A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

"In my head there's a Greyhound station
Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations
So they may have a chance of finding a place
where they're far more suited than here."

Hmmm...product placement for Greyhound...thoughts in buses...one way or round trip? I think I'll think about this for awhile.

But in the meantime, any fan (closeted or proud) of The Postal Service/Death Cab for Cutie or guilty pleasure indie pop music should check out “Soul Meets Body" (lyric sample above), the new Death Cab song currently in circulation online, on radio, in my head, and probably on its way to the next episode of The O.C. If I could post MP3s from this computer, I would, but the song shouldn’t be too difficult to find, given the ease with which free music is readily available on the Internet for us to taste and then recommend to our friends.

I first heard “Soul Meets Body” on Indie 103.1 trying to escape a packed and honk-happy Burbank Media Center parking lot, lodged between a tinted triple-XL Expedition and a tiny souped-up Civic. As I inched forward towards freedom, I turned up the volume, bobbed my head up and down, and thought to myself, “Wow, what a catchy tune. The hipsters will likely hate on this, but let them go play with their new vynil bootlegs. This may well be [Postal/Death Cab poet] Ben Gibbard’s ‘Hey Ya.’” Yeah, I know “Hey Ya” is in a catchiness class all its own, but in terms of the inevitability of transcending mass media outlets to the point where you can’t get away from the song unless you buy up the rights, “Soul Meets Body” is right up there with the best of the overplayed, which I won’t mention by name because you might get it stuck in your head all over again.

Here’s the thing about Benny G. He’s a likeable, tasty flavor of romantic idealism, adaptable to any accepting personality (no matter how dysfunctional), many things to many music fans. His instantly recognizable voice, on the high side but bold enough to avoid whininess, soothes like an old friend who’s always trying to quiet my cynicism, especially about intimate relationships (or lack thereof). Before I moved to Los Angeles, I listened to a Death Cab song called “Why You’d Want to Live Here.” It’s a scathing ode to this loveable, hatable crazy desperate urban sprawl, each verse eloquently ripping it apart (but come on, LA traffic is such an easy target, might as well go after Saddam in his rabbit hole). At the end of the song there’s this line that goes a little something like this:

“You can’t swim in a town this shallow. You will most assuredly drown tomorrow.”

In this final warning, Gibbard’s greatest problem with LA is revealed: he’s afraid it will ruin his (girl)friend, like this city is some kind of plague, and any trace of hopeful idealism is vulnerable to infection if you breathe in enough smog. “Why You’d Want to live Here” is LA paranoia waiting to happen, required listening for any upcoming transplant, and a prime example of Gibbard’s uncanny gift for whispering glossy sweet nothings, telling it like you want to hear it, even if it’s not necessarily like it is. I’m always on guard against such con artists, but sometimes his bouncy drum and acoustic guitar-laced poetry will sneak through my sullen armor, right into the place where soul meets body, intertwined in the nerves between my ears, where “Soul Meets Body” has currently taken residence, preparing for its “Hey Ya” assault on the world by offering another warning, this one laced with classic Gibbard romanticism:

"So brown eyes, I hold you near
Cause you’re the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere."


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