What’s in a song?: Sleater-Kinney – A New Wave

Ah, sweet relief. Finally, after that bland squib of a Grammys post, I can enthuse again. I’ve been thinking I should post more than once a week; but then, my friends, I would only be pandering to all those consumerist tendencies I’m trying so hard to pull you out of. So we must stay patient; and we must wait; and we must suck it all up so that that eventual solitary joy becomes more real and true than if everything were laid before us, buffet style. We can’t have everything we ever wanted, else nothing would have any meaning. I’m sure you’ve all felt that thrill when a band comes off ‘hiatus’ status; releasing new music after a period of drought. The resulting release seeming more cutting and immediate simply for the silence that preceded it. Look at Bowie’s ‘Next Day‘; a good album, sure, but by the sound of the press you’d think he’d discovered some new way of cutting bread. He hadn’t, of course, but that didn’t stop us getting that little bit of extra pleasure from listening to him again. It had just been such a long time between communions. Still; pennies have two sides and for every average album made revolutionary by our perceptions of time; there is a good album that breaks reality.

Like Bowie; Sleater-Kinney have been absent for a long time. Like Bowie; they are back. Taking into account all I have literally just said, you may think this following statement nothing but hyperbole. But here goes; ‘A New Wave’ is the most perfect, most powerful and most idiotically fun songs of recent memory. I admit that saying that is a bit too much; nobody likes a fawning idiot. But to hit play brings it all back like some dumb head rush. It’s just so deceptively simple and easy; one of those head rolling beats and rooted bass lines combining to push you forward. It feels like an old friend, struck dumb by inactivity, throwing you off a cliff and yelling ‘told you you’d love it!’. That’s how it feels to get swept up in music; you have no choice in the matter but to let it happen. Guitars laughing at you all the way. Honestly, I feel I could talk for hours on the specifics, but I just didn’t expect to be so happily smothered by ‘A New Wave’; I just was and it was incendiary.

                    Like the sound of Russel's guitar

It’s moments like this that lyrics, timed correctly and delivered with conviction, actually get to me. No-one here is taking notice. No outline will ever hold us. It’s not a New Wave it’s just you and me. What’s more important, that you let lyrics affect you in the precise way they were intended or that you interpret them in your own deeply personal way? The latter. Always the latter. To me these words cut through all the crap and rubbish of love and power and culture in so much of music. They stand as a rallying cry for sense and independence. Nobody takes any notice; this is fact. If you’re an artist of any stripe, nobody cares unless you are one of the blessed few. A sentiment close to my heart. But this allows us freedom because we don’t have to prescribe to the boxes that these large industries (commonly known as ‘The Man‘) force us into. We can afford to be three dimensional and varied. We can afford to be ourselves, free from the constraints of community. We can appreciate the small moments between you and me. That’s what really matters.

I don’t know the real story behind those words and I’ve probably got it all wrong; but we can only ever approach art as a reflection of ourselves. There is a lot of me in this song. So much that I feel I could shave from the sound wave. Isn’t that what we want in music? To see ourselves as we want to be seen. To feel that we’re not isolated. To just look back at ourselves smiling. I may live in obscurity, it’s true; but at least I’m not alone.

No Cities To Love by Sleater-Kinney is out now. Go Buy. Go Buy.

3 thoughts on “What’s in a song?: Sleater-Kinney – A New Wave

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