32. “White is Red,” Death From Above 1979

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You can’t listen to this song. This song is mine. All mine. You can’t have it. You couldn’t handle it, anyway. No, seriously, log out of Spotify or YouTube or Apple Music or whatever you’re using to listen to it. Right now. This song is not for you. It’s for me. Only me.

You know, I’m not entirely joking. I remember, only a month or two ago, sitting in the car and this song came on the radio. It was the first time I’d heard it on the radio, after being in love with it for months since I got Death From Above 1979’s amazing The Physical World album. When I heard it broadcast to the general public like that for the first time, I felt this really powerful emotion – something like jealousy. I didn’t like that potentially thousands of people were hearing that song. That song was mine.

I’m all for the communal power of music, how a concert or even a sing-along can generate a joy that’s shared by large groups of people. I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about music.

But you all can’t have this song.

Something happened to me the first time I heard it, and it happens to me every time since. It’s like on Seinfeld when Elaine’s boyfriend hears “Desperado/Witchy Woman” and he stares off into space while Elaine is talking and says, “Elaine, could you just not talk for one minute?”

The other day when this popped up on shuffle, prompting me to write this, I was walking in the Eaton Centre, surrounded by tourists and shoppers and other people, like me, on their lunch break. Just hordes of people. And I didn’t even want to see any of them. Like Elaine’s boyfriend, I looked away, I trained my sights above, on the iconic goose sculptures hanging from the ceiling. I didn’t want to see people’s faces as I walked through the mall.

That’s because, when it comes to my favourite songs, I’m deathly afraid of hearing them in a situation that might cause some sort of negative or otherwise unwanted association with that song. Often, I don’t even want to see the video. And if one of them happens to be in a commercial, forget about it, I have to close my eyes.

Memories attach themselves so easily and strongly to songs, that’s the whole theme of this blog, so I don’t want something leeching onto a great song and sucking all the awesomeness out of it. Frankly, I don’t even want to remember walking through the mall looking at goose sculptures the next time I hear this song. But what was I supposed to do? Turn it off? Not an option.

I have a playlist of my favourite songs of all time and this is the newest song on it. That’s no small feat. Prior to that, in the last 10 years, I’d only added three new songs to it (someday I’ll post the list to the blog’s Not Necessarily Top 10 Lists section). As with most of my favourite songs, I don’t even know why I like it. Not logically, anyway. And, like most of my favourite songs, it doesn’t really remind me of anything (other than the stupid Eaton Centre, now), which is completely antithetical to the MO of this blog. There are all these songs I really like that remind me of things and I’ve blogged about them, but then there are my favourite songs, which remind me of nothing. I’ve written about two of my other faves on here: “Simplicity Is Beautiful” and “Little Wing.” And I had a similarly hard time crystalizing their meaning to me. I just love them. And you’re not allowed to. So don’t click play on the YouTube link below. (Okay, okay, you can listen to it. Just make sure you stare off into space while you do it. And, to tell you the truth, I haven’t even watched the video. I’m afraid to.)

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3 thoughts on “32. “White is Red,” Death From Above 1979

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