The Body / An Altar or A grave

Don’t set your hair on fire, y’all.

(Source: Spotify)

Rediscovered this gem today. Getting real emo about it.

A younger me experienced years of being totally taken aback by this song. The overt self loathing, the strange mix of aggression and apprehension. It blew me away. Sort of harsh, but still the most tender song on Knife Play, and the only one I could listen to in my parents house - when they weren’t paying much attention - without headphones. How many times in school did I embarrass myself trying to show any other Xiu Xiu songs to oblivious friends? Just enough. The cover to this album was some obscure landscape, or maybe a microscope slide. Either way this song, like so many others, swayed exactly zero of my friends at the time into Jamie Stewart’s fanbase

I remember noting all the repetition in the titles as if they had some unbound significance, the name “Suha” itself weirdly ambiguous, until I found the sense to Google it and read up on Suha Arafat. I remember getting pissed off for no real reason when I became convinced that this was a “political” song, but even if I hadn’t had occasion to grow the hell up, or missed any of several opportunities to learn about art and using other people to find ways to speak about yourself I think I probably still would have returned to this song for purely visceral reasons.

I hate my body / I hate the desert
I’m gonna hang myself. / When will I be going home?


24. The Menzingers - The Obituaries

For every time one intensified or distracted version of myself has gripped a beer-scented handshake there have followed upsets and aftermaths to furrow my brow. At some point we learn about how routine is a condition of survival, and how ritual can right a scale that may tilt askew from rust or be weighed down by habit. For tension in the face of good news, for knowing better but still trying and certain as anything waking up with your face on the floor as a result here is an anthem.

This month is a reflection. Next month is Amanda. I take over again in August.

Things that make this song unfuckwithable:

  • The amount of noise that makes up the first ten seconds before it all dissipates into this slow, beautiful sleep; a swaying that ought to be be self-immolation.
  • Can you inspect mediocrity better than that opening line? If you can, my hat has been off to you for so long that I’d just as well not own it anymore.
  • In feeling all the fragments strip away, it becomes obvious how the mess of feedback that started this offers up a confusion motif more appropriately than this thing’s refrain (“We could be anybody”) which is almost too perfect for me to comment on.
  • Then let’s go ahead and bring the bass back around just long enough to remember that it was missing, and what that feels like.
  • That piano/synth hangs around like my Dad might expect something out of it, without all the jackoff-bullshit that my Dad might expect out of it.
  • AND, that same sound throughout the album lays the groundwork for some of the more unexplainable things that come next in Wood/Water's procession. (I know, this is probably just me.)
  • "Satisfactions"/"Saddest Factions" right?
  • Don’t bother getting warmed up to this thing. It’s ungraspable. Tense as you are before a cigarette. Gone before you’ve hit the filter. Just rollin’ by.
  • This is a great illustration of how eventually we all need to get back to where we started. Now Breathe.
  • Noise. Noise. Noise.

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