Friday, December 4, 2009
#28. 'You're watching TV, I stay up all night'
Death From Above 1979 "Romantic Rights"
Is "Romantic Rights" dance music for metalheads or metal music for dance afficionados? Is it either? I remember the first time I heard it my first thought was that it sounded like a theoretical future where The Jesus Lizard decided to make a disco song, then my second thought was how awesome it would be if that actually happened and thus how awesome Death From Above 1979 were at that moment. This was right around the time that I was starting to get a bit burnt out on the explosion of dance-punk also-rans that started to pop up in the wake of The Rapture, all so concerned with paying enough homage to their forebears that they forgot to bring enough hooks and talent to the party to really engage me. DFA79, on the other had, didn't seem concerned with doing anything but making the heaviest disco track to ever exist, and in the process conjured up the perfect antidote to the sea of Rapture-alikes out there. "Romantic Rights" was a force of nature in the early days, the song I'd go out of my way to hear as often and as loudly as I dared without ever feeling that I'd get sick of it. Five years on that still hasn't happened.
It's weird that something so fundamentally simple could have that effect on me. All that there really is to "Romantic Rights" is a succession of grungy - as in the sound not the "genre" - bass lines underpinned by some hi-hat heavy drumming and overlayed with some basic vocals, but something about is utterly addictive. It probably comes down to the drums yet again as Sebastian Grainger's upbeat, disco-infused drum beat is so propulsive and effortlessly danceable - and I say that as a mid-twenties white male with no sense of rhythm - that it absolutely makes the song in my mind. That's not so shortchange Jesse Keeler's bass playing and occasional synth burbles though, as between that raunchy tone his bass has and the subtle interplay with Grainger's drums - check out the off-beat syncopations of the final chorus - he acquits himself just as well as his bandmate. There's nothing too complex or twisty here, but the straightforwardness and simplicity of it do so much more for the overall song than those qualities, qualities I generally prefer to hear in songs, would ever dream of doing.
So for such a simple song, you get a simple review. No point in drawing this out any more, just listen to the damn song and imagine it taking the place of "House of Jealous Lovers" on every other singles list to come out this decade. It's much better if you do that.