June 21, 2010

Song Review: The Books' "A Cold Freezin' Night"


Listening to anything by The Books is not to be done in the same vein as listening to any other form of music. In fact, The Books aren't really musicians at all as so much they are artists ("Sound collagists" seems to be the going trend when describing the North Adams, MA duo.) Member, Nick Zammuto, has revealed their forthcoming release, The Way Out will be based heavily on self-help and hypnotherapy cassette samples. If this is the case, the track "A Cold Freezin' Night" could represent some stage in the human psyche wear suppressed, damaged childhood memories are free to roam and continue to bully us into submission. "A Cold Freezin' Night" is built around samples taken from various children's dialogues. It falls somewhere between disturbing and comical, as some of the things these kids say aren't anything you'd like to hear coming out of a young person's mouth, yet because they're children, it's kind of "cute." For example, one young boy throughout the track constantly comes off as incredibly threatening and berating ("You are such an idiot!", "I could kill you with a rifle, a shotgun, anytime I want to!", "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to rip your hair off and you're going to be bald, and everybody is going to think, 'Look at Meredith, she's an idiot!'") A discouraged little girl pops up frequently throughout the track to exclaim, "I wish I was a boy...", perhaps symbolizing a lack of self-worth created by her young male counterparts abrasive and volatile behavior. If there is any hope to be had for these kids, the squashing of the phrase "I believe I can fl---" by the token sound of failure lets you know otherwise. As for the "musical" portion of "A Cold Freezin' Night," The Books have once again complimented these voice samples with a treasure chest of noise arrangements that fit this crazy kid circus perfectly. A sped-up bass line, quick-footed percussion and various children's toy sounds loop throughout the track's entirety to compliment the manic, demented world brought to the forefront by our foul-mouthed narrators. If you listen closely, you even hear a chord sample from the intro to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" at the 2:50 mark taking a ride on this runaway train. While "A Cold Freezin' Night" isn't expected to rival one of the King of Pop's biggest hits, it at least suggests what the deep rooted insecurities planted during his alleged unhappy childhood may have sounded like.

The Books - "A Cold Freezin' Night"

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