Monday, May 17, 2004

Through the storm, we reach the shore.

  • Bauchklang "With or Without You" (U2 cover)
    I'd be lying—a lot—if I said acapella songs didn't totally freak me out. I find them creepy in a way that I'm sure no one could possibly understand since I don't quite understand it myself. Perhaps some regression hypnotherapy might reveal that as a child I was molested by a barbershop quartet, but that seems highly unlikely. Whatever. All I know is that I look upon acappella covers the same way I look upon shows like Showbiz Moms & Dads, Fear Factor and The Swan: with shock and horror that they exist but simultaneously with the incapacity to turn away from them because I desperately crave to engulf myself in their utter sadness. Subsequently, I then feel better about myself for having survived it.

    Bauchklang bills itself as a "vocal groove project," which of course gives me the creeps, calling to mind the "cool enough to get high, but not cool enough for anything else" brand of ex-band/choral dork—like this guy I vaguely knew in college who wore a pocket protector and who was always trying to get someone to "jam" with him. But, actually—and I can't believe I'm saying this—they seem pretty cool. At least for an avant-garde Austrian vocal group that sounds, in parts, almost like electronica. (Heh. Electronica. Even the mention of it amuses me. It's sooooo '90s.) If I were in Europe and found out Bauchklang were playing, I'd definitely go. Especially if getting high first were an option.

    Still, there's something irksome about it. In fact, I've created this reality in my head in which I'm in Austria as a foreign exchange student and I get really hooked on Bauchklang. All the cool kids in the little Austrian village I'm in are obsessed with Bauchklang. I begin throwing them into all of my conversations simply because I love the guttural sound of it. When I return to the States, I rave to everyone about Bauchklang endlessly. My American friends get sick of it. About a year later, Bauchklang tours the States. I get tickets for me and my friends, convinced that they'd love Bauchklang if only they could see the band's live show. As the show starts and the band begins its introductory "vocal groove project," it dawns on me that I've just brought my hip American friends to the musical equivalent of the Blue Man Group. They immediately ostracize me. I spend years in therapy thereafter, lamenting the demise of my hipster clique. I'm in my mid-40s and I have five cats. When no one else is around, which is almost always, I still sometimes listen to Bauchklang ... and I cry.

    Hahaha. I'm talky tonight. And insane.

    You love it.

    Also: "With or Without You" is lyrically void. If the hooks weren't as sweet and catchy as they are and if Bono's voice didn't sound so damned earnest, it would likely have rivaled "We Built This City" for the No. 1 position on that Blender poll no one—myself included, apparently— can seem to stop talking about.
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