As humans, whether we’re writers or not, we constantly seek to place everything in tidy narrative. Headaches, heart break, bathroom trips, Thursday nights playing Madden and drinking cheap champagne–we attempt to shove all of it into a larger continuum that begins somewhere and most certainly goes somewhere.
But then you learn that there are multiple universes, and that whole notion of tidy narrative, of any sort of context beyond a persistent and all consuming present, flies out into the darkness.
At present, as listeners and consumers of culture, we are being trained more to appreciate cult of personality than actual output (for a wonderful, more extensive take on the matter, read this spot on piece). We want our music and our musicians to be interesting, we want lots of context, and, particularly in Hip-Hop, we seem to want to be told what we’re supposed to think about the music. So you get Swizz Beatz shouting at the beginning of Diddy’s album that this is a sound that will change your world. Or some such nonsense. And it is nonsense, not because music can’t change your life, but because the music that will change your life probably won’t announce itself so neatly.
Sometimes the best music comes context free, beautiful concepts that don’t need fully realized histories to understand and enjoy. I think this notion is one of the few advantages that “alt” rock, electro, and any number of genres you might find on Altered Zones have over Hip-Hop. In Hip-Hop, you must present your personality, your web presence, first and then bring the music to follow. The enterprising artist brings the two simultaneously, but there don’t appear to be many dubstep producers are psych rock acts that dive out of the gate with eccentric Tweets before they put out showstopping music (I’m sure there are counterexamples galore, but just play with me here).
And so a beautiful piece of music like Darwin Deez’s “Bad Day (Javelin Remix)” is a shining example of a song that requires zero context to enjoy and understand. It’s about a dude wishing a really bad day on another dude–it’s up to us to figure out what the latter did to deserve it, and that’s part of the fun, we get to fill in the blanks with our own narrative. With lines like “I hope the last page of your 800 page novel goes missing” and “I hope that, I hope your new girl takes of with a new guy,” “Bad Day” balances spite with playfulness that makes the proceedings relatable and highly enjoyable. The beat bumps, shimmers and samples “Juicy Fruit,” completing the recipe for a fantastic song. So enjoy “Bad Day” by Darwin Deez and hug your enemies.