Newest Obsession

by: Sara Bozich
August 27, 2005

I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and I don’t know why, but today I took a pretty good nap, and I hope that helps.

Ten years ago, I was all into what I now call “old new-school punk rock.” You know, Green Day before the political message, Rancid, NOFX, The Cure — all kinds of things. Music was my outlet as a rebellious teenager; the lyrics had meanings that applied so appropriately to me (or so I was convinced) and the beats and rhythms got inside me and made me feel like the music was made just for me.

I went to shows and wore band tees and collected flyers and stickers and pins. I would’ve told you that music was my salvation, and I deeply meant it.

When I kindly grew out of this phase during college (my mother was just glad I started wearing nicer clothes), I realized I hadn’t listened to the radio in years. I was soon turned on to many new genres — most of which I lump into a category I just call “college music.”

College music was Sublime, Barenaked Ladies — I learned to tolerate Pearl Jam and Dave Matthews Band, but I’m still not a fan — Fuel (a band from home that I had shunned when I was here because I was too “punk rock”). It was also learning some hip-hop, classic rock and even some techno.

But essentially, I abandoned my connection with music. It became about listening to what made me feel good, what made me want to dance. We sang along and made up moves to the Backstreet Boys and memorized all of Billy Joel’s lyrics to “We didn’t start the fire.” We related to Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy,” and reveled in 80s classics.

Even since college, I maintained my disconnect with music. Used for fun and feel-good purposes only, I only listened to the radio. Even since I got XM Satellite radio in my car, I mostly listen to Chrome, the funk and disco channel.

I haven’t liked many local original bands because the common genre is hard rock, which does absolutely nothing for me, musical disconnect or not. It just sucks, and I stick by that.

Sure, some songs continue to develop their own meanings, or remind me of times, places, life. But I didn’t have that need for it like I once did. I learned to work without music, and sometimes in my car, I’d just forget to turn on the radio.

Something changed. In me, maybe. I don’t really know.

The first thing that truly shook me was viewing Green Day‘s newest video for “Wake me when September ends.” As I mentioned above, this is a band I loved 10 years ago when they sang about masturbation and getting high. The video, if you haven’t yet watched, you must. I almost had to turn it off.

The second thing — and the whole point of this tedious post — is that I got hooked on Death Cab for Cutie. As a huge O.C. fan, I’d heard of the band for awhile, and even noted that their popularity was beginining to soar. I was in the mood to try out some wuss rock, as I call it, and I saw a blog item linking to a leak of their latest album, out next Tuesday.

I sent it to my wuss-rock-loving friend, Paul (who, incidentally, is now a resident of the real O.C.), but he already had it, so I figured, what the hell, I’ll give ‘er a listen.

The first time around, I made fun of lyrics, and kept wondering what the big deal was — was I really supposed to wet my pants over this? I listened again, and some of it started to get into me. By the third listen, I was hooked, and I played it two more times.

Death Cab for Cutie is crack for my ears.

Categories: Music

8 thoughts on “Newest Obsession

  1. Amanda on said:

    They are playing Dickinson College in Carlisle on October 21. The excellent group “Stars” will be the opener (I would also highly recommend Stars’ album Set Yourself on Fire).

  2. E on said:

    Boz,
    Question, and yes I will admit I am an O.C. addict too, thank god I have Thursdays off from my writing gig to watch the news season hahah, anyways, do you think the O.C. ruins the “indy” stuff like Deathcab because they bring it into the mainstream with a hit TV show?
    I was a big fan of the show Six Feet Under (Alan Ball is a friggin genius), and they had some Deathcab on there, and my friend who I was watching the one episode with was like “Oh yeah, I know them from the O.C.”….and I immediately cringed and started to worry that the O.C. will ruin that college/indy style that is so good.
    Modest Mouse is another that has been on there a lot.
    I’m totally with you on the college stuff, we are about the same age, so I am with you on the Green Day stuff, they were incredible when “Dookie” dropped. I have been a Dave Matthews fan my entire life, so I can’t knock them, their music is just a little less lyrically mature (IE: more radio friendly and poppy) lately, but I still love them and won’t outgrow them. They are my Beatles.

  3. Sara on said:

    Actually, my theory on bands and “selling out” has always been that isn’t a band’s point of existence, or at least general hope, to be successful? How is educating a broader range of people to your music “selling out?” I’ve just never gotten it.
    Now, if the band changes its message or dumbs down its sound just to get appeal to a record exec — maybe that’s selling out.
    But look at Green Day – a prime example – in the late 90s they were attacked for “selling out,” and in 2005 they are again one of the top bands of the time, now with a mature voice, both musically and politically.
    So, I can say that I don’t think the O.C. will ruin indy music; it merely continues to provide a venue for musicians the producers already believe in. I never would have heard of Death Cab had it not been for that wonderful teen soap.

  4. E on said:

    I’ll buy into that theory.
    It’s a business, which is why I have no issues with DMB being used on CBS for the NFL promos. A lot of core fans (like me) are bitching about it on the DMB boards, but whatever. It’s about promotion, sure they do it more than they have in the past but (now being a fulltime working citizen, rather than a liberal beer money PSU student) I understand the importance of promotion and earning that cash.
    Viva la OC, but the Trey storyline needs to die, one way or another, on Thursday. If you would have said two years ago I was posting my thoughts on Ryan’s brother on a blog, I’d have said you’re nuts.

  5. Sara on said:

    Haha, no kidding. Maybe I should start a post on the OC itself …
    Oh, and the storyline is said to end on Thursday. I’ve been reading some spoilers. Let me know if you want a link.

  6. E on said:

    HELL YEAH I WANT SPOILERS….this is probably the only week I will skip it since the NFL starts Thursday night too. Decisions decisions.

  7. Dave on said:

    Hot Tip: More indie music along the lines of Death Cab, Modest Mouse to be heard here:
    http://www.woxy.com
    Enjoy!

  8. Josh on said:

    I’m glad that you’ve once again found music that speaks to your soul. I had a similar experience, listening to that list of bands in high school. College, however, only reinforced my love of music, as I found myself more able to travel to see shows. The genres I was listening to have changed dramatically several times since high school. I’ve covered jazz, funk, jam bands, bluegrass, various forms of electrnic music. Now, I’ve settled into a pretty strong love of many things indie (for lack of a better term), but I still revisit all my old favorites. Good music is universal and never goes out of style.

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