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“Nausea”

Posted by purplemary54 on March 19, 2013

I’m feeling a bit better, although I’m having a little trouble mustering up the energy to do, oh, pretty much anything.  But even though I’m improving, I’ve decided to make “being sick” a theme for this week.  Why?  Because I can.  And because I got a little curious about just how many songs about being sick there might be out there.

There’s actually a lot more than I thought.  There’s still not that many; feeling crappy usually doesn’t lend itself to creativity.  After a brief search, I decided to pull out this little gem from X.

X is one of the great underappreciated bands of all-time.  They’re not ignored enough to be Criminally Underrated, but I think a lot of people forget just how good they were.  X was an L.A. punk band, and L.A. punk was very different from New York or British punk.  British punk was all about anger.  (Yes, punk is an angry genre, in general, but the Brits really put some fury and bite into their anger; they made it a political statement.)  New York punk was more about art school experimentalism and riffing on 50s rock.  But L.A. punk had something neither of the others had: suburban malaise.  You might be inclined to think that nobody living in a nice, solidly middle class suburb in sunny Southern California would have anything to be unhappy about.  But that was what people here were unhappy about.  All the houses look the same, and there’s concrete everywhere.  The only thing anywhere near your house that’s even remotely interesting is usually a shopping mall.  The schools are insipid and uninspiring.  Girls should all be skinny and blonde; for that matter, so should the boys.  You’re only supposed to care about getting your own car and/or a date for the prom.  Your greatest ambition should be going to the beach and getting a tan.  God forbid you don’t fit into the mold somehow.  You can’t be too smart, or too dumb.  You can’t like books too much.  You shouldn’t be interested in wearing anything other than the latest styles.  That’s the picture postcard life, and that’s exactly what L.A. punks were rebelling against.

X does a damn fine job rebelling.  This isn’t one of my favorite X songs, but it’s a pretty good description of how the hollow, shallow suburban life makes some people feel.  (I suspect the lyrics have more to do with being drunk or stoned, but that’s also a symptom of suburban malaise.)  Frankly, even though I’ve only got a little cold right now, this song actually makes me feel a little nauseous.  There’s something about the driving beat that just pounds the feeling into you, like you just got sucker punched, or hit your head too hard on the sidewalk.  It’s visceral.  It’s also very effective.

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2 Responses to ““Nausea””

  1. alundeberg said

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re sick! I hope you have a speedy recovery.

    My husband grew up in Irvine, and he and his friends spent much of their youth rebelling stifling boredom. It’s also not a surprise that they, too, created a punk band and ran away from the Irvine police.

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