to “This must be what they play when you get to heaven.”

The remaining two minutes are bliss. That’s the thing about ELO songs. Once Lynne gets you there, you’re gravy. And the beauty of their greatest hits is that in each song, you can hear Lynne building the song piece by piece, almost like watching someone make cookies. Except they just keep throwing in really delicious ingredients. You’re watching going, “That looks so amazing that I’ll eat the cookie dough right now,” and then the baker tosses some peanut butter cups in and somehow it’s better than you ever imagined.

It’s hard to imagine that this came out in 1977 considering how incredible it still sounds almost 40 years after being recorded. That’s part of the magic of ELO. Lynne’s body of work is a testament to the fact that timelessness is essential in pop music. He doesn’t belong in the top echelon of artistry where few reside, but he’s a pop genius and should be heralded as such.

“American Money” – BØRNS

Jams

I’ll be the first to admit that I thought BØRNS would be a one-hit wonder after “Electric Love.” The song had all of the ingredient for a typical one-hit wonder: a virtually unknown artist, infectious pop melodies and an androgynous vocalist all packaged neatly into a 3:38 song performed by a band with a crazy foreign letter in its name. Seriously, look at the top charts for indie/alternative and you’ll find a surprising amount of artists with foreign letters in their names, including Låpsley, MØ, LÉON, etc. Who do these people think they’re fooling with their fancy foreign letters?

“Electric Love” was one of those singles that became exhausting to me because it was so omnipresent on the radio and streaming, its popularity lasting the duration of the summer. I needed a detox, and as a result, avoided listening to the rest of “Candy” (BØRNS’ EP) and completely overlooked the first album, “Dopamine,” which dropped in the middle of October.

Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist came through for me once again with yet another W. The first song on my playlist this week was “American Money” by my now-favorite artist who spells his name with a crazy foreign letter. It’s a song that contains similar elements to the more well-known and radio-friendly “Electric Love,” while diverging from the formula to give listeners something more to chew on.

It’s clear from the beginning that “American Money” isn’t going to be as airy or bubbly as “Electric Love.” While the latter begins with a burst of pure light, reminiscent of the energy brought with regularity by The Mowgli’s or The Polyphonic Spree, “American Money” brings a different vibe. Thumping and initially paired down, lead singer Garrett Borns delivers lyrics that wrap the listener up, bracing you for impact just as the synth and lustrous vocal arrangements hit.

It’s a totally different experience than listening to “Electric Love.” “American Money” has more complicated depth in its production, making the uber-popular “Electric Love” seem simple and superficial. While a basic love song at its core, “American Money” really delivers with its sound, finding that sweet, sultry spot somewhere between the bright soundscape of “Electric Love” and the darker, brooding synth melodies predominant among artists like Broods and Banks.

One-hit wonder BØRNS is not. “Dopamine” reached 24 in the US charts while the band’s top four songs on Spotify (other than “Electric Love”) combine for more than 40 million listens. “American Money” is the kind of pop music that I can get down to. I’ll even look the other way at the silly “Ø” character, which at this point just seems like a band name gimmick, albeit one that works. With that in mind, please consider attending a show on Friday night in Kansas City, where I’ll be playing with my new band, MØRNĭŅĜ ŜØŊ.

“Pyotr” – Bad Books

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Prepare to get your sad on. This is the song that plays during a movie montage where the main character just broke up with his girlfriend. The camera cuts back and forth between the breakup fight and the main character packing up his stuff, eventually concluding with him driving away in his 2006 Hyundai Sonata. He probably stares into the rearview mirror until he rounds the corner.

This song, and its meaning, were graciously introduced to me two weeks ago. I’ve had a hard time getting it out of my head since then. Even Future’s “Purple Reign,” pretty much the exact opposite in every way, hasn’t been able to evict it fully.

Like Alt-j’s “Taro,” which Drewbert so astutely wrote about last year, this song changes completely when you learn what it means. Most songs mean something, but if you really listen to this one, you kind of have to look into the background. So. Here it is.

Pyotr is Peter the Great, the Russian tsar. He marries Catherine, a servant who would eventually become tsarina and empress when Peter dies. But Catherine is unfaithful, and Peter discovers her and her Lover (shudder. That word sucks). The lover is executed, and his head is dunked into a jar. As punishment, Catherine is made to look at the Lover’s final resting place.

The song is told from the perspective of Peter and the Lover, with the perspective swapping from verse to verse, even after the Lover, in the immortal words of Michael Scott, had his cappa ditated from his head.

It’s a very sad, mournful song; both men love Catherine. From Peter’s perspective, you get the feeling of a wounded animal: “I know I am not the man you desire / I know you think I’m some kind of fool.”

But he’s also a tsar, so you know what they say about wounded animals: “I know you would gaze into his eyes forever / I figured out just how to give that to you.”

I like that line. Not because of the eye-poppingly brutal vengeance it describes, but because of the depth of pain Peter clearly feels.

The other line I like, from the perspective of Mr. Lover after Peter “found us in the western wing sleeping”: “And I tell you in the heat of the struggle / Nobody ever takes my eyes off of you.”

