Thursday, November 24, 2005

Mood disruption music

During my sophomore year, two of my roommates had a major falling out over a girl. As a result, her eventual boyfriend usually didn't bring her back to our room. On a rare occasion when he did (apparently for purely academic reasons), a huge fight erupted between the roommates. For the duration of the fight, I was sitting at my desk trying to read Heidegger, in full sight of all three. Their voices were getting louder, faces were getting red, the girl was crying, and I was worried that physical violence might ensue. So I went into my MP3 collection and started playing "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls. The effect was dramatic -- people just can't stay angry at each other when that song is playing. Tempers cooled and it was generally agreed that I had dramatically improved the situation.

Tonight I was working on the dissertation but repeatedly rechecking my email to see if the girl I've been going crazy over for months would write back. Dissertation writing decreased, email rechecking grew, and moping ensued. It's at this point that Liz Phair's "H.W.C." came on.

Now, "H.W.C." -- which stands for Hot White Cum -- is nobody's idea of a great song. It's basically a poppy brainless shock-value song about how wonderful it is to be spooged on a lot. It's totally devoid of the self-awareness and yearning that typified Liz Phair's older stuff1. But it's dumbly cheerful right through its patheticness, and this enables it to lead pathetic people along the road to dumb cheerfulness. Which is really what you need.

I'd like to learn more about which songs can be used to disrupt which moods. It's a pretty useful thing to know.

1. cf. "Fuck and Run", "Chopsticks"

1 comment:

Neil Sinhababu said...

All good stuff. I'm a pretty big fan of that "Wild Horses" version. First saw it on the prom episode of Buffy.