And who gets my snippy wrath here?
Speaking of bands that found their niche and never left it: The Decemberists seem to have set in on a very specific demographic for a large part of their career and sailed on a sea of half-stolen riffs. The music is often same-soundy, repetitive and sort of dull. And they’ve been at it for a decade never making significant leaps and bounds artistically, but a loyal fanbase of crashing bores keeps The Decemberists in business and me lamenting the NPRization of independent music. (It probably all started when Travis Morrison took a job at HuffPo.)
My first instinct is to like this song, because, come on — tremendously sad music? Eight ball, corner pocket. And it’s really good mid-’90s emo underground music, and an obvious influence on latter day Urbana folks like American Football. As a song of its genre, it’s perfectly fitting. Good even.
But do you ever get the funny feeling some of the emo scene was the ultimate influencer on later day “nice guy” behavior? See also, the Sady Doyle take down of Weezer. Think of the nice guy as the synchophant who positions his way in relationships as to be the “nice guy,” the sensitive one who is most hurt at the end of the relationship. Sometimes it’s because of “That Bitch.” And in songs about the woman striking the blows in the relationship — and given the nature of the music, we’re listening to a potential “nice guy” perspective — it’s at least the music fueling “nice guys.”
As a song, this isn’t the worst offender, of course. But early forbearers of emo — for instance, bands like Ian MacKaye’s Embrace — often turned the sadness and introspection inward. While the Music of Self Loathing isn’t exactly an attractive enterprise, lyrics like “I can’t get what I want, I’m a failure” are quite different than, say “We painted a perfect picture together, We sang a song 87 miles long, Do you have some kindness for me?”
Giving Braid the benefit of the doubt, we want those lyrics to be about the bitter walls of ill-communication being thrown up at the end of a relationship. Because often, someone is no longer into it. The affection once felt has been sapped, and the lack of kindness may be emotional exhaustion on what is her end.
Buuuuuuuuuut. And there’s always a but. The last lines, “And everyone who noticed knows, What was so wrong with me, That you left , As I slept, Silently” sounds like Nice Guy 101. Here he just slept — obviously ignoring his own complicity in the end of the relationship and warning signs of unhappiness, instead letting his friends “watch” as he interprets her leaving all in his perspective. Which is … problematic?
Listen, dudes from Braid, live your lives how you want but this just seems a little off.
Now with not one, but TWO long form rants!