Colin Spring: Drunk Music for Drunk People (who happen to hate Capitol Hill)
As regular readers of my humble blog can attest, I’m not big on giving negative reviews of other people’s artistic endeavors. If I think something is awesome, and I have the time, I’ll tell you why I like it. If I don’t have a use for something, I’ll simply ignore it. Is it because I don’t want to seem petty or burn bridges? I’m sure that’s a factor, but the main [conscious] reason for this practice is twofold: (1) I’m a busy lady. There’s so much wonderful stuff in the world, why waste time with the things that aren’t doing it for me? (2) I was raised by cognitive behaviorists, who taught me that praising the good always yields more positive results than bitching about the bad, whether you’re raising a child or trying to encourage more of what you want to see in a city’s artistic climate.
With that said, it pains me that I feel that I have no choice but to comment on what might be the dumbest song I’ve ever heard.
It all started a couple weeks ago, when my partner David happened to hear a song on our esteemed indie radio station KEXP with some lyrics that crawled into his brain and laid eggs of annoyingness. Then yesterday he heard it again. He Googled the refrain and discovered that the song is called “Drunk Music for Drunk People,” by a band from Corvallis, Oregon called Colin Spring and the Naugahyde Nights. (You can stream the song from their MySpace page.)
The song starts out harmlessly enough: an inoffensive musical arrangement supporting a listenable, if derivative blue-collar folk balladeer lamenting the changes in neighborhoods that arise as the result of gentrification. And how he used to want to be a revolutionary and help end the suffering he sees all around him, but then he realized that he’s powerless to change the things he’d like to make better in the world because, alas, he’s just a “golden-tongued” troubadour playing “drunk music for drunk people.” Fair enough. It may not be my thing but there are plenty of people who love this kind of stuff, and it’s put together well.
But then about three-fourths of the way through the song, he sings:
Ballard’s turned into Capitol Hill
I hate that place and I always will [oh-whoa]
there’s no place to park.
Everyone walks around like they’re some kind of movie star.
But I didn’t come to play for the rich and the beautiful
I’m-a playin’ drunk music for my drunk people.
In all fairness to KEXP, I want to point out that we searched for this song in their database and it’s only been played the two times that David happened to hear it. I’m gonna give their DJs the benefit of the doubt and assume that they aren’t intentionally giving prominent airplay to a song that deliberately insults each and every person who lives in what is by far the most populated neighborhood of their potential fanbase. An insult, no less, coming from a guy who—again, it pains me to have to point this out—judges the value of neighborhoods based on how easy it is for him to PARK HIS CAR IN THEM.
I guess my response to this is twofold. First, I would like to point out the mean-spirited, classist negativity in this song to the people who are giving it airplay, just in case it changes anything. Second, I would like to encourage Colin Spring to ditch the gas-guzzling land yacht for a weekend, hop on the Amtrak Cascades and come see how much fun he has in Capitol Hill without his car. It’s no Corvallis, but we do have lots of taxidermy and PBR. And homeless people.
Oh, and that thing you call walking around like a “movie star?” Yeah, us city folk just call that “being physically attractive.” Give it a chance, Colin. It just might grow on you.
UPDATE: Thanks to Paulus for pointing out that the cover of Colin Spring’s first album Dashboard Tallies, Pedestrian Kills features a sketch of a guy standing next to a NO PARKING sign. Apparently Mr. Spring’s parking frustrations are something of a leitmotif.