Never Heard of 'Em: Television
Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.
So for some reason, writing this column almost killed me. I got Marquee Moon from Dave Segal and Mike Nipper huddling up, then getting into record-nerd arguments, then deciding on this Television band, which I have absolutely Never Heard of™. When I mentioned it to people, they all universally loved Television and were excited for me to listen to it. And then I did. And then... I don't know! This is the kind of anxiety that got me into my whole Professional Music Idiot situation in the first place—obviously, I never built up a context and a vocabulary with which to respond to music, especially music that's supposed to be "important." Marquee Moon is rock music* made by (really) cute white boys in the '70s. Right? What else do I say?
I decided to listen to it approximately one million times, because there had to be something to connect to, and that was the right choice. At first, I laughed at little things—"Hey, let's dress up like cops!/Think of what we could do!" and the way he stretches the word "diction" in the line "You complain of my dick... shun/You give me friction." On about the third listen, I fell in love with the title track, which is 10 minutes long (usually a pretty big no for me!). I could listen to that tickly guitar line forever. Then I fell for the track "Prove It." I don't even know why—it makes me feel weird inside? It was partly the lyrics. "The world is just a feeling you undertook." DAMN. I was instructed by multiple people to pay attention to the lyrics, even read along with the liner notes. (Remember doing that every time you bought a new album as a teenager?) Also a superb idea! "I get ideas/I get a notion/I want a nice little boat/Made out of ocean." At about the fifth listen, I swooned over the drums, which were then all I could hear for a while. It was delicious.
It all sounds really clean, and the guitar parts just keep going on and on, and I never get bored. I started to feel, y'know... music emotions? I felt like I was friends with them and they really knew how it felt to be a person. I wished I were lying on my bed sideways listening to it all day on a weekend.
Television: a resounding "so this is what you guys have been talking about!" out of 10.
*Apparently it is actually punk music? I am pretty confused. Oh, well. [Television were "the Grateful Dead of punk"™. —Segal]