September 25, 2007

NOTHING TOO HEAVY:

Song of the Day: For Stars, An Impersonal Message Gets 'Personal': Stars' members make fizzy pop that plays out alongside dark snapshots of relationships in distress. (Stephen Thompson, September 24, 2007, NPR.org)

Opening with the text of Campbell's blandly clinical, notably impersonal personals ad ("Wanted: single F / Under 33 / Must enjoy the sun / Must enjoy the sea"), "Personal" unfolds as a revealing exchange between strangers. Millan's nakedly revealing replies tend to say more in six words ("28 and bored / Grieving over loss") than Campbell's anonymous cad says in two verses; her guarded expectations surge to the surface with a similarly powerful economy of phrasing: "Your voice, it sounded kind / I hope that you like me."

The message here, housed in an uncommonly sensitive piano-and-guitar arrangement, isn't as ambiguous as it may seem. For all its innocuous vagueness, Campbell's ad still leads Millan to the same pitfalls that make real-time relationships scary: judgment, insecurity, risk. In "Personal," Campbell and Millan never meet, but they don't have to in order for her hurt to feel real. With punishing efficiency, the song captures the harshest downside of the personals, examining the way they can distill relationships down to Cliffs Notes that let users skip directly from anxiety and doubt to rejection and despair.


That one's gonna leave a mark....




Posted by Orrin Judd at September 25, 2007 11:35 AM
Comments

The only mark this'll leave is in the time wasted listening to it!
Yuck!

Posted by: Mike at September 25, 2007 9:54 PM
« THE CRISPIN GLOVER FACTOR: | Main | NO WONDER THE IVIES WELCOMED HIM: »