Wednesday, July 04, 2007

You have to keep reading.

So last night, "Australia" by the Shins popped up on my iPod's random shuffle, and I was so delighted to hear the song for the first time in a few months that I listened to naught but the Shins for the rest of the night. Particularly that album, Wincing the Night Away, which might be my favorite album of 2007 so far. (The only other real contender is Modest Mouse's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which gets bonus points for its swank title. Also, the lead singer of the Shins, James Mercer, shows up to sing backing vocals on three tracks.)

Anyway, when I got home I was bored, so I decided to keep up the Shins mania by reading some reviews of Wincing. And two things began to bug me as I read through them:

1. Every one of them -- and I mean every one of them -- felt compelled to refer to Natalie Portman's line of dialogue in Garden State, when she gleefully forces the (wonderful) song "New Slang" on Zack Braff, telling him the Shins will "change [his] life."


2. They all went out of their way to mention Mercer's oblique lyrics.

Now, I can't really argue with #2. His lyrics are quite cryptic at times. (Okay, most of the time.) But the annoying part was when the reviewers decided to use an example. When they did, they'd almost always reach to a specific line from "Australia," about "facing the dodo's conundrum." They'd almost chortle at how baffling that lyric is; then they'd usually say how it didn't matter because the song was enjoyable anyway.

Yeah, that's great, guys, except for one, small thing: you're all a bunch of idiots.

Apparently, they didn't bother to listen to the song they were criticizing for being incomprehensible, because the verse they reference goes like this:

You'll be damned to be one of us, girl
Facing a dodo's conundrum
I felt like I could just fly
But nothing happened every time I'd try

The incomprehensible line is, in fact, explained in the very next line. In-depth lyrical analysis.

(Incidentally, the same thing pops up in the other oddball line from the same song: in the third chorus, Mercer switches to "the android's conundrum," which has a lot of people in comment threads and in forums kerfluffled. Once again, the next line -- "I feel like I could just cry, but nothing happens every time I take one on the chin" -- explains everything.)

Fools! Fools, all of you!

(Questionable Content is hilarious, by the way. But if you haven't read from the beginning, or don't want to read through all 900+ (!!) archived strips, the story might lose you. But when it's this funny, why should it matter?)

(And 100,000 bonus Nerd Points if you (a) spotted the quote in today's title; and (b) realized it was a quote in the first place. You may not approach my level of Nerdery, but you're trying. And sometimes that's enough.)

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