Friday, May 11, 2018

Where we were together

At first blush, there are not many obvious similarities between Say Sue Me's lazy winding surfgaze and Aimee Mann's more traditional indie pop, but listening to the Korean quartet's latest album, Where We Were Together, over the last few days, I can't help but feel like they're musical siblings, somehow.

When her most recent album, 2017's Mental Illness, was released I got quite annoyed by the reviews consistently describing Aimee Mann's output as "depressing". Although there's a deep melancholy to many of her songs (often disguised under a major key and an upbeat tempo), it's not accurate to say it's depressing; I've come to the conclusion that a more truthful description would be that it's depressed.

But at the same time, there's no sense of resignation or defeat - acceptance, maybe, but I've always found it somehow hopeful. It's the music of coping with your problems, of feeling sad or anxious or unloved but still picking yourself up and getting on with things - in a way I find helpful when my own subconscious threatens to overcrowd me.

I get that same sense from Where We Were Together: a reassurance that nothing is as insurmountable as our own demons would have us believe, that we're not as alone in our troubles as we often feel, and that there's light just around the corner.

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