emo boy

 

 



 


























why i love death cab for cutie


It started as a joke really. Just like that kiss with Evan Stevens. What’s the cruellest act you’ve ever committed? Mine was grabbing the face of this twitching boy with the out-of-control crush on me, and moving in for that real, slow kiss, just for the fun of it. But the joke was on me in the end when we lay in my bed, bedframe jerking with his trembling form.

I can’t believe this is happening, he said, and I shook my head, because neither could I, but there it was. Be warned when you dabble and tease, my friends: be warned when you move someone’s crushed-out lips towards your indifferent mouth: be warned when you slip the new album by Death Cab for Cutie onto the player, all prepared to mock and to point and to scornfully giggle, because sometimes things other than you have the last laugh, and what are you going to do then?

Death Cab is middle-of-the-road American indie college rock. Their music is proficient, sometimes easing into gorgeousness, never veering towards challenging. The singer’s voice is high, thin, whiny: their subject matter includes long-distance relationships, heartbreak, old age, glove compartments, photobooths, letters, one-night stands, the links between love and death, and so on. They never kick ass. They never kick off. They are sweet boys. Gentle boys. Emo boys. Wimpsters.

 
 



And I love them; love their twee, embarrassing little lyrics about ‘sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole’, love Ben’s thin, high, upper-register voice, the shallow, trebly shuffle of the guitars, the glorious gentle unhipness of it all.

There’s something to be said for losing your dignity, losing cool, losing face – turning round and embracing everything in music that you have ever held up as weak, meek, lame, trite, embarrassing and shite. Taking all your printed published words - everything you ever said about liking music that is cool and rude and dirty and electronic and disgusting, all laced with beats, and smelling of poppers, performed by cock-strutting cunt-stroking glorious egos who’d spit or cum on you as soon as look - and tearing them into strips and soaking them in water and putting them in a blender and drinking them, cramming them down your throat till you retch.

Eat that, motherfucker. Lick this. Choke on your words. You like Death Cab for Cutie. You like men whining like prissy little babies. You like GUITARS. Twist sails, lift anchor, full speed ahead to the Land of Glorious Self-Contradiction; aka; The Realm Of The Total Fucking Emo Gaywad, tally-ho!

 


And what fun it is. To emerge blinking and sniffing and eye-wiping from the Shoreditch hipster artfag underworld and discover… this. Innocence. Joy. Fandom. Concordance. A lack of irony. Death Cab is music for nice people. You know. Loved-up long-term couples who don’t have rough sex and are thinking about maybe getting that mortgage. Cute girls who’ll flirt with the Enid fixation for a while before settling into a job in book publishing. And, most of all: nice boys. Sweet boys. Graphic designers. Wannabe film-makers. Boys who work in libraries. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why I’m here: the thrill of the exotic; to catch a glimpse of that rare creature, the sweet, sensitive boy-child.

Death Cab sound like nice boys; men you could take home to your mother, and for once, she wouldn’t flinch and make with the fake smiles. And there’s a comfort in that. And while I know this is succumbing to emo’s sheeny-surface appeal – all pseudo-sensitive chaps in their Converse and backpacks flicking their hair and making you mixtapes and sending you fanzines with envelopes hand-written in the prettiest cursive you ever did see –sometimes that’s what you need from music. To surround yourself with an aesthetic. To surrender to the mirage. To lose yourself in the dream.

Some of the accusations levelled at emo (see Jessica Hopper’s essay Emo: Where The Girls Aren’t and David Macnamee's Her Space Holiday review for more) – that it’s a world populated by bitter 20something men who’ll write songs about their ex-girlfriends and never honour the girls with a name or an identity, a music narrated solely by males that condemns women forever to the position of object, not subject, either perching on a pedestal, or crouching in the gutter – can equally be said to apply to Death Cab. I know all this, and yet. I want to believe.

Death Cab for Cutie, with their sensitive paeans to heartbreak, and summertime, and shared cigarettes, their derision for one-night stands, their odes to transatlantic love, help me forget. Cocaine; haircuts; open relationships; noyfriends: Shoreditch; everything that is dirty, and lonely, and edgy - Death Cab for Cutie blot it out, allow me to pretend, just for a few hours, that nice boys exist, and they will not break my heart, for I will break theirs. Sometimes, they even let me believe nobody’s going to break anybody’s heart. I’d buy that for a dollar. I think I already did.


words: miss amp
image: reality chaser

 

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