March 31, 2010

Three thoughts

Over the past couple of days, I've casually mulled over three different topics. I figured it'd be good to toss them to the wind and get some feedback:

1. What's the deal with the Drive-by Truckers? - They sound like terrible modern-day "southern rock." Something in the vein of "Sweet Home Alabama" ... something that leaves me wanting a shower after a listen.

2. Phrase explanation - Take a look at this make-believe conversation:

PERSON #1: I wish you'd stop comparing the size of my ass to Jermaine Dye's. WTFuck, man? What? Do you hate me?

PERSON #2: It's not that I hate you, it's that you eat a lot of mayonnaise.

PERSON #1: Oh. Okay, cool. No problem then.

When Person #2 says: "It's not that I hate you, it's....", does that mean that Person #2 admits to hating him (but that's not the reason he made the comment)? OR, is he saying, 'What are you talking about? Don't think I hate you. I don't.'?

3. You got it - I used to hate when people asked me to wish them luck. I never knew how to respond.

If you say, "Oh, good luck!" you've forced yourself into an awkward spot in the conversation, not to mention you run the risk of sounding half-interested. But if you don't say anything at all, you look like an ass.

Up until a couple of days ago I'd laugh nervously and say 'Yeah!' But a better response dawned on me two nights ago:

Just say: "You got it."



Blogger JHitts said...

Hooray for under-informed conclusions about bands you've only heard once or twice in passing!

I'm trying to figure out exactly how many songs by them you've heard and if you actually know what their shtick is supposed to be. I'm thinking three and no.

(Not that I think they're everybody's cup of tea at all, just... c'mon. Listen to more than three songs before saying all that shit.)

March 31, 2010 at 3:29 PM 
Blogger Chase said...

I've haphazardly listened to about five of their songs...and I didn't like what I heard (regardless of their shtick).

You didn't answer my question.

March 31, 2010 at 4:02 PM 
Anonymous Jerry Seinfeld said...

Whaaaat's the deal?

March 31, 2010 at 4:09 PM 
Blogger JHitts said...

I just thought of this: I have an explanation for why I like them in the show review I did last year. Read it here. Maybe it will explain "what the deal" is.

March 31, 2010 at 4:13 PM 
Blogger K. Janke said...

I would say "It's not that I hate you" is a direct negation of person #1 saying "is the reason you say that because you hate me?"
As in, "the reason is not that I hate you, but rather..."
That's how I always understood it.

And about wishing good luck. How about putting your hand gently on their shoulder, looking them deeply in their eyes, and saying, "My friend, you don't need it. They will love you, just the way you are. I promise."
That way, you out awkward their petty, impotent plea for approval and validation, and extricate yourself from their conversational bullying.

March 31, 2010 at 4:18 PM 
Blogger Tony said...

DBT, like the film Cloverfield, sux.

March 31, 2010 at 5:23 PM 
Blogger M. Perkins said...

#1. I will say my initial response to DBT is distinctively negative. I'm not quite passing judgment, though, because I don't think my first instincts are always especially good. I have not given DBT a fair shake. Only I'm not sure I want to.

It's not because it's Southern rock:
-'It Still Moves' is the best MMJ album (okay, maybe 'Z').
-I like the Avett Bros more than Mumford (so far) because it's hard for me to take an Englishman with a banjo seriously. If you're plucking a banjo, and you don't have roots in the Southeast/Appalachia, or you're name isn't Sufjan Stevens (yeah, him), I'm skeptical.*

But there's something in the style that turns me off--just like there was (is?) something in Spoon's style that makes me step back and scrunch my eyebrows. But repeated forced exposure to Spoon (esp clips of them performing live) has made me mostly overcome that.

*I'm actually not skeptical, but I do feel like I should be.

#2. Kyle's right, but he's only emphasized the ambiguity of the statement. "It's not that I hate you..." directly negates "It's because I hate you that...", but it doesn't say whether or not Person #2 does hate Person #1, Jermaine-Dye-ass-size entirely aside.

