Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cassette Review: Misery Loves Co. "Business As Usual" (Already Dead Tapes and Records)

Back in the 1990's, like most people, I was really into the band Soul Asylum.   I wasn't really a fan of their radio-friendly hit "Runaway Train" though because later on in life I would want to ride the rails as a hobo.   No, I liked their hard rocking sound mixed with depression.   So when they came to town- Toad's Place to be exact- and shot scenes for their music video for "Misery" you know I was there.    It was somewhat serendipitous.

Fast forward to 2017.   I'm sitting in an apartment surrounded by cats and I find a cassette called Misery Loves Co.   The first thing which pops into my head- as should with people of my age or nature- is "They say misery... looooves company..." and so on into the song.    It's funny how much our past really influences our present.

On this cassette what you have to understand is that I think of the term "misery" in the sense of depression and not depression in a sad way but in the medical condition way, i.e. the mental illness.    Somehow, through these songs we manage to hear various stages of depression or perhaps various incarnations of it is a better term.

Beginning with that acoustic guitar notes into singer/songwriter style we have what many people believe depression to be-- listening to a lot of Elliott Smith.   This is a nice sound so I'm willing to feel less bothered by the fact that I think it represents what most people think depression is: feeling sad.

The music shifts to a dark static.   Pained screams come through, but only barely.   It is neither loud nor heavy enough to have the impact of something that could be considered "metal", yet at the same time, there is an underlying violence to it.    As we go through all of the songs I feel like I'm watching a cartoon, that old Disney movie "Fantastia".    You see the notes, the words on the page in black and white and then they get up and start falling off into chaos.  In a word: madness.

And isn't that what depression really is?  Madness?  It's not being sad as much as it is losing ones mind.   But does this have anything to do with the music?   I suppose if you are willing to listen to something by an artist with the word "misery" in their name then you shouldn't expect this to be fun-happy-times filled with rainbows and balloons and birthday cake.    You might not have the same take on it as me, but no one may and that's the beauty of it.  

Listen to this.   Find what it means to you.   Use that however you can.  Now or twenty years from now (Has it been that long since "Let Your Dim Light Shine"?)   Spread the word so others can do the same.    Together we can make for a better world for individuals which will equal greater for the whole.

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