Distort a music box by melting its metal tines. Rearrange dimple and dot, rests and notes. There are only so many sounds it might make. Guess all of them before you wind it up again. Leave it in a neighbor’s mailbox, attach a note that says, ‘you deal with it.’ There’s want for a music that comes in parts, a fourth on paper, a fourth in your head, a fourth along wire, and a final fourth in the air.
The second in my once-every-three-years series of posts about the Sound
The Sound were a band that did not make it, and possibly could not have made it under any circumstances. They belonged to that group of early 80s post-punkers who aren’t referenced very often: Comsat Angels, House of Love, The Chameleons, et al. The Sound owned their sound: all their songs were sharply dressed, exhibiting such sad elan, desperate in their own ways, song to song.
“Jeopardy” is my favorite song by the Sound. This is the one with which I first felt a connection, and so much of that initial attraction had to do with the bass and the guitar. The first 30 seconds of “Jeopardy” is the fucking louchest music I’ve ever heard. It’s the sonic representation of Matthew McConaughey’s character in “Dazed and Confused.” It is music that seems like the most masculine male gaze, which doesn’t even make sense. But when Adrian Borland’s voice comes in, the rough aggression of the song is stripped away, and you are left with something that feels like a pose, all bark and no fight, a studded leather jacket slung over bony shoulders.
“Jeopardy” is the title track on the Sound’s debut album, which is pretty incredible, first track to last. BUY it, before it goes out of print again. (Also, that cover art? It’s arresting, to say the least)
While moving from Pennsylvania to California, I heard this song 20+ times on the radio, and began to love it, after perhaps the 5th or 6th listen. There is an echo in it of other songs I loved when I was 19, 20, 21. Aggressive use of guitars. Lyrics in direct address, most likely to someone who isn’t listening, who won’t ever be listening. I think a lot about this type of song that seems intended for a certain person, more specifically about the effectiveness of song-delivered messages. What if the lyrically addressed party never hears the song? Or, if they do, what is their initial reaction? Do they feel flattered or simply freaked out? How often do songwriters just send the song as an attachment to the addressee and say, like, ‘THIS IS ABOUT YOU.’