Behind the Hoots: October


Partner – “The ‘Ellen’ Page” (Lyrics by Lucy Niles and Josée Caron)

We are on the same page / the Ellen page 

Buzzy Sackville band Partner put out the funniest/most celebratory song of the month with “The ‘Ellen’ Page.” A dual ode to the recently out Ellen Page (the song even caught her attention) and the trailblazing Ellen DeGeneres, lyrically Partner tackle stereotypes and regional dialects, they create a new saying with the lyric above, and throw in a gnarly guitar solo just for good measure. Is it too early to call this an anthem?

– Laura Stanley

Bosveld – “Veldbrand (Fields of Fire)” (Lyrics by Théan Slabbert and Jeremy Mulder)

Fields of fire
Oh, you were tired 
When I came along
And sang your song
Late that night
Oh, your fright
When I closed the door
I wanted more

The first time I heard Théan (aka Turt Darren, Stopmo Slubz, or Velodrones) play the song “Veldbrand”, its chorus didn’t leave my head for weeks. The melody is simple enough to be a children’s song or lullaby, yet the imagery is pretty adult—not in an explicit way, but in the complexity of emotion that it communicates. Part of love’s beauty is that it’s absolutely terrifying, but we have to overcome it if we don’t want to be alone.

Isaac Vallentin

Parkland – “Singularity” (Lyrics by Rob Malowany)

But soon enough you think you’re the one
You put that little chip in your blood and it heals you from harm
Connect to it and it’ll be all you want

There are a couple of things that I like about listening to lyrics. One is that many lyrics are open to interpretation, and I am sure that most writers don’t mind if the listener provides their own personal meaning to the words. The other thing is that the music itself or the performance of the song can give you a clue to the meaning behind it all.

Both of these factors played into my understanding of “Singularity” by Parkland (Rob Malowany). In my interpretation, Malowany is talking about how we take comfort in our faith in modern science, as it helps us deal with an uncertain future. Furthermore, we hang on to this faith, even to the point of irrationality, believing it will provide us with everything we want. I am encouraged in my interpretation by the music that backs Malowany’s emotive singing. There is a synthetic quality to some of it, which is perhaps an allusion to the scientific world. Overall the music is eerie and tentative, suggesting both a dread of the future and a lack of confidence in our current belief structure.

I may be completely off the mark, but it doesn’t matter, does it? I am sure Rob Malowany won’t mind.

 Mark Anthony Brennan

Half Moon Run – “Trust” (Lyrics by Devon Portielje)

There’s something in the way she’s getting fucked again, and she’s gonna hide it from the camera like a sin. Let’s bare something, it makes me want to take you in.

“Trust” is a song that plays on the balance between glamour and the gutter, the allure of bright lights and the harsh glare that comes from standing too close. The way Devon Portielje delivers this line, it’s almost an echo of a different, iconic “something in the way she moves…” – until that visceral expletive swings the lyric in a voyeuristic, narcissistic direction that sounds like it could have slid, hard and sharp, from the mouth of a Bret Easton Ellis character. There’s a high-wire tension here, strung between the consumption and performance of innocence, vulnerability, sympathy and desire.

Chris Matei

Grimes (feat. Aristophanes) – “Scream” (Verse’s lyrics by Aristophanes)


(I take a bite, are you still unmoved
You can scream out
Tracing along your spine
My fingers created a cold lake
I look around, no one is guarding
The exhibitionist takes out his coat and jumps into it with tears on his face)

You hear the intensity in Aristophanes voice but you may not understand the words. The fast rapping actually stories a super sexual encounter and the “screams” you hear are the climax. Throughout the song it sounds like the girl is in charge (for once), demanding the most out of this encounter. The narrator is never really completely satisfied by the man’s performance but the moment later gets ruined by the ring of a telephone as the song abruptly ends.

–  Tiana Feng

Creature Speak – “Phantom Apartment” (Lyrics by Brittany Brooks)

There are ghosts sleeping in the ceiling of my room
And I know it’s you, simply wearing a new costume.

As part of Brittany Brooks’ first album as Creature Speak, she starts off this song with lyrics both vague and specific at the same time. We as listeners don’t know who the “ghosts” and “you” are, but we do know that they are in the ceiling of this “phantom apartment.” This place could be a literal place (at least in the confines of this song) or, of course, it could be a metaphor for a lost loved one — Brooks dedicated the album to the memory of her father who died a few years ago, and it could be about an apartment that reminds her of him. But while a ghost is always portrayed as spooky or even malevolent, there’s a sense of calmness about its presence; she simply knows who the spirit is. Perhaps she’s okay to share the space.

Michael Thomas

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