Here are the reasons why, on paper, I shouldn’t like this song: 1) It’s a straight-up, 80s’- styled progressive rock track…an era and genre that generally makes my ears bleed; 2) There are a lot of elements of throwback prog-rock and “art-rock,” which, again….meh; and 3) There are so, so, so many synths and all of them sound exactly like my childhood Casio keyboard (that’s only a good comparison if this was a band fronted by a group of 80’s era eight-year olds).
If you dig all of these things, then feel free to skip down to the bottom and play the damn song; it will be a slam dunk for you. If you’re like me and need a nudge to try something different, read on.
Because, here’s the thing. I love this track. Love. It. Not only do I love the song, but I’ve come to love the entire album from whence this single comes — Open Here, released in February.
What causes us to like something we normally don’t? What elements combine to create the exception to the rule? I’ve spent an alarming amount of time puzzling on this and here’s what I’ve come up with:
*The lyrics. Those who follow this blog know that I lead, first, with the music and then the lyrics. If I’m not captured by the rhythm/melody/sonics of a song, I tend to tune out.
HOWEVER, I immediately connected with the lyrics on this song because they are all about privilege….in all of its insidious forms. And, I think a lot about privilege. And, I really like what Field Music is trying to convey.
If you’ve ever owned a car or you rent a car / You have a company car, then count that up / Add it to the ever growing list of things / You can’t claim or credit for
Combined with the lead members’ (and brothers) Peter and David Brewis’ admission that “fatherhood has helped inspire a new sense of personal and political accountability in their music,” and I’m all in on these lyrics.
*The beat. Musically, the song is saved for me because of the heavy and driving drum track. It recalls for me some Madonna; some Prince; some Talking Heads
*Peter Gabriel. At 41 seconds in, all I could think about was Peter Gabriel. The inflection and tone of lead singer Peter Brewis…it’s all there. Look, I’m hit-or-miss on Peter Gabriel (see above issues with 80’s progressive rock). But, there are ‘hits’ for me and this track feels inspired by them.
The whole ethos of In My Ear is liking what you like, in the moment that you like it—and leaning into that feeling you get when hearing music that lands for you. So, all of the questioning aside, this is a song that does it for me…and one that, on account of the lyrics and political message, reasserts its relevance weekly (if not daily).