Like this from a few week’s back, a song with a summer feel: poppy, singalong chorus, it starts off with a heavy guitar riff that plays four or five times and then a chiming guitar comes in on top of it, and then a woman’s voice, a little raw, even flat, realer than the candy-coated voices we’re used to hearing in pure pop songs:

     How do I get close to you
     Even if you don’t notice
     As I admire you on the subway

The mix is muddier than I’d prefer, the drums a little too pounding, but I’m a fan of young bands who try to replicate what they’ve heard in great pop songs using the materials at hand, like the early Replacements or Ben Folds, hanging out in the basement and trying to make themselves sound like the Beach Boys in a ten-million dollar studio. Tossing in a few vocal harmonies doesn’t equal selling out, indie rockers!

It’s hard to tell exactly, since that muddy mix obscures a lot of the words, but the subject matter here seems to be unrequited love: but that special brand of unrequited love at first sight you feel for the person you see on the subway everyday but have never spoken to or, as in Amy Rigby’s wonderful “Knapsack,” the guy at the bookstore who checks your bag but who you again never speak to except to say “Thanks.” (The other primary brand is along the “friends, never lovers” theme; I’ll put Ray Charles’s version of “You Don’t Know Me” in the top position there.)

The infatuated singer in this song verges on the stalker-ish: “One more cocktail/And I’m on your trail,” she says, and there are mentions of driving by the person’s apartment at night. The sunny music offsets the creepiness, though. That catchy chorus goes “If I should fall/act as if it never happened:” fall, as in fall in love, but also fall as in fail to keep the obsession under wraps, blurt out the fantasy world she’s been creating to this stranger.

Later there’s a moment of reflection:

     Is it a good time
     Or highly inappropriate?

This is a guess where the “adult diversion” of the title enters in: a person not an adolescent engaging in an adolescent longing, but what’s so bad about that as long as she’s enjoying herself and manages to keep her mouth shut and no one gets hurt (or embarrassed)? Why should teenagers have all the fun? There are far worse adult diversions out there, and these will no doubt come in time. I say, enjoy your crush while the summer (or subway ride) lasts.

alvvays

Advertisements