Staring At The Asphalt Wondering

I'll tell you why I missed this blog. It was exactly for moments like this week. This week, being Easter week, has involved time away from the drudgery of the morning cattle-train to work, the repetitive strain-inducing numskullery of the modern workplace and the sardine-esque commute home. So opportunity was taken to visit somewhere Lovely, this week being Oxford.

As Oxford was approached, the Park & Ride bus was left and we disappeared into the covered market for lunch at the wonderful little upstairs of Georgina's. Recommended for the film posters all over the ceiling as well as the very summary of Oxford life that passes through it's little door. When we entered, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers were playing. This was soon passed up, thankfully, for the more cerebral and atmospheric tones of Ben Gibbard as The Postal Service. The album was Give Up, and it commenced with The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.

And that, that is the reason why I missed writing a blog. Because where else would I have the opportunity to wax lyrical about a song from several years ago now, for no reason other than because I can? Here is where.The Postal Service were in fact relatively unfamiliar territory; this song was about the depths of my knowledge of the twosome. Which is curious, given the number of similar sounding acts that have floated my boat in the last year. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight is the sound of an emo icon mixing with electronica, to not entirely unsuccesful effect: it has that wordy, breathy, upfront vocal. It has the apparently disconnected, almost nonsensical lyrics that you'll find in any good example of the emo genre, and the bizarre middle-of-sentence pauses that characterise the style of singing. Rangy, I might call it.

But it also has a cute, detached guitar part, and glitchtronica beats courtesy of Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello. What sets it apart from everybody else is the glorious chorus. It makes no sense, of course - "You seem so out of context in this gaudy apartment complex" - but it doesn't matter. It soars, it lifts above the clatter and chatter of Georgina's at lunchtime.

I said I couldn't really explain why it'd taken me this long to get round to getting into the Postal Service: after all, this song could probably slot fairly easily into the last album by my beloved Clue To Kalo, and has similarities to the minimalist beauty of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. Emo buddies separated at birth, I have no idea. Lovely stuff the lot of it though.

The Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (Give Up, 2003)

1 comment:

Nate in Holloway said...

It's funny that you say that the lyrics to that song make no sense, because they are one of the things I like most about it. I know exactly the feeling he describes, visiting someone you know, maybe from uni, who now lives in a different city from you.