Car Seat Headrest: a dialogue

“This is something you can listen to and know it’s good, and you can sing along with the two lines you know and then wait five minutes while you do something else and sing those two lines again. Like two days ago, I was walking from mum’s house in Brighton to the sea via the station and back again, and I was listening to this song, singing along every five minutes.”

Teaching, I have long since argued that love for a particular piece of music, a song, has little to do with the song itself but the context you hear the song within. The reason you might dislike Car Seat Headrest and love Pavement, say, or Autohaze or one of those glorious independent bands we used to write about on Collapse Board during the early 2000s but whose name escapes me, has little to do with the music or production values. How could it? It’s much more down to the cut of the singer’s suit, his geek glasses. Or your age, say. The build up is the build up remains the same.

“While doing art, I normally leave Car Seat Headrest on quite a long time. I have a playlist of their songs on Spotify that I work my way through. It’s an acrylic painting of two clocks layered over each other which is taking quite a long time to do. Probably the best couple of examples are ‘Cosmic Hero’ and ‘Fill In The Blank’ (I’m going to check that’s right), there are a couple of notable lines – the chorus ‘I won’t go to heaven/You won’t go to heaven’, and “Can you kick his ass for me?’. which is really annoying to get on time when you’re singing along.”

Thing is, part of me is revulsed by my reaction to this: that I am so easy to predict: while another part of me is pleased that I can overcome my repulsion (cue Dinosaur song) and once again enjoy music that I’ve enjoyed for so long. Something to do with the way the guitars are being shaken, and blurred. BUT: I’ve mislaid my friends, the people who made this music mean so much to me. Where have my friends gone? Without my friends, what is the point of this one-sided dialogue. Shorn of context and shared connotations, I am guessing the main reason I like this is because I layer my own associations over the top which may well have nothing to do with either the band or the piece of music in question. Does this matter?

Darling, won’t you cut my hair?

“I was talking to someone on line and music came up, and we both recommended each other some bands we liked – they recommended me a few specific songs from Car Seat Headrest. I don’t think I recommended any bands in particular, just a couple of Nirvana songs I liked at the time – like ‘Dumb’ – and ‘Bisexual’ by GRLwood. I’d recently started listening to music a lot more again, and discovered GRLwood. This is the first music I’ve heard in the individual genre they’re in, indie rock. It’s somehow laidback, but with quite loud guitars as well.”

Do you know anything about the band? Like, where they’re from?

“No. I read something about a band being from Seattle, and it might be about them.”

One thought on “Car Seat Headrest: a dialogue

  1. Pingback: How NOT to write about music – 170. GRLwood | How NOT to write about music

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