Rax E. Dillon (rax) wrote,
Rax E. Dillon

Ten Songs

My dear friend [personal profile] outstretched  said I should join her and others in picking ten formative songs and writing about them. So here you go. Feel free to join us, if you'd like. (See hers and another friend's.)

Missing Time. Matthew Sweet (from Blue Sky On Mars)
"Do you realize what they have done?
Showed me I am not the only one.
Planted something in my mind,
now I've begun to find
Missing time..."

1999. Missing time holds the key, indeed; this departure from the rest of BSOM is the song I turned to when I realized that something was going on in my head and I didn't remember things that, well, other people would remember. Meeting other people who were abused, challenging their experiences, and then realizing what this suggests about your own experience is some powerful shit. Filling in the missing time... is not fun. It is not a fun game. I am sorry if you have ever had to play it. (There are like thirty Matthew Sweet songs I could have put here, but this is one of the most emotionally formative ones for me, so here you go.)

Under Smithville. For Squirrels (from Example)</div>
"Tell me now who you think I am
It's just a
It's a little bit harder just to hold your hand
And round and round and round we go..."

Every year? I can't pick a year this song connects to in particular. It's just. Long-distance relationships. Sometimes they don't work out. Even when they do, they're hard. I have very strong feelings about For Squirrels that I've talked about a bit in the past, but like. I feel genuinely that music would be different today were it not for the For Squirrels accident, and I would have been one of those people who has a favorite band and follows them everywhere and it would have been For Squirrels. I fall in love with bands sometimes (that phase where I listened to nothing but Mother Mother, wow) but no one will ever replace For Squirrels in my heart.

My Own Worst Enemy. Lit (from A Place In The Sun)
"Can we forget about the things I said when I was drunk?
I didn't mean to call you that."
2002, 2007. This is, frankly, not even that good of a song, but it's important to me at two particular moments in my life. In 2002, I listened to it every morning while I engaged in self-destructive behavior as a horribly misguided effort to prevent myself from harming others. (Past rax: Way to go on the trying not to hurt other people thing, that's important; hurting yourself, not really the way to fix it. It's cool, we get better.) In 2007, it was part of my morning exercise routine, as I found a more socially-approved way to try to exorcise the same demons. I had nice arms then, at least. :P

Rock 'N' Roll Suicide. David Bowie (from The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars)
"Oh no love you're not alone
No matter what or who you've been
No matter when or where you've seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I've had my share, I'll help you with the pain, you're not alone."
2004. I couldn't help but start singing along to this when I put it on. This song is part of why I want my baritone back, dammit. And the horns. And the complicated tangle of emotions tied up with Steer Roast, and having friends and leaving friends, and leaving friends and having friends. This one goes out to a couple of people who helped keep me together in, frankly, the worst period of my life. Thanks, y'all. <3 (I have complicated and messy feelings about Bowie, for reasons of him being super formative for me and genderqueer in a way I wish I could be, but also being someone who did horrible things to children well beyond "your faves are problematic." I've been working on a poem about it, but so far it still sucks.)

Hajnal. Venetian Snares (from Rossz Csillag Alatt Született)
This is the best orchestral DNB in 7/4 ever. The whole album is brilliant but this one track. This one track. I do not have words. I think it may be one of the best pieces of music. Full fucking stop. Go find a high-res copy and good, really good, headphones or speakers, and just let it wash over you. Augh. Augh. Hajnal.

This little Babe. Benjamin Britten (from A Ceremony Of Carols)
"If thou wilt foil thy
Foes with joy then
Flit not from this
Hevène Boy!"

2001, 2004. Children's choir with harp (there's also a pretty good SATB arrangement). Mostly I think pot is a stupid drug that makes me stupid and makes me think everything around me is also stupid, so despite its being legal in a city I visit frequently and having lots of friends who are into it I never partake. However, if there is one thing I find worth doing while high, it is hiding under blankets with Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols on and a flashlight, reading the score as it plays. It's an amazing composition. I picked this song in particular (full lyrics, you should read them) because it is arguably the place where my spirituality, such as it is, overlaps with Christianity. (Also, I direct you to "His arrows: looks of weeping eyes" versus Dessa's "the quiver in my lip is just where I keep my arrows.") I like the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford recording better than any I could find on YouTube, but the one I linked was least imperfect.

The Box (Vocal Reprise). Orbital (from the In Sides bonus disc only released in the UK, I'm pretty sure?)

"And you know they'll never find us
And they'll leave us alone
And if we just keep on talking
Then we'll still make it home"

2003. I used to listen to all of The Box, but especially this track, on loop on incredibly high volume while lying on the floor with a black umbrella open covering my face. Goth rax is goth, and ridiculous rax is ridiculous. I still love this song, it's incredible, one of Orbital's best works. One of the singers is Alison Goldfrapp, if you're into that kind of thing. I no longer use music as literal armor against people invading my space, but this track still gets my attention, and it's definitely formative. This influences both the kind of music I like (I can hear a line from here to Wolfgun, actually) and the kind of music I'd like to make. The recording I have has a skip in "trading satellites for substance" from a bad CD rip that I have heard so many times that it almost sounds correct. If you have a high bitrate encoding of this track without errors, please share.

Wrecking Ball
. Mother Mother (from O My Heart)
"I am unruly in the stands
I am a rock on top of the sand
I am a fist amidst the hands
And I made a wreck out of my hand
I made a fist and not a plan
And I break it just because I can"

2013. I could have done this whole meme with just Mother Mother songs. I almost picked Heart Heavy, but I think this track is the exact counterpoint to the Britten for me and so it goes here. I have been the wrecking ball. There is beauty in being the wrecking ball. I have been the babe whose shield is a naked breast. There is beauty in that too. Differential consciousness, motherfuckers. Differential. Fucking. Consciousness.

The Past Is A Grotesque Animal
. Of Montreal (from Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?)
"I fell in love with the first cute girl I met ...
who could appreciate George Bataille."

2009. It turns out being non-monogamous is super fucking hard. Oops. Here's another one that touches on long-distance relationships, too, which are kind of ridiculously a theme in my life: "How can I explain? / I need you here, but not here too / ... / At least I author my own disaster." Plus, it references Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Plus seeing Of Montreal live is an experience. Kevin Barnes rubbed shaving cream on my face once, and I still have a guitar pick covered in his red bodypaint. "It's like we weren't made for this world, though I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." Growing to love someone against your better judgement: That is what this song captures for me. Perfectly. Maybe 2009 isn't the only year it captures. ^^;;;;;;;;;

Trying To Find A Balance. Atmosphere (from Seven's Travels)
"So now I keep a close eye on my pets
Because they make most of they moves off of instinct and sense
It's eat, sleep, fuck, and self defense
So straight you can set your clocks and place bets"

2004, now. Lately I've been on a huge Doomtree kick (and the No Kings fan will find some really interesting crossreferences in Atmosphere's work --- he is, after all, from the other amazing rap collective in Minneapolis) but I've been on team Rhymesayers since I had an Anticon sticker on my dorm room door. I almost went with Godlovesugly here, but I wanted to end on something a little more positive than that, and this track also has the bit quoted above that resonates with some of my recent feelings about species transition. "You can't achieve your goals if you don't take that chance / So go pry open that trunk and get those amps." Okay, Slug. I will, and I'll check out your new stuff and maybe spin some of it on those amps. Thanks.</div>
This entry was originally posted at http://rax.dreamwidth.org/133115.html.
Tags: even obscurer music references, music, obscure mother mother references, the self as text
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