So the normal premise of the Back in the Day series is to wax nostalgic about a bygone era, reminiscing about whatever thing it is that motivated us at one point or another in our lives to do what we do. For my money, that’s usually an opportunity to review something that influenced me musically, or that had a direct impact on my development in some way. Maybe it changed my perspective socially (cough*Rob Pennington*cough). Maybe it showed me the importance of restraint and dynamic change (Slint, The Telephone Man). That’s what this series does. It gives us a platform to review something that changed our world in way or another, typically of a full album.
That’s not what this is. I was all onboard with Hedge, but my primal mind could not handle the blues rock of Out. I didn’t get it. I didn’t see what the fuss was about. I hadn’t heard bands like The Birthday Party or The Jesus Lizard at that point that mutated that kind of blues thing in a comparable way. That’s not to say that I never liked the band -they fucking ripped- but that for whatever reason they just never stuck with me. This is all meant as both a qualification for my knowledge, and a preface to the fact that I’m going hard on one song, which is uniquely appropriate today.
The fourth song on the record, Sing While The World Sinks, is more apt than ever today. That’s what we’re doing now isn’t it? Commiserating our future. Not everyone reading this will agree. Not everyone will get down with a message -at least the message I’m reading into it (you never know)- so hyperbolic, ripe with a melancholy that I felt was long jettisoned. But that’s okay. You don’t have to. Let’s be clear: this is about Trump and this is my anthem today. I’m singing in the face of despair. I won’t let this pile of wet medical waste and his team of skull farmers take away my joy. I will stand up against intolerance in any way that I can. I will not lose my empathy. I will work to help those less fortunate.
Maybe this isn’t for you. Maybe this isn’t what you need. Maybe you want to bust out something heavy. Maybe, despite having an incoming administration that is actively working to diminish the availability of art in the world, you agree with him somehow, and you might want a victory song. That’s on you, and I’m not sure what we have to say, but I’ll be happy to say it if you need. We can talk. This isn’t some kumbaya bullshit, but goddamn if I didn’t just wake riled today. And almost two decade later, I think I finally get Out. So at least there’s that.
Listen below and be prepared.