This is post number 1,000 on Sirens of Decay. Well, it’s 1,000 give or take a few dozen (to a hundred or more) posts lost when switching from Tumblr to WordPress, but we’ll count it. It only took 1,035 days, which translates to 147 weeks or roughly 1, 490,400 minutes. That’s a long, long time. I don’t know about you but I’m kind of proud of myself for making it this far. I really never thought I’d get here.
I considered how to mark the occasion. Should I make another playlist? Should I record a video of myself dancing ridiculously and embed it in the post? Should I fade to black abruptly like The Sopranos? I don’t think I’ll do any of those things. Instead, I decided to talk about the one song that set this whole website, and my own personal musical journey, in motion a few years before the site came into existence. Remember that cringe-worthy scene in Garden State where Natalie Portman tells Zach Braff that this one song (“New Slang”) would change his life? Well, that track didn’t do it for me, but another one did, kind of.
This is gonna be a long one, buckle up.
Have you ever heard of The Presets? Maybe. Hell, I don’t know if they still exist or how relevant they are or ever were. Once upon a time they released an album titled Beams. It was 2005, and outside of a kindling love interest with indie rock I didn’t listen to anything that was remotely in the stratosphere of what you hear now on Sirens of Decay. I was uneducated, even uncouth you might say. iTunes was making it’s charge to the top of the music industry, and in doing so they gave away a free single each week. Being a poor dude on his own working a retail job for just above minimum wage, I took advantage of any free stuff I could get. On July 4th, 2006, iTunes released “Girl And The Sea” by The Presets as it’s free song of the week. I gobbled it up.
There was so much that blew my mind about this track at the time that it’s mildly embarrassing. I had never encountered electronic music like this, blipping and blooping and being altogether enjoyable. Particularly electronic music with vocals. Hell, I was barely familiar with Daft Punk. The beat was infectious, and the tone of the track created this atmosphere that was much like reading an engrossing novel. Every opportunity I had, I played it, getting lost in it’s story about the girl and the sea. I’d not heard a modern track with a literary narrative outside of hip-hop…as I said, my mind was blown.
I was a bit of an aspiring novelist at the time. I’ve dabbled in short stories, novels, and various other size efforts for years. The best stuff I ever wrote was inspired by this track (and two others in particular, but they are but supporting actors in this play). I don’t know what The Presets describe “Girl And The Sea” as (as far as meaning goes), but for me it was a heartbreaking story of a girl turning her back on everything, including her lover, to chase whatever it was in her mind that she “belonged” to. I could relate. Relationship woes, job upheaval, and leaving my hometown for the first time. I was on the usual early twenties agenda, and “Girl And The Sea” was part of my soundtrack.
I had heady dreams then. Now, being 28 and nearing 30, my dreams are much simpler. What I’d like to have and what I need aren’t so at odds. The older me looks at the girl diving beneath the waves as just a tiny bit selfish, instead of symbolic. I really am turning into my father, aren’t I?
Still, I come back to this track every few months, just to remember where I came from. I like to think it helps me get to where I’m going. It’s helped get me this far. I can’t recall another song which is still so integral, if only tangentially, to helping me find and enjoy something that I still happen adore in my adult life.
Thank you for reading Sirens of Decay. I enjoy discovering music. I’m glad you do too. Here’s to 1,000 more.
PS: Enjoy the Sirens of Decay collage of logos I’ve used for the last three years.