Friday, August 14, 2009

#138. 'You don't deserve this'

And thus ends the lowest tier of the list. I didn't necessarily plan it this way, but some of the points I've been making in the last few posts collide nicely for this particular entry. Jet Set Satellite were one of Canada's bigger flash in the pans of the decade, although apparently they managed a follow up hit to "Best Way to Die" in "Baby Cool Your Jets" so calling them a one hit wonder might be a bit less than accurate. The song doesn't traffic much in dynamics, especially the vocals, my placing it on the list is fueled by nostalgia and it's hardly known outside of Canada. Basically I could cherry pick passages from all the posts I've made up til now and call it a new review, but I'm assuming those reading this (all 8 of you) expect better from me. And even if you don't, here it comes anyway.

I remember vividly a discussion me and a few friends had in math class on day about this song. It was mostly based on the idea that the purpose one-hit wonders serve is to leave behind one absolutely kick-ass song and then just fuck right off and never disrupt that legacy, which is an interesting theory but also one that depends on a much more arbitrary view of one-hit wonders than I have now. Of course the fact that we were having this discussion before Jet Set Satellite even released their second single meant that we were kind of getting our hopes up for the band's one-hit wonderdom, but like "Gotta Tell You" there was just this aura about "Best Way to Die" that all but screamed at us not to worry about anything the band did later, this was where the best stuff would be. And who were we to say differently? As far as most of us were concerned this was a prime slice of rock n roll. Oh to be 14 again...

I considered doing the rest of this from my 14 year old mentality, but thought the better of it. Needless to say that at that point I wasn't the most articulate or discerning music fan. I knew what I liked but I couldn't exactly say what it was that made me like it more or less than anything else I liked. 14 year old me loved this though. He loved pretty much everything about deep analysis necessary. It was a simpler time for me, and the fact that something like this stood out makes sense: it was heavy enough to appeal to the side of me that bought Limp Bizkit albums the previous year (shut up, I was 13 years old,) melodic enough to satisfy the side of me that was developing a slight obsession with The Bends and popular enough that I could find it on Napster mach 1. It's one of those odd crux songs that manages to give you a snapshot of my musical sensibility at the time: somewhat in transition from nu-metalhead to broader horizons but not quite there.

The thing here is that it's also a song that plays better in memory than in the present. I remember the song fondly, it being one of the last vestiges of actual personality on the radio airwaves before the ascent of Kroeger and company, but when I hear it nowadays its flaws are much more apparent. I admire the way it rides one riff through both verse and chorus, only changing up for the bridge, but the riff itself isn't much to sneeze at. The vocalist seems to have only one setting, and that setting is well into the melodramatic end of the spectrum. I still find it catchy, but I can't quite figure out why. It's a good song for sure, but I remember it being a great song, one of the best songs to make it big in 2000. In my initial ranking this was a lot higher up, but hearing it again (and listening to it while writing this post) made it hard to justify that placement. I still think it deserved a spot, if only to highlight how much 14 year old me loved it, but I didn't want to force some songs that were legitimately better down further to highlight that.

Really that's the summation of this lower tier: it's songs that I want to highlight in some way despite the fact that they aren't necessarily 'best of the 00s' material in any broader scope. They are all songs I like a lot on some levels, but not enough to really think twice about them in a broader scope. If I'd thought harder while making the list I'm sure I could have come up with 13 songs that might crowd these out, but it would still feel a bit wrong to leave them off.

Coming up tomorrow: How a single line can turn a song from overly dramatic shit to hilarious self deprecation or is it ironic appreciation or just appreciation of irony?

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