Ain't It Fun

"Somebody came to me and spit right in my face
But I didn’t even feel any worse
Such a disgrace

I broke the window
Smashed my fist right through the glass
But I couldn’t even feel it
It just happened too fast
It was fun"

I first heard “Ain’t It Fun” by Rockets from the Tomb about three months ago, and one could argue by the law of small, obscure altercations that my life hasn’t been quite the same since. It was a Friday night. A couple hours before my instant attraction to the song, I’d dragged my roommate and friend to the Scene in Glendale to see this campy opening band with an overblown name that played decent Interpol-ripping-off-the-Cure music but had a lead singer with a grandiose midnight blue velvet jacket, a Mick Jagger ’69 haircut, and an atrocious voice that made an art out of trying too hard. Just in case we hadn’t gotten our fill of ripoff 80s garage rock revival, the next band represented everything that is wrong with music today. Simple, telltale, pawned riffs that blatantly remind you of ten different songs at once. Unintelligible lyrics calling blank verse over tired drums. Not even trying because that Strokes look will take you far, young lads. Overblown, overplayed, understated. Frustrated yawns in between sips of a drink not nearly stiff enough. I need something cadaver-like that will dull my senses, drown the drone of the talking head next to me who works in the music department at my former company, one of the Big Three talent agencies nestled in the Beverly Hills bubble of Tinsel Town. He’s obviously seeing dollar signs, on a quest to scam the public with another Jet.

We have entered the era of the rock and roll boy band. These guys will probably break out onto KROQ next year with a faux-punk cover of the Romantics' “What I Like About You.” Not surprisingly enough, the club was crowded when we decided to split. Marketing buzz already working its wonder. Thirsty hipsters convened at the Scene, mixing hype with drug addictions that fail to produce anything even remotely creative. Fleeting questions flew around me in whispers, but they didn't even enter my mind to contemplate. What if we stayed? What if the next band, the headlining band, is amazing? What if I stop acting such a pretentious, unpublished phony? Who do I think I am, wearing my taste like a badge, on constant display for no one who gives a quarter a fuck to see? I vacated my spot at the bar, reluctantly accepting my fate, that I am a girl who cares about music. I walk out on the Scene, probably missing out on the Next Big Thing, thank goodness. There’s got to be something better out there tonight.

We leave the suburban metropolis of Glendale, winding home through my new habitat, the hilly, tree-laden haven of Silver Lake, to the adjoining Echo Park, which also stinks of expensive shabby sheik but not as badly as Sunset Junction, to an apartment with an incredible view of Hollywood. After your first drag the skyline almost looked clean and sober, but the longer you gazed the more you felt the intoxication teeming within the fluorescent glow. It was wasted. Music playing, each track proudly chosen carefully. Sitting around a coffee table. As I gazed through the dim lighting, conversation danced around me. Intermittent sips of rum and coke lowered my lids. Inhaled lips to passing glass once, twice, the prospect of sleep suddenly pushed aside in favor of what my burning ears were hearing. What is that? Coming from the stereo. My roommate’s boyfriend had chosen this song. He stood as close as possible to the stereo, inhaling, somehow channeling the energy from repeated listens, from past situations where this song has been the soundtrack, maybe triggering memories, maybe just leaving them still and living in the song’s present moment. Whatever was happening inside him, the song’s preemptive power was just hitting me for the first time, intoxicating like the Hollywood lights, desperation speaking, indifferent as to whether the girl who cares about music was listening.

Although I feel unworthy of giving a wordy description to a song you have to feel to understand, somehow this Friday night wouldn’t be the same without sitting on the sofa, staring at the speakers with my mouth open, dumbfounded, surrendering to the drums ambling softly alongside a bluesy chord progression that overtly rejects the notion of progress, instead twisting down with the gravity of unwanted detox, past depression, down to a darker place you’ll inevitably go if you just keep listening. Haunted, lonely guitar solos guide you further south in between verses, trading shots with a gruff, soulful voice pleading frustration and guilt turned inside out, poetically challenged and aimless, wounds broken open into confessional irony. When song comes to a screeching halt, there's only an echo left inside. You’re sure that something somewhere was sparked, unresolved, yet the only resolve you can uncover is that this song has impacted you, unpredictably, on the very same Friday night when you’d become so jaded about music’s ability to feel that you had to pinch yourself as hard as you could.

It was fun.


Anonymous Joao said...

nice post.. actually I also have a nice story 'bout Ain't it fun. and just discovered it. it's a really gread dirty kind of music.
cheers from Portugal and take care **

10:06 AM  

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