Modest Mouse, is probably best known for their Grammy nominated single ‘Float On’ from the album “Good News for People who Love Bad News”. It has that fantastic line “A fake Jamaican took every last dime with that scam.” From the same album, the song Ocean Breathes Salty talks about death but with upbeat-ish music. The first line goes: “Your body may be gone I’m gonna carry you in, in my head in my heart in my soul”. With lyrics like that, it’s not surprising that a girl mourning her father latched onto it. I always think of my dad when I hear it and I sing the words as an ode to him. I use it in this podcast about death. Since I heard this song 10 odd years ago, I’ve always teared up when the opening chords begin. It’s Pavlovian at this point.
Still on music, the problem with watching amateur porn is that you sometimes come across a couple who have it in the background. I understand why it’s there. It’s a trick learnt early on, at a time when you couldn’t afford to rent your own place or a hotel room. Maybe the guy has a roommate, maybe the girl still lives at home. The romantic in you may say the music sets the mood for these couples who shirk off their inhibitions and let us in their bedrooms. But no one voluntarily fucks to the mumbling of Future. When looking for privacy, loud and jarring is the key to being shifty.
Whenever there’s music in the background of a video, I quickly move on to the next video. Much like the leaves piled on top of Nkwobi, you waste time picking out the strips of green bitterness instead of plunging your fingers straight into warm, spicy pieces of meat. One particular video started out like any other, normal people in normal underwear in a normally lit room. After the usual boring kiss-kiss, rub-rub, she’d started bending her head and then I heard it. “The ocean breathes salty won’t you carry it in, in your head in your mouth in your soul”. No no no…yanking my hand out my knickers and frantically tapping at the touchpad couldn’t save my ode to my dad. Who the hell fucks to this type of song? Fiends? Psychos? Hipsters?
Speaking of fiends, it’s been hard letting go of R Kelly’s music. I did about three years ago. Pee-peeing on children is a no. I can’t get rid of his voice or songs though. I grew up with every one of his songs played everywhere over and over. This repetition combined with being the person who supplants actual words with song lyrics – why talk when when you can sing?- leads me to R Kelly’s hometown of Chicago. Whenever I hear the name Chicago, Robert Kelly’s voice from When A Woman’s Fed Up comes in. I hear Chicago like he sings it in the line “She was raised in Illinois, Right outside of ChiCARRGO.” It’s fun but then I feel like I’ve just marched poto-poto. I still sing along to the Kirk Franklin song he’s featured in. Jesus sanitized that one.
Chicago and R Kelly are now intertwined much in the same way that certain songs remind me of certain people. Default’s Taking My Life Away reminds me of my sister, Mikky Ekko’s Who Are You Really of my friend Ohis, Staind’s So Far Away of my cousin Terna, Drake’s Over My Dead Body of the guy who took off the condom without telling me.
Music keeps people in my thoughts, for good or for bad. It is a powerful force. But you knew that already, didn’t you? From the unifying chant of Oooh Jeremy Corbyn to the…you get the idea.
I still tear up at the beginning chords of Ocean Breathes Salty. But the tears swiftly retreat as the sepia tones of that room seep into view and my sad thoughts are supplanted by skinny white people grappling with each other to the lulling sounds of Modest Mouse.
This is part of a series of blog posts Inspired by the structure of Matt Lucas’ autobiography “Little Me: My life from A-Z” where each chapter is based on a letter of the alphabet and his life.