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5✭ Fridays - The Misfits

Posted 2007-01-26 Tags: 5✭ music rock punk

One of my favourite blogs to read is Tim Bray's Ongoing - and this is a funny lead in to my first music post, because Tim is very much a technophile (for instance, he was recently featured on the cover of Linux Journal, and on the inside too!). One of my favourite recurring themes is his "5✭♫" posts, in which he expounds on various musics that he listens to.

If the title looks broken, you should Get Firefox. It's the simplest way to fix it.

So, in the spirit of thievery Open Source Ideas, I'm going to implement something similar. Right now it's called "5✭ Fridays" and I'm going to tell you a bit about what I'm listening to... and at this moment it's the Misfits (warning: the Misfits may be offensive).

A Logo for the Misfits

The Misfits are a great punk band. I'll tell you right now that, even though I'm in a punk band, it's not a genre of music that I listen to regularly. Punk's great, but I tend to want a bit more, um, music in my music. There's often a wall of sound and some yelling, and lots of double kick drum riffs, and a bass player that rakes the strings constantly, and it gets old quick. Also, even though I have a lot of rage, it's mostly a quiet, vitriolic, smoldering rage that lends itself more to Metal or Franz Liszt. I'm not "anti-establishment" either; the man's not keeping me down and I don't have a yearning for anarchy. The Misfits carve right through all the problems that I have by using angry but harmonic guitars and establishing strong melodic vocals singing B-movie themed lyrics that are as apt to make you laugh as to incite anger in you. Here's "Resurrection" (beware the mild sacrilege)

Complications inside of me reminds me that my heart won't always beat The ugly face of death that's smiling at my rotting teeth

I will die here in this sorrow I was waiting for tomorrow Palpitate the pulse until you feel my heart explode against the wall

Talk about me, Laugh about me cry about me... nail me to the cross I'll be a martyr for the hated, the weak, the ugly, the lost

I will die here in this sorrow I won't wait for tomorrow Palpitate the pulse until you resurrect my soul from the wall

Zombie much? To go with this, they have an astoundingly catchy melody and a powerful guitar riff, which is one of the most used chord progressions in history - but it works. It's got a beat that's hard to, well, beat, and it gets my head bobbing along every time I hear the song.

The Misfits have this tendency to eschew writing lots of lyrics, which may be a biproduct of the fact that their songs tend to be under two minutes in length. "Resurrection" runs 1:29 and goes all-out for the duration. Another Misfits song that is amongst my favourites is "The Haunting" which clocks in at 1:27 and is basically a 40 second song with a repeat. It's not a complicated song, but they're not a complicated band, and sometimes it's not about complication; the gestalt is more than the sum of its parts. There are only five chords in "The Haunting", but they're the right five chords, and they're supported by the powerful melody and the intense energy.

If you are interested in trying punk out for a spin, but want less noise and more melody, as many people often do, you would be hardpressed to find a better package than the Misfits. Besides, if you don't like them, the song will be done in just a minute.