Sammy the Seal

“How she twists and twirls”

In vinyl on Thursday, 3 November, 2011 at 12:11

Song: Billy Liar
Artist: The Decemberists
Album: Her Majesty The Decemberists

My first ringtone casualty. I always thought it insulting, for me anyway, to have a song as a ringtone. Art subverted for the sake of accessorizing (read: insecurity). Pardon my cynical presumptions, but It’s like some music blogs, in that they seem to say “look at how hip I am” or “I know how to follow trends.” Of course, blogging in general requires a minimum degree of self-importance (wink wink), but music blogging seems to be more predisposed. It’s kinda predicated on being in the know. The need to define or validate oneself via musical tastes is more prevalent, thanks to the anonymity and visibility the Internet provides. Like Facebook and its devolution into “notice me now whether you want to or not, even if you wouldn’t have given me the time before.” If you like the song, listen to the entire song. It kinda ruins the song to reduce it to a sound blurb. Only a completely awesome song could withstand that.

Which happened here. That is to say, all this blather because this song is one of my alarms. I thought about it after I woke this morning, realizing that the song had lost much of its identity. It became mainly an alarm. When I would hear this, the chorus felt trivial and commercial. (To be fair, I haven’t listened to The Decemberists much on the whole the last couple of years.)

So now I’m trying to hear this on its own terms again. Jaunty little thing, it is. Hopefully I can appreciate the chorus again, as part of a whole rather than a ten-second loop. Appreciate those subtle backing vocals, the cymbal crashes before the chorus, and that cool little coda and its sweet ba-da’s.

(At least I stopped at three ringtones, all of which were bought long ago. There, now I’m guiltless.)


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