Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alkaline Trio - Clavicle

Clavicle - Alkaline Trio

We all have musical phases, and for me, none was more regrettable than my flirtation throughout my freshman year of college with Pop Punk.... I listened to them ALL. The good (Promise Ring), the bad (Less than Jake), and the ugly (Dashboard Confessional). I will argue that this trend was AT LEAST as bad as the abominable rap core movement that was in its last violent, spasming, bile vomiting, throes of death right at this time... with the All American Rejects and Yellowcard filling the Nero-esque role of Insane Clown Posse for the genre, fiddling (literally in the case of Yellowcard) while the whole scene burned to the grown.

As I will note in a more extensive post at some point, guilty pleasures are nothing to feel guilty about, only shit that you have to defend to hipster douchebags much more strongly than all the other non-hip stuff that you enjoy. Like any genre, no matter how detestable, there were redeeming acts that lurked under the shade of the pop punk umbrella. Aside from Fallout Boy who have really just become an arena rock band, the redeemers for pop punk in my mind are undoubtedly Alkaline Trio. At best, critics (read: hipster douchebags) are lukewarm for these guys which is something I really can't understand. The paired vocal stylings of Matt Skiba and Rob Doran simultaneously recall the rasp of Joe Strummer and the angst of Ian Curtis while sweetening up the goth rock formula that the Misfits kind of tried to work in between communal smack shooting sessions.

Clavicle embodies the Alkaline Trio formula... take something simple and seemingly normal and twist it just enough to get everyone's attention.* Clavicle does this with the love song/song about a crush formula. Since I am frightened by girls and generally have a great deal of difficulty and general failure in talking to them I can only hazard a guess that the reaction to the line, "I want to wake up naked next to you, kissing the curve of your clavicle" would follow the following stages: confusion --> entertaining the idea that it was sweet --> calling the court for a restraining order.** The truly impressive female reaction in my mind would be from the lady that listens on after this to hear the actually pretty romantic and totally realistic portrayal of the early days of a relationship that the guy can't help but be REALLY excited about. You know... you meet a girl, you are blown away by how cool she is, you have great conversations about everything, and then you spend the next weeks desperately trying not to fuck it all up (which, trust me, you will do anyway***). But all that is what makes this a kind of perfect love song... it acknowledges that insecurity but more importantly it honors the power of being so purely into someone that you bypass the big points of attraction (because they're a given) and start to be enamored of the insignificant things.

*a la Marcel Duchamp
** If you are indeed a girl reading this blog (unlikely), or are not paralyzed by fear of looking/sounding like a dick when approaching a girl (only slightly more likely) please add your two cents.
*** so it is written, so it shall come to pass

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