Closely Listening & Responding to One Line of Lyrics
- Read & post feedback for Tessaya Forde’s Essay 2.
- We are still practicing different strategies for closely listening to and describing music. For this brief assignment (due Wed), I want us to focus on how to pick apart and extract questions from one single line of lyric from your song. To that end, I want to direct your attention back at Jeremy Schmidt’s essay on “The Full Retard” by Jaime Meline (El-P). His entire essay, while rather brief, is focused on a close reading of the song’s “chorus” (or “hook” or “refrain” or whatever you want to call it). One line of lyric produces a whole line of questioning and response in Schmidt’s essay. Have another look at its opening two paragraphs:
“Like an oracle crowning herself queen, the hook from “The Full Retard” predicts its own reign: “So you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.” The song’s track is all clanging beats and zapping lasers, its lyrics Jaime Meline’s standard skyscrapers-and-sewers futurism, its overall effect a parade of sonic likenesses of the coming world’s broken infrastructure. The chorus, though—the chorus is more about taste than about politics or apocalypse. Take another gander: so you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.
This is a glimpse into the hypnotic heart of hype itself. What does it mean to pump, promote, or even love something right now, knowing that it—the song or the idea or the meme—will be ubiquitous in the future? Why would we want to prefigure the they of Meline’s rancid imagination, anyway? (To prepare?) More practically, shouldn’t our own pumping, or pooh-poohing, have some influence on the popularity of this shit among later humanoids? ”
Check out all of these questions that Schmidt generates in response to this one, seemingly mundane, lyric of Meline’s: “you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.” This is what I want you to do with your Essay 2 song for Wed: select one line that you can ask a series of questions in response to, write out both the line and your questions and begin trying to respond to your questions if you can. See where this takes you.
See you on Zoom on Wed—FYI, I need to push back our meeting time to 3:30p this week. Hope this still works for as many people as possible. Hang in there everyone, much love, M.