MYSTERY POST #2: Better for being worse
An argument in seven songs
Whenever I write a post, I end up throwing away about as many words as I put into the final version. Sometimes I toss out whole chunks of research just because they don’t end up being relevant. Here’s one of them, a digression ripped from an upcoming essay. It would have disappeared forever, but here, in the beautiful upstate farm of MYSTERY POST #2, it can live on.
When I scroll through my most-played songs on Spotify, I’m struck by how many are, in some way, wrong. They’ve got some kind of blemish that should make them less listenable, but it does the opposite. It’s like meeting like a hot person who has a mole on their nose, or a weird laugh, or eyes that are too far apart in a way that somehow makes them hotter.
That extra gristle keeps these songs stuck in my mind’s gut, whereas conventionally perfect pop songs pass right through like a laxative. That’s why I’ve become convinced these songs are better for being worse. Here are a few of mine; I’m interested to hear yours.
“Teenage Eyes” by St. Lenox
There are many things you are not supposed to do if you want to write a perfect song. You should not underscore it with a Dwight D. Eisenhower speech, for example. Nor should you eat a bowl of cereal through the entire music video. “Teenage Eyes” does both of those things, and they make me love this song all the more. St. Lenox is just a guy who was (is?) a lawyer, but he wants to be a writer and a musician. His music has all the wrinkles and imperfections you would expect when someone is making songs by themselves in their crappy Brooklyn apartment. And yet it stays nestled in my “On Repeat” playlist because, gosh darn it, it sounds like somebody wanting something.