Second Thoughts: The Music of Metamorphosis

Harry Sofokleous (He/Him), Jack Taylor (He/Him)

Harry works in a record store. And Jack buys too many records. Together they talk about themes of change in music, showcased in a communal playlist assembled with songs from readers with ideas of Metamorphosis.

How has your relationship with music developed?

Jack: The first real influence music had on me started on journeys in the car from my dad’s CD collection, introducing me to music on a much wider scale especially with bands like The Lightning Seeds. It widened my music horizons and showed me how genre-defining music can be and these kinds of ideas followed through to the Indie genre with bands like The Wombats & Beck with the idea this music defined me. I always loved sharing the music I discovered, which in a sense led to the creation of playlists such as this one as well as countless others. 

Harry: I grew up with real eclectic musical influences; listening to the radio, my parent’s tastes, sheet music at school, even rhythm games as a kid. When I finally started to strike out into my own tastes, I’d been lucky enough to adopt a massive openness to listen to anything. That curiosity has fuelled my experiences since; it developed into this massive exploratory hobby to uncover hidden gems. 

What is a memory of an experience that was defined by music? 

J: Pierce Fulton’s third album ‘Life in Letters’ really defined what electronic music could be to me. I remember when it came out in the summer of 2017, I lived in the middle of nowhere so the only thing to do was mainly read and listen to music, I found a lot of escapism in the album. Previously I had listened to a lot heavier electronic music but ‘Life in Letters’ really helped me develop and change my own taste in music and gain a much deeper insight to the craft behind the songs. I was really disheartened to hear about Pierce Fulton passing away, but his music very much lives on, his work will always hold plenty of great memories for me. 

H: Weird Example – As a kid, I got into ‘Onka’s Big Moka’ and the Scott Pilgrim comics around the same time. They quickly became all-time favourites of mine, and this combination of reading through SP with Toploader in the background transformed how I read the book. Instead of the garage rock you’d expect, when I look back on the comic all I think of is Toploader’s Alt-Pop. It’s crazy to think just how listening through the album while reading completely transformed my whole perception of Scott Pilgrim. 

J: I completely agree! The SP soundtrack to me was part of my introduction into that early 2000s alt-rock and that unique sound/energy it produces, with many of the songs I listen to at the moment still resonating with those ideas.

What music do you associate with change most?

H: ‘Inner Dialogue’ by Passion Pit encapsulates change in two ways for me. Being the first look at the album ‘Tremendous Sea of Love’, it released as a single alongside the creation of the ‘Wishart’ group – an organisation started by Michael Angelakos as a way to bring attention to the crippling lack of mental health support in the musical industry. It represents change for me too, as the album was on repeat when I made the choice to apply to study at NUA. Fitting that Passion Pit’s music seemed to mature with me as I grew up, and this much more mature sound accompanied the steps I took into adulthood. 

J: ‘Make time For Change’ by The Magic Gang is a really interesting track as according to the band, the song was actually produced towards the end of 2019 but released during lockdown in 2020 and especially captured how I felt at that time which inspired me to push forward and deal with the changes around me. With its upbeat nature and positive lyrics, it was a huge tonal change of pace. For me, it’s the way the track has changed meanings in a sense, as the original album’s delay lead to its much deeper meaning and it’s how the song itself has dealt with change and released into their superb album ‘Death of the Party’. 

What song challenges the ideas of change?

J: ‘1996’ by The Wombats challenges the concept of change and simply flat out rejects it due to the song’s lyrical focus on forms of nostalgia for a simpler time in the late ‘90s and contrasts it to the present day. It looks at change as a negative rather than a positive, which doesn’t inherently mean that the song is overall negative, as it does focus on these good times experienced by the artist. The song also refers to the ideas of the ‘modern glitch’, linking to the name of the album but also represents the ideas of transition into this changing world with many people still returning back to past memories rejecting the ideas of change. I enjoy the song as well as its interesting philosophy which succeeds by making me feel reminiscent of my childhood when the world seemed much simpler.

H: ‘Lauren’ by Rosie Tucker and Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Good 4 U’ subvert change in similar ways: sung post-breakup, from the perspective of those on the receiving end of the split. Both sing about their other half throughout these songs – one from the perspective of denial, and the other resentment. Lauren definitely focuses on denial, arguing things would be better if they just went back to how they were. The lyrics ‘Who is gonna hear this song through the wall and sing it right back until you come back to me…’ dominate the chorus as Sophie remarks at the sweet nothings of a time now lost. ‘Good 4 U’ juxtaposes that subversion: focusing on an apparent lack of change from their ex; questioning how in a time of massive negative change for her, they seem completely unphased. The clash of the booming chorus and stripped back verses cements this, as themes of passive resentment grow into a much more aggressive confrontation of feelings as the track progresses. 

Words: Jack Taylor & Harry Sofokleous, Storehouse Content Team, @jtpublishing_ & @albumsforears

Imagery: Jack Taylor, @jtpublishing_

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: