This is a desolate and desperate countdown that fucking floors me every time, from the original artist of “Strange Weather”.
Music - Mediaclature
SNOG – “Old Atlantis” (1999)
This was it, this was the song. The first dance at our wedding, but also one of the first songs I danced to my with my future wife. I convinced a DJ friend of mine at the club my girlfriend/future betrothed frequented to play it, despite it being a total floor-killer. We slow-danced, entangled together. I felt we were alone, luxuriating in the club’s limelight.
It was magical.
You can’t ask for a better moment than that.
(Yes, I realize that we were dancing to a nihilistic anti-capitalism song in a queer club that didn’t prioritize cleanliness, and that was perfect for us.)
“Old Atlantis” — via the album Third Mall From the Sun — is absolute bittersweet melancholy with amazing vivid imagery. The build is incredible; it’s an intensely emotional song. I’ve never heard anything quite like it, and I doubt I ever will again. It’s a singular work, something that works with the cadence of a quintessential prom song but also feels like it shoulders the weight of the outside world.
I cannot emphasize how much this song means to me or the feelings it evokes in me. The aural punctuation — the fire — in the latter third of the song devastates me every time. You’re encircled in an audio attack while the two of you are holding each other tightly, protecting each other through the aural maelstrom. It’s exhilarating, and then the clocks descend and the house lights flicker awake, and you can let loose your breath.
For as sensitive as this song is, Thrussell himself? Not so sensitive when initially dealing with fans. SNOG performed at a tiny-ass club just a stone throw away from us in Chicago many years later, and while buying merch, my wife and I gushed to him as to how much “Old Atlantis” meant to us, how much we loved the song, how we knew immediately that it would be our first dance for our wedding, and how formative his work was for us. He essentially hand-waved us away, which hurt, but we rolled with it because we knew this kind of shit can be tiring when you’re on the road! One of these days I’ll recount our times as bookies.
However, his partner later elbowed him into seeking us out before the show and he did apologize and thanked us for our kind words, which meant the world to us. Also, he is a consummate performer, and the show was incredible.
It’s not often you get to meet the artists who move you, who create indelible life moments, much less get to personally interact with them and, while that experience was a bit of a rollercoaster, it’s a memory I’ll always cherish, although not as much as our first dance.
“Let’s do it. You and me. Let’s do it. Together. Let’s. Burn it. All. Down. Again.”
I’ll close this out by noting that one of the most often exclamations I hear from folks are: “You used to be a DJ?!” I don’t know why, because hasn’t everyone considered themselves a DJ at some point in their life? (That said, unlike most, I was paid for the privilege.) Anyway, every time I’m like, just wait until you find out my wife and I had our own club night for years, and that we both helped to set up a collective to book underrated electronic bands. We’ve done a lot! We spent our twenties exactly how you should: by throwing around money you don’t have and shouldn’t be spending on efforts that very few folks will appreciate but will be extraordinarily memorable for those who do attend!
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that SNOG wasn’t a major impetus for that; I wasn’t exaggerating when I said SNOG was a formative work for us. We earnestly and honestly wanted to bring the same feeling we had with “Old Atlantis” to others, and we did all that we could to do so.
SNOG – “Cheerful Hypocrisy” (2015)
While SNOG can compose devastating works — see “The Ballad” and “Old Atlantis” — “Cheerful Hypocrisy” from the album “Compliance” aurally bounces. It’s pure bubblegum until the lyrics pop.
While the songwriting is quite progressive, although it does contain satirical use of slurs that I’m not too keen on, I’m not sure I can say the same for the video, which seems like a bit too much fetish well-wishing.
I’ll be honest: Despite the obvious STARSHIP TROOPERS riffs, I don’t love some of the phrasing, and I hate some of the lazy ALICE IN WONDERLAND tropes, but it’s still one hell of a song. Just be glad I didn’t extoll the song where he’s basically being spanked for four minutes straight.
“WAR GOING GREAT!”
SNOG – “The Ballad” (1997)
You may have noted that all of these music-themed weeks have included at least one spaghetti western-themed work, and this week is no different.
“The Ballad”, from his album (aptly named) Buy Me… I’ll Change Your Life – is certainly the most melancholy track, and could easily be slipped into any western. It’s expertly executed, and the depth of his voice only exacerbates that. It’s a brilliantly evocative work that made me realize that Thrussell was more than just a musical engineer.
“When the working day is done, I refuse to belong to anyone.”
SNOG – “Cliche [Snog Vs Q-Kontrol]” (1994)
SNOG’s original song “Cliche” is a banger, but this remix strips the lyrics and is all brutal beats and escalation and I can’t get enough of it.
SNOG – “Born to be Mild [OVERTURE]” (1993)
There are a lot of SNOG remixes out there, but this is one of the most intense. It doesn’t sit still; it shifts moods and genres every twenty seconds, and the song it’s remixing is barely recognizable.
It’s so brazen and succinct that I can’t help but love it.
SNOG – “Corporate Slave” (1992)
I first heard this song as a young teenager, well before I had any knowledge of the Paddy Chayefsky-penned film NETWORK that Thrussell liberally samples from, and it lit a fire in young socialist me.
From his album Remote Control, lyrically, it’s soothingly provocative and musically it has a confident swagger that you don’t hear much with political musical screeds. It’s at odds with itself, which makes sense given the push-and-pull of capitalism.
This is, sadly, more relevant than ever, although a number of the corporate names have changed over the years.
SNOG – HOORAY!! (1998)
What sounds like a peppy electro song is a surprisingly dour and nihilistic track, which is SNOG in a nutshell. Nonetheless, it’s immaculately constructed and perfect to sway to.
(I’ll note that there’s an entire remix EP of the song, which is how I’m justifying posting this as well as “The Ballad”, both of which are on “Buy Me… I’ll Change Your Life.”)
“Hurry on madness. Hurry on, disease. Hurry on insanity. Hurry on, please.”
SNOG is an Australian-based electro band that, like FOETUS, has been a major fixture in my life for years, although the man behind the name — David Thrussell — is barely known in the states. His work is amazingly multi-faceted, but always delightfully nihilistic.
Because I’m a big idiot, I dreamed of dancing to one of their songs as the centerpiece to whomever I’d marry, and found someone who felt similarly.
So, welcome to SNOG week.
FOETUS – [RLGN]
FRONT 242 – “Religion [Pussy Whipped]”
Obviously, I love J.G. Thirlwell (even if I keep misspelling his name as Thirwell or Jim Thirlwell) as well as his FOETUS project.
However, one my favorite pieces of his is a remix of another band’s song that he doesn’t even remember remixing: FRONT 242’s “Religion [Pussy Whipped]”, from their 1993 album 06:21:03:11 Up Evil. (Yes, that’s the actual title of the album.) It’s also available via FRONT 242’s “Religion” single, along with two other Thirlwell remixes.
It’s wall-to-wall percussion and hard-hitting noise. He knew the assignment even if he was fucking shitfaced while doing so, and it’s inadvertently brilliant, and I routinely solo-rock out to it.
It’s a perfectly punctuated stereo realization of the original “Religion” and it echoes in my brain so many years after I first heard it.
“YOU LET ME DIE! YOU LET ME DIE! YOU LET ME DIE! YOU LET ME DIE! YOU LET ME DIE! YOU LET ME DIE! YOU LET ME DIE! YOU LET ME DIE! YOU LET ME DIE! YOU LET ME DIE! YOU LET ME DIE! Swallow your priiide. Swallow your priiiiddeeeeee. LET ME BURN YOU, LET ME BURN YOU, LET ME BURN IT DOWN! BURN IT DOWN!”