Monday, November 13, 2017

Musical Monday - Big Bang by the Doubleclicks featuring Jonathan Coulton

In the Doubleclicks' most recent album Love Problems, Angela seems to have opened up the floodgates of her thoughts on relationships and breakups and unleashed a collection of some of the most devastating nerdy songs that has been put forth. Big Bang is fundamentally a break-up song that tells the story of two people who long for the past, don't quite understand how everything went wrong, and resent the present. There isn't anything new or unusual about a break-up song - Taylor Swift has made pretty much her entire career out of break-up songs - but the difference here is that the Doubleclicks couch their break-up song in the language of nerdy references.

One might say that this is banal - break-up songs are common, and just taking a standard tale of a splintered relationship and draping it with imagery about the Big Bang and molecules is just doing something conventional with a genre-style fa├žade. The thing is, I think this is not something ordinary, but is instead something quite valuable. Angela has taken something conventional and translated it into a language that will speak to a specific segment of the population. Phrasing stories and art in a way that it reaches a different audience is important. This is why, for example, you generally won't hear me dumping on romance novels - I don't care for them, but they speak to a particular audience. My science fiction and genre fantasy novels probably don't speak to romance fans either, even though there are probably a lot of crossover in the fundamentals of the stories.

Telling a story in a way that your intended audience can identify with it results in a sublime piece of work. And I can definitely identify with Big Bang. I've been exactly where the characters in the song are. I remember how that felt - the listlessness, the confusion, the disappointment, the resentment. I've lived through a dead relationship and this song captures that feeling perfectly for me in a way that "conventional" break-up songs just don't. On that ground, just writing "love songs with nerdy references" isn't a bug, it is a feature.

Previous Musical Monday: Lord of the Rings by the Doubleclicks
Subsequent Musical Monday: The Pumpkin Spice Lament by Molly Lewis

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