A one hitter (with no hits)


Just a super quick post tonight as I drudge through hour 10 of a night shift at the hospital. It's nights like this, where time seems to move slower and all you can hear are the occasional buzzes and bleeps of machinery, that I see the one mistake I may have made by heading into a career in nursing: NO MUSIC.

Between this station in my life and the previous one where I played advertising copywriter, I found jobs at record stores in Chicago and Omaha. While the retail environment is definitely not for my personality (I have a short fuse when it comes to stupidity, and retail is littered with it. . . hell, thrives on it), the greatest thing about working in both of those stores was that -- no matter how bad my day got -- I was still listening to something I loved (most of the time).

At the last record store where I worked, Drastic Plastic, you could pretty much play whatever you wanted. Obviously, playing the music sold in the store was ideal, and we usually did because our store was set up for music snobs. The store prior to that was not so user friendly. It was independently owned, yet corporate in nature and size, so the soul the place probably had one or two decades prior had been sucked out and replaced by the thumping, bloodless organ of commerce. The owners were more strict about the music played in the store.

Luckily for me, as one of the night managers, once the owners left in the middle of the day, out came all of the required music and in went dozens of mix CDs I made for the place. The employees, for the most part, brightened up, especially once they realized they didn't have to listen to bad modern Gospel and white boy blues for the rest of the night. A lot of the customers appreciated the change, too. I remember one guy walking in with his girlfriend, stopping dead in his tracks, and exclaiming, "Who the fuck listens to Versus here?!"

The other night I began assembling songs for a future post on some of my favorite instrumentals. As I compiled my list, I came across a song that brought back memories of working in that store. And it wasn't that I was sitting there thinking, "Oh man, what a great song. Everyone in the store must have loved this one." On the contrary.

Imagine you're Joe Average Music Buyer. You're wandering around in a daze at a store somewhat like Tower Records or, hell, even something as lame as Sam Goody. Maybe you're looking for the new Dave Matthews, or the new Kelis, or a copy of that new Tommy Lee Jones DVD (we sold a lot of Tommy, so I'm not pulling that one out of my ass).

And then you hear this:



What would you do if you were in Joe Average Music Buyer's shoes? Don't get me wrong, the song is completely mindblowing and gorgeous. . . but it doesn't exactly make you want to spend your savings on that Incubus CD you've had your eyes on (nor should it). If you're Joe Average Music Buyer, you probably run for the hills from the onslaught of classical music colliding with bombastic orchestral indie/prog rock. You certainly don't peel off a 10 spot and buy the brilliant Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada EP that hosts this and one other equally mesmerizing track.

Of course, it's also great because Godspeed You Black Emperor! pretty much despise the music industry, so I'd bet the boys in the band would get a good laugh knowing that this song probably drove an entire megastore of customers mad as it slowly, over the course of almost 12 minutes, grew to that explosive crescendo.



sh said...

Dylan, either my browser is broken, or your link is. Either option is making me sad right now, because I really wanted to listen to that track before bed.

Dylan Gaughan said...

Thanks for the heads up, sh. The link is now working.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh Madison, WI.... Can't remember the name of the store that photo is from, but damn I loved that place... It's 10 years (and MANY beers) ago so cut me some slack... Great place though. I can't tell you how many times I walked in there "on my way to class" and ended up buying new music and then went promptly to the Union and sat on the terrace drinking and watching the lake with the new tunes in my ears... If you don't know what I'm talking about...you don't know...

Chelsey said...

I used Moya as the backing track to a narrative essay about the book Frankenstein in my english class in college. Lets just say i made everyone in that class look uncomfortable.
It was the most wonderful moment ever. That song makes me feel like a bad person with a beautiful heart.