Tag Archives: indie rock

You Cried Me

Before I get into this week’s post, let’s talk about selling out. This is a tricky subject because I have previously lost interest in artists for what I had perceived to be them “selling out” but was really just them trying a new style that I wasn’t a fan of. It was unfair of me to accuse them of selling out. Artists are allowed to try new things for whatever reasons, even if we perceive the reasons as being that they wanted to change in order to appeal to a broader audience, even if that means losing you as a listener, because that’s their prerogative. And anyway, there are a MILLION other artists out there. And further still, you’re allowed to enjoy their older work, the stuff you perceive as being made for “you.” You’re still allowed to have that – so just enjoy it!

What about selling out commercially? Specifically, artists allowing their music to be used in advertising, for promotion of something other than their image. I mean, how shocked was everyone when Bob Dylan did that Chrysler commercial for the Super Bowl? I’ll admit I was, at least a little. However, I have no qualms about that either! I think an artist allowing their music to be used in a commercial is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Let me clarify. Have you ever heard a song in a commercial and just HAD to know who or what it was? Thanks to the Internet – especially YouTube, and let’s not forget Shazam! – we can find out! My first memory of such an experience was in high school. It was a commercial for Mitsubishi, though I can’t remember which one. Because one commercial featured “Just Breathe” by télépopmusik and another featured “Days Go By” by Dirty Vegas. Granted, this was some time before YouTube and especially Shazam existed, but I was relentless in hunting down the source of these songs I knew nothing about at the time. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to discover the songs and the artists and subsequently acquired the albums that defined my 2003.

But those will have to be album reviews for another post! Maybe another “Music That Made Me”? Because I can’t believe I left those out…

Anyway, there is a point to all of this! The point being that I made my latest discovery in this way thanks to a commercial for Nature Valley granola bars, of all things.

Hunting down the source of this song was easy enough. But apparently, the band is super duper indie! They don’t even have a Wikipedia page. They’re on a Wikipedia page for an indie record label that they are no longer associated with, however. It seems they can’t even decide whether they’re called Jookabox or Grampall Jookabox (I think it’s the former?). So now you’re asking if they even really exist!? Yes. Yes, they do. They even have a fun little video to go with the song!

This song is fun and a little silly and makes me want to run around. It’s like…Mumford & Sons getting drunk and messing around on their day off? It’s interesting because from what I’m hearing of the rest of the album that this song comes from (Dead Zone Boys), this is not actually their usual style at all. It’s kind of like how people really liked “Maps” and then heard the rest of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Fever to Tell and were confused (some were even upset, haha) when they found out it was mostly screamy garage-style alternative rock. I don’t know why I bring that up, it just amuses me. I need to go back and give a good listen to some more Jookabox.

One other thing I wanted to mention – just as an aside, it doesn’t really have anything to do with what this post is about – is that I have this silly little inner thought (a headcanon, if you prefer and are familiar with the term) that this song, though it’s a completely different artist (both musically and in the video) and genre…Got a little carried away with that sentence…In my own head, I like to think that this song is a sequel to “Ghost.” Again, not musically or artistically! But certainly lyrically. I’ve imagined a music video for it in my head – a little hobby of mine. Oh, if you liked or even know what “Ghost” was all about, give this one a listen and tell me you don’t think of Lewis and Vivi.

So anyway, here’s to selling out! Because, hey, you know what? If an artist can expose themselves to a new audience, if they can get more people excited to discover and buy their music because they happened to hear it in some random commercial – more power to them! I say there is nothing wrong with this sort of “selling out.” In fact, I wouldn’t even call it selling out at all! How about intelligent self-promotion? Because that’s really what I think of it as.

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That Time

I have this issue where I’ll really like an artist, but I don’t feel qualified to talk about them because I don’t have enough of their music. The reason for THAT being that I have an Amazon To-Buy List (Wish List, if you must) that consists of a few hundred albums, singles, EPs, and so on. I get into this dilemma every time I think that I should buy a new album but I’m not sure which one. It goes kind of like this:

“Okay! So I’m thinking of an album in such-and-such genre. Hmm. I HAVE been meaning to listen to more of artist A. Oooo, but album B by artist C is supposed to be really good. Oh man, and artist D just released album E, I should get on that. But I really like the songs by artist F on album G. And I know this isn’t the genre I started with, but I have been meaning to get album H FOREVER…”

And so on until I end up buying nothing because I don’t think I could live with myself if I got album B by artist C instated of album G by artist F. First world problems, am I right?

Anyway, the reason I bring all this up is because I’ve had this song on my mind:

And although I have only one album and a couple of random songs by Regina Spektor, I really, really like this one and I think it’s my favorite of hers (so far, but then I don’t know how many more out there could be better, and even then I couldn’t see myself liking this one any less).

Regina Spektor seems to dabble more in indie pop, her weapon of choice usually being the piano, so this song stands out to me for its use of simple dirty garage rock bass guitar and drums that strikes up at the beginning. It’s a very simple yet distinct sound, and Regina’s light and playful voice makes it even more fun to listen to. I especially love it when she lilts “So cheap and juicy!”

Lyrically, the song is so relatable to me, even if I never ate boxes of tangerines for a month, or knew someone who ODed (twice, even). This song just feels like sitting around and reminiscing about good (and bad) times. This song makes me want to invite my friends over for a night of beer and memories. Regina makes it feel like you know her and do remember when she would only read the backs of cereal boxes.

The video isn’t an official video (actually, there isn’t one), but it feels like it could be. You never really see anyone’s face (except once for a brief second when that man kisses her ankle) and that’s what makes it so perfect for the song. Just like the song makes you feel like you can relate to a bunch of random vague events, so does the video by never showing the face of the woman in pink heels or the people she knows or meets. It’s so well done, and all by some random person on YouTube 5 years ago! It’s got nearly 1 million views, so Regina Spektor fans seem to agree they’ve done something right!

I don’t think this song is a good introduction to Regina Spektor just because it is so different from her usual repertoire, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it. Seriously, give it a listen and see if it doesn’t make you feel a little fuzzy and nostalgic (and maybe happy-sad) on the inside. It’s a solidly satisfactory feeling in the end.

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