25. Loony tunes
September 14th, 2020
Devin Davis’ Lonely People of the World, Unite! was released in 2005 but feels oddly appropriate for the current moment, being a concept record about the very lonely: lonely animals, lonely people, lonely landmasses. It’s part Kinks, part Guided by Voices, part Neutral Milk Hotel. It’s rollicking ACME-brand power-pop stuffed with enormous hooks. (How many records that music critics call ‘rollicking’ actually rollick sufficiently? I don’t have the numbers with me, but I’m guessing not enough.) It’s a Who Framed Roger Rabbit mix of the real and the cartoonish, with ribcage xylophones and injured birds crying in capital letters.
It is, you might have gathered, a lot—but that’s the joy of it. “Does it have horns?” you might ask. Did you forget who is writing this newsletter? Of course it has horns. Vast, sassy phalanxes of them.
It was probably over a decade that I last listened to this record. This week I was delighted to find it had finally been made digitally available earlier this year, and unsurprised to discover that I remembered every single lyric. I inhaled songs from this record as they skipped across the surface of every prominent mp3 blog in the mid aughts, back when the words ‘mp3 blog’ didn’t sound like ‘fax machine penny farthing’.
The final three songs are what I’ve been playing on repeat for most of this week, though. Much like the medley that ends Abbey Road, you can’t just listen to one song, nor can you futz with the sequence. It’s morning, noon, and night—in that order. Appetiser, entrée, and dessert. Blade, Blade II, and Blade: Trinity. What sort of lunatic listens to ‘Golden Slumbers’ and then just.. stops? Unthinkable. The protagonist in ‘Giant Spiders’, faced with the oncoming apocalypse, “won’t sit still ‘til [they’re] upside down in the back of your eyes.” In ‘The Choir Invisible’ they march into oblivion and fireworks (presumably arm in arm with George Eliot) until they wash up on the shore in ‘Deserted Eyeland’, thankful to be above ground—alone, but at least alone with the loners.
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