Today is not a good day. I’ve been sick for almost a week now. I’ve got a toothache. After a tease of spring in early March, it’s snowing again (April the cruelest month my ass). I’m wanting to feel like I’m actually doing something with my life, but I can’t seem to concentrate on a particular idea for more than a couple of minutes.
So today demands a song appropriate to my mood, and I’m thinking something noisy, something to help purge me of my frustrations of body and mind. I need some 80’s Sonic Youth. I think Inhuman is most apt. SY is not a band where you remember or are able to decipher a lot of lyrics, but here’s what I think this song is about: Frankenstein’s monster first sees his horrible visage in a mirror, shatters the mirror with his naked fist, then in a mindless fit he brutally attacks random villagers with the shards. Or, in a modern update inspired by this image by sometime Sonic Youth poster/album cover artist Raymond Pettibon, it’s a rear-view mirror and he wreaks havoc with a car (some sort of classic model from the 40’s or 50’s, I’m picturing, but I’m not a car guy).
[Odd note: my spell-checker doesn’t want me to write “Frankenstein’s”, and suggests “Wittgenstein’s” instead. Did Wittgenstein have a monster?]
Early on, Sonic Youth was probably the foremost influence on the way I wanted to play guitar (when I used to play), which may be one reason I took so long to develop any identifiable skills with the instrument. Nevertheless, though anybody can make a racket with an electric guitar, nobody could do it quite like they could. Before going on to stolid indie eminence they seemed dangerous and perverse, radically warping the tuning of their strings and playing them with various implements, writing songs inspired by the Manson Family, or when in a more quiet mood creating eerie noir psychodramas sung by the sexy Kim Gordon. For an example of the former, see the video for Death Valley 69. For the latter, see Shadow of a Doubt. Yes, they actually played videos like these on MTV once upon a time.