OverAnalyses: "I Walked Alone" off of Shangrila - Yacht
by Michelle Bailey
Why hello there, internet stalkers. I'm Michelle from KRCX's marketing team. I'm also a crazy music major, so when I listen to music my head's doing more than bobbing. For my degree I have to write about music. A lot. So here is the first installment of "OverAnalyses," the blog where we get stupidly deep into the music and may possibly learn something. But probably not.
I'm diggin' on Yacht this week. We just added their album Where Does This Disco? to our rotation and my first observation is: boots, and cats, and boots and cats. Lots of boots and cats. Their music is pervaded by this catchy back-and-forth rhythmic foundation that permeates your muscles and makes them boogie. The above song, "I Walked Alone" is off their album Shangri-La, and the latter observation holds true. The lyrics remind me of "there was an old lady who swallowed a fly," in the way that they build upon each other. As you can see the repetition of the last word of each phrase emphasizes the boots-and-cats beat and the thematic pattern the lyrics establish. In the music video director Mitchell Davis plays off of that repetition by repeating the frames during which Jona Bechtolt sings those repeated words (how many more times can I use a permutation of repeat in a sentence? Let's not find out)
I really like the funky guitar, bass and acoustic percussion on top of that steady rhythm. It keeps the level of activity up and independent from lyrics. I dig a lot of division of beats in dance music. It gives people options for dancing; you can follow those boots or the cowbell ( one TWO one TWO) or the boots-and-cats (ONE and TWO and ONE and TWO and) or the guitar and bass ( ONE TWO and-a ONE and TWO, repeated) or the high hat (ONE-e-and-a TWO-e-and-a). I'm sure I've lost you by now, but listen to the song and it should make sense. Watching the boots-and-cats video linked above will help too (plus it's hilarious).
Visually, Yacht is really avant-garde. I know that's a phrase that barely means anything anymore; the lines between weird and popular art are fading and the two are bleeding together. That being said, I don't know if I like it. To me, if you're weird just for the sake of being weird or because it's "in", you're doing it wrong. Avant-garde art (like punk rock, which I will inevitably write about) is meant to distance the artist or the work itself from the norm. I could rant about the need for symbolism even in the vaguest sense, but even though Yacht's staging and vogueing seemed unfounded, it was cute. I can say that much. They have sass. I can get down with that.
Thanks for reading! Tune in next week for more OverAnalyses