‘We’ve got the fever to tell’

“Now by a good record I mean one that carries surprise, pleasure, shock, ambiguity, contingency, or a hundred other things, each with a faraway sense of the absolute…

   “By a good record, I mean one that, entering a person’s life, can enable that person to live more intensely …”    

Greil Marcus, 1985

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, by Alex (@ Clapham, singer, songwriter, poet)

Karen O was the first – and only – woman I have fallen in love with. I was 13 years old, living in what I’ve always believed to be a dump, existing in a state of utter panic and paralysis, which was at the time quite new to me, so every single moment felt disjointed.

During summer vacation, right before entering middle school, I discovered a song. Within seconds she was whispering, glaring at me with her voice. I’ve never encountered such a reckless and yet feminine abandon of womanhood, coming to me from a bass-less, New York, ugly, intimidating wall of sound. If I hadn’t discovered them, I wouldn’t have lived through that first, forlorn year.

Every single day, after school, I came home as quickly as I could, and I stood in font of a mirror. I took my microphone (broke it somewhere along the way, which made it even better), I rolled on the floor, I screamed I whispered, I wailed. On the bathroom floor, in the corridor, on the broken limbs of my childhood, I held onto the unplugged, powerless microphone and a stack of records of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

They are not the best band in the world. They are not my favourite band. They did not change my life. I was still friendless, terrified, an ugly duckling swimming around in self-pity and jealousy. But what they gave me was something no one else could – a tiny sliver of light, a torn curtain providing me with a weak, subtle glance into what could be. They gave me a possibility of freedom. And believing that there is still a part of me to be discovered, unleashed, broken, was something I desperately needed at the time.

Pic Karen O live

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