out of egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and i shake the dirt from my sandals as i run

Saturday, January 14, 2006

in defense of the self

My old, dead ipod held 5 gigs, which meant that for the last 3 years or so I spent a lot of time listening to a fraction of my music. The best thing about my new one is turning out not to be the video feature, but my sudden reaquaintance with a lot of music I sort of forgot about.

Self was a band I started listening to some 5 or 6 years ago, and my love for them was large. By the middle of sophomore year of college they weren't anywhere in the 950 recently played songs, though, so they no longer fit on my ipod. Unfortunate, yeah, but it was a good way to force myself to get rid of dashboard confessional. Sort of a baby/bathwater thing. Sort of.

Here's the basic story with Self: they're only a band in the sense that Bright Eyes, or Cat Power, or Iron and Wine, or (guh) Nine Inch Nails are bands - get it? It's a "project". Really just a guy named Matt Mahaffey; he made an album in 1995, an EP in 1997, and two albums for Dreamworks in 1999 and 2000. He supposedly recorded another album, but it hasn't been released or heard, probably because Dreamworks no longer exists as a record company. Gizmodgery, the 2000 album, was made entirely with toy instruments, but (so?) Breakfast With Girls, from 1999, is his best.

Self - Uno Song

Self's lyrics are so-so, which is what makes it difficult for smart people to like. I tried for so long to understand the Uno metaphor, but it just doesn't make sense. His strength is as a producer. Listening to this song on your computer speakers is like looking at a thumbnail of a photo, and you have to ipod it to really get how fun it is. If I knew anything about the way music was produced, and I do not, I would have some insight into why I like this, but I do not.

Self - What Are You Thinking?

This is the centerpiece of Breakfast With Girls, which makes it maybe their best song. It isn't structured as simply as most of his other songs (versechorusverse), and its lyrics are almost really good. It's gotten better every time I've listened to it, which iTunes says is 10 times, but I know the truth is far more embarrassing. It's definitely a headphone song. And it has strings! If you don't like this, you probably don't like Self, which is okay, it just means you were probably not a teenage boy once.

in conclusion, isn't that an intense subject line?


Anonymous Lucid Sam said...

I'm going to argue that Subliminal Plastic Motives is the best album buy Self. Because when Fire Meets Powder...you get some happy little rock songs!!!

1/15/2006 6:12 PM

Blogger Ben said...

Sucker is my fave of s'ss songss

1/27/2006 1:06 PM


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