Thursday, 31 March 2011

The end of hair shirt month

I'm happily taking off my hair shirt today and locking it away for another couple of years. The shirt's not had much use recently as the last time I wore it, it only got used for an hour, although on the other hand I did once wear it for several years... perhaps I should explain. Radiohead have a new album out.

I don't follow modern music much any more, although a combination of Radiohead, REM and Elbow all issuing new material presents a rare opportunity for me to listen to something new. But of all the bands I listen to, the gloomy ones have always provided me with the most hair shirt moments ever since their second album came out and it failed to deliver the melodic, indie rock I'd expected from their first album. This led to me locking myself away to listen to the Bends for several dozen times trying to work out if I liked the new sound, which I did eventually. And this is a ritual I've enjoyed doing every few years since. The shortest hair shirt period was for In Rainbows which I liked on the first listen (still worries me that) and the longest was for Kid A, which took several years of navel gazing before I became depressed enough to enjoy it, and which is now my official favourite album.

As for the latest King of Limbs, I was going to review the songs, all of which I'm pleased to say left me non-plussed on the first few dozen listens. But then I made the mistake of reading a review to get a feeling of how it'd been received. The review used the words dichotomy and juxtaposition in the first sentence and, frankly, I can’t compete with that, so I'll stick to saying I like it now. It features good chilled-out music to play in the background while doing other things like thumbing through the dictionary for the definition of dichotomy and juxtaposition, while being gloomy of course.


Chris Creel said...

I wouldn't have imagined you as gloomy. Now, can you explain the hair shirt business for the Yankee portion or your audience? Thanks

I.J. Parnham said...

Only joking about the gloom.

I was listening to REM's song Hairshirt while I wrote this entry and that, I thought, gave me the appropriate metaphor. But then again perhaps the word means something different to me than what those guys were singing about. I was trying to imply an uncomfortable, itchy, scratchy sackcloth that you deliberately wear to let everyone know you're suffering.

Hope that helps!

Chris Creel said...

Yes thanks, that was the impression that I was getting. But I thought I'd ask rather than search the entree-net for an answer.