Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hardcore, but it does have a tendency to get a bit preachy at times. I’m a fairly socially conscious kinda guy, so usually they’re just preaching to the converted (unless it’s NYHC, in which case it just doesn’t really matter to me either way how hardcore everyone in New York is). When I feel like I need a break from all this seriousness but still want to punish my eardrums, I turn to my favourite musical juxtaposition – bands that write beautiful lyrics and then scream them at you in a really ugly way.
Here are a few of my current favourites…
I Hate Myself – Caught In A Flood With The Captain Of The Cheerleading Squad
Although it’s generally accepted that I Hate Myself existed at least in part to poke fun at other emo band’s tendencies towards melodrama, that doesn’t mean they didn’t write some great songs with some equally great lyrics. This particular song is taken from the band’s one and only album Ten Songs, which was released in 1997 (yeah, we had emo back then kids, we all dressed like librarians and spoke very quietly). It eases us gently into the premise of this article, as the first half isn’t screamed at all.
How’s your bell-curve?
Mine’s right-skewed average low. Very low.
And the river – she has grown very high.
Fell from the sky.
And I’m wasted on cancer and bible school – not like you.
Yeah, you’re wasted, full and drunk from too much rain
And pain and anger at tumors like me.
If it would make you comfortable, I’d jump out of this tree,
Or maybe we could get married and be happy.
These few words could be the last we ever speak.
Do you think, maybe, you could love me or like me maybe?
Maybe you’d look at me, you’d talk to me,
We could marry, live in this tree.
But it’s unlikely. You don’t like me,
And I don’t like me, and it’s unlikely.
Okay, like I said, they were a bunch of piss-takers (be thankful I didn’t pick Conversation With Dr. Seussicide) and maybe these aren’t exactly the soft prose you were expecting but that last line, “You don’t like me, and I don’t like me, and it’s unlikely” gets me every time – the best things come in threes.
Cutting Pink With Knives – Coasts
So, those of you not already aware of hardcore pop group Cutting Pink With Knives are probably raising an eyebrow right now. So too may some of you who are. Brutal as the instrumental side of their new album Populuxxe may be, with is barrage of synth noise and guitar riffs, the lyrics deal with love and physics (not always but often at the same time). Picking out a favourite set of lyrics was actually pretty difficult, but I’ve decided to go with Coasts because it was the song that actually inspired me to write all this in the first place.
The quiet motions
Of night time swimmers
If we push against currents we’ll leave a mark of the surface
Of all the oceans we’ve ever touched,
They’ll remember the shape of our bodies
“If it’s the ocean, or if it’s the sea
I always keep water close to me”
f-a-i-n-t s-p-a-r-k-s, yeah
Through the sand
And guide you along the sea
They fill your eyes
As the water warms your heart
Fuckin’ poetry, eh?
Rolo Tomassi – Seagull
Sticking with Holy Roar Records (also home to Cutting Pink With Knives) and with the seaside theme, we move on to Rolo Tomassi. Their fusion of hardcore, synthcore, jazz, doom metal and whatever else is lying around the place is as exciting as it is nightmarish. If this wasn’t all about lyrics then I’d post their fantastic instrumental C Is For Calculus, but it is, so check these out…
Like a grain of sand in time you will disappear
Lost amongst its wreckage and misery
And you hope to swim away from these
Or be drowned below seagulls hunting in the breeze
Every sunken ship is a tuneless score
Bottled messages beg to find their way to shore
I’ve saved these for last because Rolo Tomassi have the harshest delivery of the three bands. Harsh, yes, but not one mention of governments being corrupt, hurting animals being evil, or society being up shit creek. I am refreshed, invigorated and once again ready to face the world.