Of Montreal
by Ozymandias
(453 views) - 9/12/05
(recorded 9/12/05 @ 2:48:06 AM)
This was an essay for my ENG 101 class where we had to write about who we thought was the voice of our generation in response to an essay that we read in class on Nirvana. It was supposed to be one page double spaced but this ended up being four pages double spaced. I didn't even get to talk about half of the things I wanted to, but I decided to cut it short because it was getting too long. I highly reccomend this band to everyone. Enjoy my essay on them.

In Matt Compton’s essay, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” he proclaims Nirvana to be the voice of the early 90s generation. However, to pick a single band to be the unified voice of today’s generation is decidedly more difficult. With the incredible diversity brought into our culture by the explosion of the internet, music has become more divided than ever before. Today’s high schools and colleges are filled with many different types of people with many different tastes in music. There are the punks, the jocks, the preps, the goths, and scenesters, and that is just a list of a few of the recognized 'cliques' that are prevalent today. With the invention of file sharing software inspired by Napster, it is easier than ever before to obtain music that would otherwise be impossible to find, making musical genres increasingly indefinable. It is almost impossible to keep up with musical trends today, let alone find a single defining 'voice' of today's youth. With all of that said, I will proceed to speak of a band that I consider to represent the present times better than any other -- a band that I consider the voice of my piece of today's generation -- Of Montreal.

Of Montreal is a relatively small band from Athens, Georgia, that has a remarkable 11 albums under their belt since their first release in 1997. The speed at which they release their albums is quite unusual in today's music world, and brings to mind the music of the 60s and 70s where bands released an album every one to two years, sometimes faster. And in fact, Of Montreal's music borrows many concepts from this era in music and combines them with modern musical technology to create a sound that one could describe as a modern day Beatles. This poppy sound is formed by complicated and interacting beats coupled with beautifully poetic lyrics and tantalizing harmonics creating a wonderfully playful break from the watered down pop music of today. Songs like "The Party's Crashing Us" make you just want to jump out of your chair and start dancing, screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs.

In their song, "Forecast Fascist Future" we are greeted with a series of seemingly nonsensical lyrics filled with literary and mythological allusions followed by the chorus: "Boredom murders the heart of our age while sanguinary creeps take the stage, boredom strangles the life from the printed page." What could be a better explanation of today's apathetic youth than those two lines? We have become so overburdened by the excess of information at our fingertips that reading no longer seems amazing. And in a generation that doesn't read, an uneducated generation, or rather a generation that is apathetic to education, we are left to the mercy of others to control our lives, and thus, the "sanguinary creeps take the stage." Right before the third verse in the song there is a sudden change in the music where we are bombarded with a repetitive bass beat building with intensity until a guitar finally breaks in and releases us into a floating ambience where the third verse begins. In the background an electronic buzz forms into the word "why?" which is repeated over and over throughout the verse, mimicking the beat from which we had just escaped. The mood of the lyrics in this verse suddenly changes as well. There is no longer the confusing lyrics of the previous two verses. This verse ends with the lines "We were darting from the place where we just couldn’t fit, far away from all the violence, safely flying in our own orbit." With these lines we are taken out of the first half of the song and plunged into the next segment where the music changes again. The final verse in "Forecast Fascist Future" gives us hope. "Why do I always have to tell you, forget about the prescient signs? Forget about the life we lived. May we never be stripped of anything we love, may we grow so gentle, never go mental." The song then proceeds to repeat the lines "May we never go go mental, may we always stay stay gentle" until it builds into a scream and the chorus chimes in again. Through all of the brilliant change-overs in this song, and the delightfully intelligent lyrics, we are taken on a journey through confusion and then hope for the future. Of Montreal fills their listeners with a sense of awe at the world we live in and reminds us how wonderful it all is. This is something for which a generation of disillusioned youth is crying out.

In a generation that has become overwhelmed by the information age, Of Montreal reminds us of the wonder of life, love, and knowledge. By pulling from the wonderfully inspirational music of the 60s and 70s, Of Montreal has created music that speaks for this generation in much the same way that The Beatles spoke for their generation. They demand for us to wake up and realize the potential and beauty in the world, and do so in a way that is beautiful and uplifting. They give us hope by making everything seem OK. Perhaps the best way to end this essay is the same way that Of Montreal ended their latest album, Sunlandic Twins, with these lyrics, which perfectly exemplify the message existing within all of their songs:

"The Repudiated Immortals"

The creator of what’s now cliché had some funny words to say:
'all you little things are incomplete'
Why did he speak of us that way?
I don’t cry not ’cause I don’t care;
It’s very hard to feel the way we used to feel up there.
The creator of what’s now cliché
Wants us little things to cry and feel alone.

But don’t don’t lose hope no no no no
No no no don’t feel sad ’cause it’s a violent world,
But there’s still beauty.
I’ll take care of you if you take care of me.

I like to sit and listen to the sound
Of the snowflakes landing on the trees,
But I can’t get used to feeling cold,
I can’t get used to what has happened here to you and me.
There’s no escaping so I won’t try.
It’s just the heaviness that comes with knowing you will never die.

But don’t don’t lose hope no no no no
No no no don’t feel sad ’cause it’s a violent world,
But there’s still beauty.
I’ll take care of you if you take care of me.
Next entry: The Bus Ride Home
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