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21Sep/10

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The Long Blondes - The Unbearable Lightness of Buildings

The Long Blondes were invited by the Tate to walk around the museum and write a song about whatever inspired them. They chose this piece by Jannis Kounellis:

Jannis Kounellis - Untitled

The band said, "Untitled caught our eye because we saw the stark industrial landscape and pictured ourselves within it." One of the most interesting things about this song (and, I think, about most Long Blondes songs) is Kate Jackson's singing--she's got such a versatile voice. One part of this song (topic A) is a sort of flat academic lecture or a bored monologue about art, in which Kate says things like "Surreal bauhaus futurist manifestos," and "But with a lost ideal hanging like a broken wing," her tone reminiscent of the one she uses on the "Fulwood Babylon" break (when she says, "Girls fantasize/on school trips to galleries/of men who don't meet/their parents' expectations"). Makes sense, given the subject matter. Then, about halfway through the song, Kate sings, at the top of her voice, "Come on baby/sent to the factory/you were my baby/you never came back to me," and later that line is repeated in the background all the way to the end of the song. It's surprising and intensely emotional. It seems to me that, in writing this song, the Long Blondes created something that directly mimics Kounellis's piece--the mix he's got there on the wall (or maybe they just wanted to closely translate their own experience of the piece into music). What a great band.

[BUY Century 7"]

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  1. This song is really kicking my ass and I love the emotional shifts you describe. Really interesting backstory too. Thanks!


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