Elevator Music: Two New Songs

Today, I legally downloaded the first single, Boy 1904, from Sigur Ròs frontman Jónsi Birgisson’s side project with his lover Alex Somers, listened to it, and found the absolute nadir of ambient music.  

It’s easy to see why people like Sigur Ròs; it’s absurdly beautiful music that’s also essentially meaningless.  The lyrics are sung in a nonsense language made up by Birgisson, meaning uptight parents don’t have to worry about the band spreading any messages dealing with Satan, vegetarianism, or gay lifestyles, no one has to worry about getting the words wrong (it’s all phonetic anyway), and no one has to bother looking for any artistic message whatsoever.  The good thing is that this it’s pure pleasure music, and thus pretty listenable.  Boy 1904 is listenable too.  But what makes it so much worse than Sigur Ròs is that it’s pretty much the same thing they always do; anthemic melody stretched out and slowed down, but never to mind-boggling lengths.  The Ramones had more complexity than this.  There are no layers to this music; repeated listening doesn’t reveal anything at all.  

What strikes me most about it is how it’s even more meaningless than the usual stuff from the group; it features a recording of the last castrato singer, which doesn’t add anything to the song (Jónsi sounds like his balls were cut off anyway), the title doesn’t even pretend to be something in Icelandic, and worst of all, it’s treated to sound like some old record.  The song wants the air of something antiquated and epic, but it just rings false.  The album, Riceboy Sleeps should be more of the same.

Right after that song finished, my iTunes library switched to “If I Ever Feel Better” by Phoenix, which has pretty fluffy lyrics and might be just as meaningless.  But it’s infinitely better than Boy 1904, simply because it has a beat.  

 

AIR has a new song out too, from their upcoming album Love 2; like Boy 1904, it follows the same pattern, but it’s a hell of a lot more successful, simply because AIR is more fun to listen to than Sigur Ròs.  Do The Love even indulges in B-movie synths and the cheesiest vocoding effects these Frenchmen have used yet.  It’s an immensely enjoyable and lightweight track.  

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