By John Dickinson
After the wind, rain and chaos, Stereo IQ returns to you with lines from punk rock forefathers, indie veterans, and local up-and-comers alike. Settle into the cold weather and let us be your guiding hand to the tail end of 2012 -- its soundtrack in the latest Lyrics of the Week.
5. "Leave all the lights on / Can't see out, but they see in" -- Local Natives, "Breakers" Lyrics
Local Natives, a group that has been accumulating prowess in the indie rock world since 2010, are seemingly set on making sure the world knows they're not a flash in the pan. The lyrics to their latest single are a confession of apathy and the bystander effect; a lack of meaning in the life of lead singer Kelcey Ayer becomes present as he vocalizes his woes of the menial tasks and routines ("Cold cereal and TV"). Over the sound of layered snare drums and muddied backup croons, Ayer facetiously assures himself "just don't think so much," raising the question of whether or not ignorance truly is bliss.
4. "Don't run away / Don't slip away my dear (don't ruin this heart of mine) / The sun is gone, it fell into the fall." -- Rhye, "The Fall" Lyrics
Forever cursed will be the day that any song conveying emotion should be slavishly labeled as "emo" or "hipster." Luckily artists like the L.A.-based duo Rhye are bringing back the sentiment to modern popular music. The group may be a secretive one, (both members of Rhye have kept their identities hidden, the project still in its infancy), but their songwriting is highly indicative of an overt soul revival. As their four-minute long single "The Fall" expresses a plea for a lingering lover to keep from slipping through the lead vocalist's hands, one can almost feel the pain rushing through their stereo. Rhye compares this feeling to your favorite song: dreamlike, transient, and never quite remembered in the same vain as the first time you heard it.
3. "In hopes that you would catch me / I fell into a bitter sleep / The world around me passing / With no plan to remember me" -- Lift the Decade, "Out of Reverie" Lyrics
New Jersey alternative rockers Lift the Decade make a statement about codependence in their latest track "Out of Reverie," in which vocalist Nick Rezzonico communicates a fatigued helplessness that drags down his everyday life. Tenacious drumming and sedated guitars set the backdrop for Rezzonico's story, in which he paints himself as a man in a catatonic stupor; numb to the world around him and entirely powerless in his struggle to move on with his life after abandonment. The irony lies on the fault line between thematic cues and the title of the song; his existence is completely devoid of reverie, even though his waking life is essentially a coma.
2. "Now that I'm a million years old / I've seen the past and the future turn so many times" -- Wild Yaks, "A Million Years" Lyrics
The last single from indie kings Wild Yaks deals with what most people try so adamantly to avoid -- aging. While the lyric is a prime example of hyperbole, it also accurately portrays the ennui that goes along with getting old. Friends change and then leave, oases dry up, and all you're left with is your thoughts. Lead singer Robert Bryn and the rest of the Yaks exude gang vocals reminiscent of a pub singalong as they merely ride the wave of dotage, looking back on memories of pretty girls, and acknowledging that all their friends have died before them.
1. "Make a radical assessment that sticks like glue / Sometimes it takes no thought at all / The easiest thing to do is say fuck you" -- Bad Religion, "Fuck You" Lyrics
It's not every day that you hear a punk band name-drop Ivan Pavlov, but when you recognize that band is Bad Religion, it begins to make sense. The latest single from the punk rock pantheon is, you guessed it, a rebellious anthem with a fast paced, no-nonsense attitude. A statement about the phrase that has been shunned around the western world, Bad Religion makes the claim that "fuck you" not just a response for mindless retorts when you can't think of anything better; sometimes it can augment an argument in ways you never thought. In his infinite wisdom, lead vocalist Greg Graffin acknowledges that when the world is against you, sometimes the most productive thing you can do is utter that one conditioned reflex that even the most uptight sophists tend to utter from time to time.