music moots: Claire From Online

music moots: Claire From Online

Welcome to a new edition of Music Moots™, the 'content series' where I ask people I know, either from IRL or URL, to tell me a song they've been bumping lately, and then I listen to the song, and then I write a little about it. This is my exercise in a sort of divine musical transference, because I think music is an inherently social medium and no matter how much Spotify or YouTube just wants you to sit back and let the algorithm rip, music will always matter more (to me) when it comes from a real person. Song recommendations are my love language. Suck it Gary Chapman (inventor of the concept of love languages)!

Today I asked Claire From Online for a song rec. I "met" Claire through my other internet friend Julian, and the various creations she puts on the web are just...amazing. She is a prolific journaler who channels her elite penmanship into incredible pages, including music-themed spreads...she also vlogs, TikToks, has a Substack, and manages to maintain a vibrantly creative online identity even when the current slate of social platforms we use seem lately to be designed to sew discord AGAINST such simple and delightful ventures.

Claire told me she has been digging Hovvdy's "Blindsided" because "it feels like a summer evening to me in all the best ways." Lettuce press play...

God I love Music Moots™, because they give me access to music I wouldn't normally seek out. As I've previously blogged, I'm coming out of a bit of a post-vax bout of musical nuttiness, where I've wanted music to be loud, fast, dance-y, harsh, extreme, and mind-melting. As such, I have ignored a lot of gentler music with calmer and more organic vibes. Enter "Blindsided," a lush lament that Hovvdy member Charlie Baker has said is about him and his dad:

Magnolia tree
You said you could see you in me
I was surprised
Could’ve used you in my life but
You were blind

Reading that this is about a Dad, and connecting it to summertime, brought me back to my own summer youth. Specifically, being in single-digit ages and having my bedtime still be 7:00 or 7:30 at night, even though the Vermont sun didn't set til close to 9pm, so I'd be lying awake with waning daylight streaming through my window, listening to all the summer bugs throwing a party, and to the street playing of other kids on our dead-end block whose parents weren't so fastidious about sleep scheduling. If someone really good was performing on SNICK, we could maybe convince my parents to stay up a little later. My dad used to do a thing that I imagine is a common dad-thing: make the rounds of my and my sisters' beds, snapping the bedsheets up in the air so they'd fly down softly on us, like snow in July. This Hovvdy song sounds like that!

"Blindsided" is what we in the biz call a "builder." (I am not in "the biz" and I actually don't think anyone calls songs that.) It keeps expanding in size and mood, with added snare hits, more vocal layers, taller arcs of piano, and a general expansiveness, like adding new colors to an old painting. Eventually it levels off and veers back toward its original size. In the spirit of Claire's medium of choice, I drew a chart of the bigness of "Blindsided" over time. Note to self: get better pen!! The Precise V7 on pilfered TWA Hotel stationery is not cutting it.

Last summer-kid memory unearthed by the warm nostalgia of this song: if the night was particularly sweltering, I'd sleep in the opposite direction on my bed, putting my pillow where my feet usually were. That way I could be closer to the open window and clunky fan, whose three speeds were controlled with big grey rectangular plastic buttons, kind of like keys on a piano. We didn't have air conditioning. Air conditioning in Vermont is a little silly, I guess. The air is incredibly conditioned for most of the year. I remember every time I uno-reversed my sleep position, I felt very self-aware and special and resourceful. I'm making it work, I thought. Now sometimes I feel my A/C and wonder if I could turn it off every now and then and just sit in the hot, like I used to.