Wednesday, March 09, 2011

30-Day Music Challenge: A Song that Reminds You of Somewhere

This will go fast. It's late, and I'm tired. But I love this song, and it's a location spike of total precision and clarity for me.

I spent a couple of weeks in England four or five years ago, and found myself enchanted by the noir grayness that enveloped much of it. There was also the deep sense of history that rose from it and clung to you like so much humidity.

Being a hard-core Anglophile I could summon up a lot of songs that make me think of certain aspects of Merry Olde. But sometimes one band captures the spirit of a place better than anyone or anything else can. Want to feel and taste what Compton's like? Throw on some NWA. Want to experience the almost freakishly sunny pocket universe of California's coast? The Beach Boys'll do the trick.

For me, no band captures the forboding, swoonsome, and spectral atmosphere that imbues much of England better than The Clientele--a limey quartet whose gently-psychedelic music seems deliciously, inexorably a part of their place of origin.

"Since K Got Over Me" is one of my favorite Clientele songs, a bittersweet and all-'round gorgeous rumination on the disorientation singer Alistair MacLean feels as he contemplates a world in which an ex-lover no longer reciprocates emotions he's still kicking around. Like England itself, it feels melancholy, austere, and swoonily magickal--in equal turns.

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