Tuesday, December 6, 2011
(2) Purity Ring - "Ungirthed"
[In the past, I've written short blurbs for each of the year's 100 Songs. Some of these "short blurbs" were actually thousands of words long, but you get the idea. This year, sadly, I didn't have time to do that. But I still have a lot to say about almost all of these songs. So I'm just going to start writing. This is one of a still-undetermined number of essays. Maybe I'll find something to say about all 100 Songs. Maybe there will just be a handful of these. I'll try to write one every day, but I make no promises. Also, they will be in no real order. In case it gets buried, the original 100 Songs for 2011 post, with links, can be found here.]
(2) Purity Ring – “Ungirthed”
My favorite ancient Norm McDonald stand-up bit is about lying. "You ever lie for no reason at all? Just all of sudden, a big lie spills out of your evil head. Like a guy will come up to you, 'Hey, did you ever see that movie with Meryl Streep and a horse?' And you go, 'Yes.' In the back of your head, you're like, 'What in the hell am I lying about over here? I stand to gain nothing by this lie.'"
I do this all the time. I would bet that a significant percentage of all the lies I've ever told involve claiming to know something that I did not in fact know.
I say this to preface the following statement: I have never heard anything like this song.
Normally I wouldn't say something like that. I wouldn't say anything at all. That way, if, at some point in the future, someone were to say something like, "Oh yeah, Purity Ring, they sound just like Band X. Do you know Band X?" I could say ... "Yes." Just like Meryl Streep and the horse. And I guess I would feel cool or something. But really, I would stand to gain nothing by that lie.
I do not know Band X. I do not know how Band X could possibly exist. I would bet that they probably do exist, since everything exists now, and I would bet that there is a pocket of music buffs who are experts in this specific micro-genre, and that they are probably tired of music that sounds like this, and they probably consider Purity Ring to be incredibly derivative.
But those are not my experiences. Of the thousands of new songs I've heard in the last twelve months, "Ungirthed" is absolutely the most unique. Every part of it is just so unexpected, so fresh. And yet, there are so many familiar elements. It's a three minute pop song in a familiar key. It's enjoyably innovative. That's not something I get to say very often.
There's a line in another song on this list that goes "She said 'Why don't you go down to the record store?' / I said 'Every new band, feels like I've heard them before." Not Purity Ring. For me, this is an entirely New Thing. I can't think of a higher compliment.