#3. Kyle obviously has the best response. But, being too chicken for that, I think "You got it" is a big improvement over my rather flaccid "Okay." Though I will continue to use "Unh" with an acknowledging head movement when I don't really want the person to have good luck.

March 31, 2010 at 7:28 PM 
Blogger JHitts said...

Your first instinct is right, Mark. It's It Still Moves. But that's not quite "Southern Rock". I'd actually venture to say that DBT aren't exactly "Southern Rock," either, but I have an interest in such distinctions. I call them Alt Country, but they're certainly more "Southern Rock" then, say, Uncle Tupelo or Whiskeytown.

I guess my question is, why does the fact that they have Southern accents and play blues-tinged classic rock automatically make them "Southern Rock"? Most of their songs, aside from the stuff on Southern Rock Opera (which is obviously attempting to get at that specific style), doesn't actually sound like "Southern Rock."

Again, maybe my ears are just more attuned to the distinction because I listen to more music that sounds like their style? I have no idea.

March 31, 2010 at 9:21 PM 
Anonymous Econ said...

I'd agree that a lot of the time (and I've only heard their first two albums), DBT doesn't sound much different than Lynyrd Skynyrd would have if they'd peaked in the 90s and listened to a lot of alt rock. #1, I have no problem with that. #2, like I suggested in my post, the sentimentality and humor redeems whatever banal tendencies their songs may have.

April 1, 2010 at 1:27 AM 
Blogger Daniel Silliman said...

What Kyle said about the "it" in "it's not that I hate you." And yes, there is a possibility that the one person does hate the other (though that's not the reason for whatever is being discussed), but isn't there always?

Re: DBT, I like them, but understand them to be partly a joke, so where Sweet Home Alabama is ridiculously over earnest (even in beerhalls in Germany), which is what I would take to be the hallmark of southern rock, DBT are having fun with it.

I don't think Econ's DBT song was the best example, but the chorus, "mama ran away with a trucker," is, I think, supposed to be funny.

If I can just turn the tables a little, I'm guessing, Chase, you don't think there's anything fun or funny about being Southern?

Also, can I just say (in the spirit of over aggressive and over confident and over serious music crit. that the Sadbears have been doing this week): I watched some music videos for Spoon the lead singer looks like someone I would need to punch in the face.

Also, their music isn't interesting.

I guess you could say it's that I hate them.

April 1, 2010 at 1:59 AM 
Blogger JHitts said...

Silliman with the win...

April 1, 2010 at 3:08 AM 
Blogger Chase said...

Silliman - I actually love The South, as it were, and find things to smile/laugh about almost daily. Whether it's the weather, drink preferences, literary/conversational differences (a more spongy, soggy sarcasm), talking with my family or accents (pronunciation of the word "oil")...I find much of it to be endearing. In fact, I could see myself living in the southern US for the rest of my life.

I've always considered myself southern anyway (and no, I don't want to argue about whether KY is a southern state, blah blah blah).

So, to respond to a table specifically turned over on me (and not other DBT dissidents (ie: Mark and Tony)) -- I do find things endearingly funny about the South and being Southern.

...but not the Drive-by Truckers.

April 1, 2010 at 8:58 AM 
Blogger Naomi said...

I pretty much second Silliman's opinion on Spoon.

April 6, 2010 at 2:55 PM 
Blogger SC said...

This comment thread has been brilliant. Two cents:

2.) Maybe this is because of the way theatre phonies tend to talk, but in my experience, the phrase is delivered almost as a self-parody, as if the speaker is stealing an idiot's turn of phrase simply to make fun of it. Tongue-in-cheek kinda stuff. "It's not that I hate you, it's [something that might sound hateful if it came from someone other than me]." It's a caveat.

For example, a cosmopolitan-socialite-actress might use the same tone when she tells someone, "I'm not judging you, but...[judgment]." Similar, I suppose, to the contrived diatribe of the Shakespearean character's "Sassy Gay Friend."

Still, the hyperbolic question "Do you hate me?" is more awkward than the evasive response. What is someone supposed to say? It is, IMHO, about as pathetic as asking for a good-luck wish.

April 6, 2010 at 3:44 PM 

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