I've decided I'm going to try this format out exclusively for awhile. It gives me a chance to tell everyone about the things I'm obsessed with still, but without making me feel like I have to churn posts out at a rate of every couple of days. Also, I plan to be more in-depth with these than with my old songs of the day.
I first heard Parenthetical Girls a couple years ago, just around the time they were beginning to release Privilege, a five-part 7" project that would ultimately come together to create a full-length album, so it somehow makes sense that I've just started to truly love the band this year, when it looks like the fifth and final part will be released soon. In just a few days, the intensity with which I've grown to adore the music I've heard (so far, only a fractional part of the Parenthetical Girls catalog) is a bit staggering, so much that it's hard for me to grasp how I've had the first three parts of Privilege and the band's last album, Entanglements, sitting on my computer for ages without realizing how legitimately brilliant they are. Hopefully, now that I've seen the light, I can convince a few others to as well, because the biggest shame of all is how relatively unknown the band still is after so long.
For the past several years, Parenthetical Girls has consisted of Zac Pennington and a rotating cast of additional band members. Pennington is an immensely talented vocalist and songwriter with an eccentric performance persona and the grand musical ambitions to match; luckily, he's also got the uncanny ability to execute every one of his ideas to perfection, no matter how drastically it differs from the last. Privilege, so far, is kind of a bizarre but genius combination of the richly orchestrated, baroque-styled Entanglements and criminally catchy, synth-drenched electronic pop, with the occasional burst of cacophonous experimentation to spice things up.
There are any number of songs from the project that could serve as a perfect introduction but I've gone with "Weaknesses" because it's simply the one I literally cannot stop playing. Even when I'm not listening to the song itself, it's on a constant loop inside my head. The song is just an ideal representation of everything that makes Parenthetical Girls so great. Though Pennington's voice doesn't go through as many elastic twists and turns as it does in some of the band's other songs, it's instantly engaging: unique, strong and slightly strange in a way that makes you want to keep listening. His lyrics, too, are in top form, somehow managing to be sexy, witty, a little bit sarcastic, and even slightly devastating all at once (try and tell me that last line isn't one of the best endings for a song ever). The music reflects this multifaceted quality. It is complex enough to stay interesting with multiple listens but catchy enough to win you over from the start, inexplicably sensual, unsettling and infectious as fuck simultaneously. Basically, it's just a perfect, perfect song and I wish everyone in the world could hear it right now.
If for each bit of gladness
Someone must taste of sadness
I'll bear the sorrow
Let it be me
No matter what the price is
I'll make the sacrifices
For each tomorrow
Let it be me
Can't you be still for just one second?
There now, clear the hair out of your face
And try to fit your fingers 'round your waist
Piece of cake; oh God, you look great
And I know he'd know some perfect thing to say
Though I don't suppose they'd notice if we're a little late
Let them wait and anyways
Remember who was there to square your zipper back in place
Done in by books and bother
And a fondness for another
Well, no one waits forever
I'm torn in more than one direction
These questions open-ended by design
We'll best these indiscretions given time
Provided I might stay another night
And I know he knows and that's all I'm going to say
I suppose though that I've noticed you've never said his name
More dour on the hour and duller by the day
But no heart is always in the wrong place
Oh, honey, sure I'm flattered
So forgive me for this candor
But what is it you're after?
If I'm business as usual
And you practice your birth control
Tell me, was this as tawdry as it sounds?
But can't we be weak for one more second?
I'd reckon this is tough to justify
But I've never done one pure thing in my life
Oh, never mind
Just guide these hallowed hips of mine inside those equine thighs
Because it's really difficult for me to leave this at just one song, here are a couple live performance videos (from Entanglements) for you and the music video for the next song from Privilege which is refusing to vacate my brain (it's so gloriously sexy and synth-y, oh my God).
- Song of the Week #1