Sunday, January 15, 2006

"Life's What You Make It"

Inspiration can be hard to find in daily life. The paradigm in the western world seems to be to flatten out the curves, to smooth those sharp edges and file down the interesting little imperfections that make our individual lives so unique. Which is why the blog world is often so attractive: we can all peek through each others' curtains and find solace, take joy in, and inspiration from the fact that there really are a lot of folks out there who are bucking against the deadening weight of 21st century culture and society. We all want to be treated as individuals, as someone special in our own right, and if we can't force the institutions out there to do so, well, we'll just have to make it so in our own lives. Blogs are our way of proving to ourselves and to the world that we really are more than just a set of demographic data on some corporation's database.
Somehow, this is meant to bring me to Talk Talk and "Life's What You Make It." I'm sure you follow the connection. It's a simple enough song: a lovely stop-start beat, mechanical almost, like an industrial process, over which Mark Hollis sings in the sort of voice that suggests he's got a lump in his throat. "Baby, life's what you make it/Can't escape it/Baby, yesterday's favorite/Don't you hate it/Baby, life's what you make it/Don't backdate it/Baby, life's what you make it/Beauty is naked." The background refrain of "Everything's alright" soothes and calms, while the guitar makes liquid, oval shapes, like comforting pillows. It's OK to be yourself, the song seems to be saying, it's OK to forge your own path.


finnegan said...

we are re-writing and re-righting history by blogging it. let's all enjoy it while the anarchy is still its driving force. it may one day be considered some sort of golden era of human self-expression.

i love this

Spicy Cauldron said...

The song is liquid, and it is a mechanical process at the same time. I love this song. You've hit the nail on the head so many times in this post as to the song's qualities. Talk Talk were so much better so much more of the time than Duran Duran, whose existence and popularity led, I think, to Talk Talk being under the other band's shadow. It wasn't helped by the superficial comparison of the band name formula, ie word+same word. But Talk Talk had a haunting, intelligent... something... which Duran Duran, to my mind, lacked. Although Duran Duran did some cracking songs in their time, Talk Talk were my favourite of the two. x