This Is Not an Odd Book Discussion – Songs screaming at me

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I think my off-topic entries I had previously called “Media Dump” will now be called “This Is Not An Odd Book Discussion.” My media dumps were really just media trickles. Better call them what they are: “This Is Not an Odd Book Discussion.”

With that out of the way, let’s talk about a mild but still unsettling musical experience I had recently. I was listening to “Diane” by Hüsker Dü and though I have known of and played this song since I was 16, there was something new to it. I could hear something in it I had not heard before. I am not a person who has a wide musical vocabulary so bear with me if what I am saying sounds amateurish and if you have a better explanation for what I am trying to say, please speak up.

The weird feeling of hearing something new focused around Bob Mould’s guitar work. The clearest example of the part that started niggling the back of my head happened around 0:22 – 0:33. His guitar work is sort of shrill and desperate. You hear those chords throughout the song.

Because I have a touch of OCD in my genetic makeup, once that feeling that I was remembering something hit me, I had to listen to the song over and over until Mr Oddbooks begged me to give it a rest because some people have to get up in the morning, dammit.

And I was lucky he was so desperate for sleep because putting it aside for a day or so enabled my brain to clear and it became apparent what I was thinking of when I was listening to “Diane.” It was a song I have already and recently discussed, “We Are Water” by Health.

I do not know what the instrument is that makes the upsurge of noise that occurs at 0:41-0:46 and again at 2:06-2:13. And the tempo is not even similar to Mould’s guitar work in “Diane.” But there is something about that shrill noise from both songs that caused me to link the songs in my brain.

But then the obviousness of it settled in. I said in my last discussion of “We Are Water” that the surge of noise I delineated above reminds me of screams after seeing the video. Mould’s guitar work is shrill, a sort of on-edge sound that I now also associate with screams because “Diane” was written about a woman, Diane Edwards, who was killed in 1980. She was a waitress in St. Paul, MN, and she was 19 when a man named Joseph Ture abducted, raped and murdered her.

Having heard that jangling noise in “We Are Water” and associating it with screaming after seeing the video of the young woman or man being chased down by a demented killer, I think I had that association of discordant noise as a female scream implanted in my head. And now all of Bob Mould’s guitar work in “Diane” sounds like screams, too.

I wanted this to be a synchronous event. I wanted there there be more coincidence to it than there was. Eric Wareheim (yes, that Eric Wareheim) directed the video for “We Are Water” and was once in a sort of punk band himself. I looked him up, certain he was born in Minnesota and had grown up on Hüsker Dü. Perhaps he felt the same sense of being screamed at as he listened to both songs and had “Diane” in his mind when he created the video.

No luck. He’s from Pennsylvania. It’s all just in my brain. As usual. I bet people reading this and listening to the songs at the appropriate places will not hear a damn thing I did. And that’s cool. I often go through these weird musings wherein I see connections that a normal person does not hear. I’m used to it. And really, given that “Diane” is about a murder victim, had I any sensitivity, I should have heard the screams before. Regardless, I can’t listen to these songs again for a while because now I hear a real woman screaming at me and I have enough really horrible stuff going through my head at the moment.

So, dear readers, are there any songs that began to fuck you up in ways you didn’t expect when you first heard the song? What’s your version of suddenly hearing a woman screaming in a guitar part in a song you had heard for years?

4 thoughts on “This Is Not an Odd Book Discussion – Songs screaming at me

  1. I see what you mean about the Husker Du song – those chords just scream desperation. Couldn’t hear it as much on the Health song. That is one cool video, though.

    The song that’s been getting me lately is Drowned, by Discordance Axis ( I hear limbs flailing in the water with the choppy opening riff, and the weirdo, chiming, scraping riff at 0:16 – 0:26 makes me think of being dunked back under after exhaling but before getting a fresh breath.

    1. I am so relieved someone else heard what I heard in “Diane.”

      Okay, I just played “Drowned” and I felt nervous listening to it. Thank god it was short. My cat Grendel actually left the room. I think it made him jittery, too.

      I also played “Loveless” and perhaps it was the context of this post, but I heard bloody murder in the first 13 seconds. I’m almost afraid to look up the lyrics.

      ETA: I did, and they are so melancholy – I sometimes lose the thread in music like this (what is this? not BM, and not a noise band but somewhere between… grindcore?). So lyrically not what I was experiencing listening to this song. Interesting…

  2. Great connection with those two songs I just got major goosebumpidge (yes thats a word, I made it )
    A song that I find disturbing while I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, is Mr.Bungle- Desert search for Techno Allah played loud, it WILL make you look over your shoulder if you are standing in a room alone …..sweet dreams

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