Reviews are about the reviewer, a Voxtrot retrospective

Posted by Greg , Thursday, September 16, 2010 9:48 PM


"Every day I picture things falling down..."

My job is not physically demanding, but it is exhausting nonetheless.  Nearly every day, I fall asleep around 5:00 on the car ride home.  I have a new home and plenty of things to fix in it, but I spend most of my evenings in front of a television or a computer monitor, because to stand up just takes too much energy.  I've put in a full day, after all.  And of course, when the weekend comes, who wants to work?  I put in a full week, after all.  Right?

Every day, I see ugliness of all shapes and forms, often in unintentional ways.  (I like to assume it's unintentional, at least; because if it wasn't, some people are really fucked up.)  I see fathers unwilling to take responsibility for their children.  Mental health agencies unwilling to help the seriously mentally ill.  Youth protection agencies trying to escape protecting youth.  Mothers looking to get paid (and paid well!) for taking care of their kids.  People who spend more energy working the phones to complain than actually working on their problems.

"We hear our lives inside these sounds..."

So, I've been a little bummed out lately.  I don't know if it's job-related, state-of-the-world related, or just my man-time of the month.  Still, I need a soundtrack to self-doubt and moodiness.  It's like I know when I need (want?) to be gloomy, but I can't fully get there without a morose tune to take me the rest of the way.

This has led me back to Voxtrot.

Their music is about the ugliness of human interaction, wrapped up in an often cheery exterior.  It's much like how we pretend we're fine, when everything is really, really falling apart.  Lead singer Ramesh Srivastava's lyrics unfold like journal entries, at times scribbled in rage, but always with the incisive precision of a scalpel.

In business (and incidentally, in Diablo 2 - which isn't related, but I'm just saying), I think they call this "synergy."  Mid way through "Kid Gloves," Srivastava bursts into self-awareness: "Cheer me up, cheer me up, I'm a miserable fuck / Cheer me up, cheer me up, I'm a tireless bore."  And all I can think is: Yeah man, I am a miserable fuck.  And cheering me up is the last thing this is doing.  But in a weird way, it's comforting.

"Come steady my shaking knees..."

Still, even among all this reality-based pessimism, I think Srivastava found something positive in our relationships, as in songs such as "Every Day," a highlight of the band's lone full-length release (and from which all lyrics in this post were taken).  At a time when it'd be so easy to just let the disappointment and frustration wash over, this song gave me pause.  There is strength to be found in each other.  I see it in a woman who's beaten back cancer before, and still finds the courage to do it again, even when a doctor tells her there's nothing more he can do.  And every day I find it in my wife, who, watching me come home after another day of dealing with human ugliness, always finds a way to make me smile. 

"And these things come rushing from behind
Life is changing so fast and there's nothing I can do to stop it
But when I crane my neck to kiss your head, I know
That there is something that I can rely on
And when I strain my thoughts to push this thread I sew
Some kind of future that I can be sure of

Because I love you, because I love you

Because I love you, because I love you"


1 Response to "Reviews are about the reviewer, a Voxtrot retrospective"

KMV Says:

In a weird way this post was comforting. When life is changing so fast and there's nothing I can do to stop it, you're right, there is strength in each other.

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