Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Accidentally Liking Travis

A terrible thing happened to me recently. I accidentally liked a Travis song.

It happened like this. I was listening to the sample CD from my favourite monthly music magazine,
Paste. I like to listen to the CD blind a few times before I read the magazine itself, which often features many of the artistes on the disc. You know, so I’m not prejudiced against a band with a stupid name, like Umphrey’s McGee. And that way, if I like any particular song, I can take the time to read about the band. If not, I can skip the interview or featurette and save a few minutes of my precious life.

Track 4 seemed a little familiar. I might have heard it on the radio a few weeks back while driving around England. It was highly derivative, very 80s, post-indie, melodramatically sung, and catchy. I found myself flicking back to track 4 on the car CD player to hear it again. I started to warble along like an abandoned teenager.

Finally, I looked on the disc to see who the mystery artiste was. Travis. Fucking Travis.

This might not seem a serious matter to you. But back in around 2002 I was in London and saw Travis on some kids’ tv programme performing a few songs, and they seemed to represent everything that was wrong with…oh, I don’t know. The modern world? Youth today? Kids’ tv programmes? What was I doing watching kids’ tv programmes anyway? Still, they were feckless and twee, and the only ideas they had were nicked from all the bands I’d liked 15-20 years earlier, and then battered into chart-ready submission. Or so I ranted to a few people at the time, none of whom looked remotely interested or impresssed by my incisive cultural analyses.

I can describe what it’s like discovering that you like a song by Travis. It’s like eating a succulent, perfectly spiced pot roast and then being told it’s your pet dog. It’s like waking up from an erotic dream involving Isabelle Adjani to find that you’ve been sleepwalking and are naked in the street with your tumescent manhood entrenched in the arse of the rotting raccoon that was knocked over by a truck three days earlier. Possibly worse.

At first I went into denial. I didn’t really like the track at all. Then maybe, I reasoned, they’d made a good song by accident – with all that time and money spent in the studio, a congress of Chacma baboons would have eventually done the same. Then I tried listening to the song so often that I thought I would start to hate it. Tragically, that hasn’t worked.

Bugger me. I’m not hip after all.


Any major dude with half a heart said...

Ha! What Travis song was it?

I've written a review about Travis' new album (unpublished in print so far, and therefore unsubbed. I will need to edit it before publication, I think). I'll paste it here for your pleasure. It's not a positive review, I'm afraid (and I hope you take that better than my son took my review of R&B "sensation" Ne-Yo).

Thing is, I'm the inverse to you. I liked a few Travis songs. Never was a fan, but the occasional Travis song was fine by me. "Driftwood", I liked that one. And that hymn to self pity (ask a fucking drought-stricken Mauritanian if he feels sorry for it raining on anybody). Maybe I'm getting hipper in proportion to you getting unhipper...

Anyway, the review:


I do try to write considered reviews, trying to find something hopefully interesting to say.

So, this afternoon I went to a suit-hire place to rent a tuxedo for a ball I am attending on Saturday. I've been to the place before, so the tailor there has my measurements on computer. However, since last year I've shed 5kg, so I was hoping to go for a size 32 trouser, instead of the 34 from last time. Hell, I ended up with a size 35. Go figure.

My son is going to sleep over at my sister-in-law's. She lives 25km away from us, so it'll be two bloody long roundtrips. But he didn't fancy sleeping over at his friend Justin's or Thabo's or Kevin's, so we'll have to indulge his wishes.

Also today my dearest friend flew of to Austria and France for a week. We haven't got together for a bit, so it's not like I'll be missing my friend.

Oh, and I've employed a new guy to replace a previous staffer who emigrated (her final words to me were: "And you most of all, Scarecrow", which fair brought a tear to my eye. I'm a lovable boss!). Anyway, the new staffer is very competent, but I don't think his deodorant works too well. I will have to find a way to make him aware of that.

Oh yeah, Travis' new album. Put it like this, the previous four paragraphs are infinitely more rivetting than this dullfest which sucks not only the "cite", but also the "ex" and "ment" out of the word excitement.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

Hey there, AMDWHAH, the song in question is 'Closer'. You're probably going to tell me it's a disgustingly huge worldwide mega-hit and that I'm going to hear it on every radio station everywhere for the rest of my life. I feel like that would be just punishment. I am happy to report that the song is finally losing its appeal. I'm over it. I'm going back to my old alt country/indie fare, if they'll have me.

Any major dude with half a heart said...

Yeah, "Closer" is a bit of a hit. Crap hit, though.

With your affection for the utterly wonderful Mindy Smith and Rosie Thomas et al, you might want to check out Kate Walsh's "Tim's House" album. Another woman with a guitar I'll have to marry.