I keep trying to pick a favorite verse or lyric, but the song is amazing throughout. It’s the sort of song you listen to on repeat hoping you find a lyric you haven’t heard yet, or maybe the song will magically double in length. The last verse, from the perspective of the now-dead Lover, is incredible. “It’s so good to see you back here again.”

I’m going to take a long walk in the woods or something. Are there woods in Nebraska?

“Every Night You’ve Got to Save Me” – Mass Gothic

Jams

I filter music in my head into various categories depending on its sound, tone and applicability to a given situation. To put it less robotically, I like the idea that the music I listen to acts as a soundtrack to my life. I’m sure plenty of people also feel this way. Kid Cudi has a song about it, and if he’s rapped about it before, you can be certain that plenty of white people are at least familiar with the subject matter.

Following this thinking, I’ve noticed that there’s a long list of endlessly upbeat songs that are the perfect accompaniments to optimistic montages in movies. “Light & Day” by The Polyphonic Spree is a prime example. So too is “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes. Both make you want to sway back and forth like a flower child on their cloud (or, if you’re on something a little more psychedelic, gyrate like one of those inflatable things used to attract people to used car lots).

“Every Night You’ve Got to Save Me” by Mass Gothic fits right in with this imaginary list of upbeat montage movie songs. It’s also a song that you know sounds good live. Big, bright and jangly, “Every Night You’ve Got to Save Me” belongs at an outdoor music festival, the kind where the performers jump off the stage and walk through the crowd without missing a note.

It’s a simple song with simple lyrics. But when paired with thumping drums, raucous tambourining and harmonious backing vocals, the tune sticks with you (and make you feel good). Just to illustrate how cheerful “Every Night You’ve Got to Save Me” is: I’ve already exhausted my list of appropriate synonyms for the words “happy” and “cheery” (because, let’s be real here, nobody would believe that I didn’t look up “buoyant” if I’d used to describe this song).

“Every Night You’ve Got to Save Me” is the kind of song that almost convinces you to quit your job to pursue your true passion of joining a theater group that travels around the country, playing free shows for underprivileged youth, eventually falling in love with a person named Flower and naming your children after horoscope signs. It’s that optimistic.

I can’t seem to shake the image in my head of a joyous Jesus Christ Revival Band performing this song. Everyone is wearing white robes (think The Polyphonic Spree again) and they’re led by a charismatic, dubiously handsome granolaman (Edward Sharpe). I know it’s unfair to pigeonhole this group based on what one of their songs sounds like, because now that I’ve watched the video, it’s clear that they don’t look or act anything like those other two bands, so you should instead ignore me and listen to this song. The band has less than 1,100 likes on their Facebook page, and if you tell all your friends about Mass Gothic before they blow up, you’ll look really cool. And then I’ll look really cool and take credit for them blowing up.

“The Sound” – The 1975

Jams

The rules of radio control in the car are simple and universal. The Driver is allotted complete, omniscient authority over the music selection for the duration of their tenure as Driver. Disputing this fact puts the arguer on the wrong side of history, much like claiming that 9/11 wasn’t an inside job or that the pyramids weren’t built to store grain.

My girlfriend finds herself in this same camp, as she seems to think that the passenger gets to choose the music. This is an egregious error on her part, because her initial inclination upon hearing an unfamiliar song of my choosing is to skip it and continue on to the Pop2K SiriusXM radio station (which, for some unknown reason, plays an unusually large amount of Nelly and Ludacris). However, I’m convinced that “The Sound” by The 1975 is a song that she would skip immediately, and I would like to convince her otherwise.

“The Sound” starts with a muted choir of children chirping the chorus before the lead bursts through 25 seconds later. For many this Children’s Crusade of an intro might be a skippable offense. I plead these individuals to push past the opening seconds, because while simple and a tad repetitive, “The Sound” is another excellent pop song by an excellent pop band. The song is reminiscent of the brightest and liveliest hits from the 1980s thanks to its cheery beat, funky guitar and infectious piano that punctuates the syrupy lyrics with multitudes of exclamation points.

I haven’t fallen completely in love with The 1975’s other new singles quite the same way as I have with “The Sound.” (If I had to rank them, it would be 1. “The Sound” 2. “Love Me” and 3. “UGH!”.) However, all three songs have a familiar yet refreshing sound, as if the entire band were hipster time travelers: too cool to play 80s music in the 80s, so they jumped ahead three decades for the 80s revival.

If you’re still unconvinced about the authenticity of the music, let this statement ease your mind: I have no idea whether The 1975 have a keytarist. It’s really impressive to be so obviously influenced by a particular sound from decades ago and somehow manage to feel new, albeit a bit familiar.

But there really isn’t anything wrong with that. Hollywood has found success in the last few years with rebooting and refreshing decades-old source material for modern audiences. Why not The 1975 too? Listening to “The Sound” does just what I want this kind of music to do – it scratches my 80s Music Itch in just the right spot, inspiring me to listen to classic 80s pop music, including New Order and INXS (the bands I’m immediately reminded of when listening to The 1975), among others.

So how do I convince my girlfriend to listen? Not so simple. I’ve pretty much accepted that it’s easier to listen to music we both like while riding together than music that just I like. However, I have found a loophole: she proofed this whole article, which means that she listened to the song. And once it starts playing on SiriusXM (after Twenty One Pilots hopefully disappear), she’ll jam along with me.