12/01/2012

songs of disbelief


Indie music is well if not completely captured in the feeling of discomfort with oneself. And consequently, one's disbelief in oneself, or in life. I'm not so keen on those songs at the moment. So, instead, here are some songs of disbelief in other things than the shit person you have to spend all your time with.

I did look for songs that used "belief" in the technical sense, of epistemic claim, but there's few, few. See Lennon at #7 for a quite different usage - "belief" as one's identity-defining opinions. Anyway, the really common use of disbelief is not for the assertion of falsehoods, but instead for the other incredulity - as in "I can't believe it!": the sudden gaping inability to make sense of the world (which is of course a key symptom of love).

If as a musician or other kind of person you come to pass off "I can't believe you're gone" as lyrics or other kind of self-narrative, then you've no doubt forgotten that it was "I can't believe I've found you", not so long before.


1. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me - Billie Holiday

("You're telling ev'ryone I know / I'm on your mind each place you go ...
they can't believe that you're in love with me.")

Like much she did, this is dangerously ambiguous - subverts the titular pop cliché before it even was a pop cliché.)






2. Winter Wonderland - Animal Collective
("If you don't believe it's raining /I won't tell you that it's rainingDo you not believe it's raining just because it gets you down?
And if you don't believe in happiness / Then don't believe in happiness
Don't believe in happiness - but then you might be down
If you don't believe you're crying
/ Then don't believe you're crying
Do you not believe you're crying just because it gets you down
?")

The boys approach subtlety via a zany romp about the crying dishonesty of most beliefs.








3. Check It Out - Nicki Minaj
("I can't believe it, it's so amazing.
I can't believe it, this beat is banging.
I can't believe it, I can't believe it
.")

Nothing other than a drugged-up loved-up entry to da club. (Where else is the Sublime of today to be found?)






4. The Great Beyond - REM
("I can't believe that I believed that I wished that you could see...")






5. Ghosts - Billie the Vision
("I don't believe in ghosts but there's a ghost under my bed.")
cf. Moore's Paradox







6. Turtles All The Way Down - Every Time I Die
("I can't believe I thought my thoughts meant anything.")
Ah what a pleasantly silly band.








7. God - John Lennon
("I don't believe in [lots of things].
I just believe in Yoko and me.")

Included as instance of the standard nasty usage of "belief" for only those beliefs which are magical constituents of your Real True Self.







8. Oh, Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison
("I don't believe you - you're not the truth.")

Moore's Paradox again, sort of. But perhaps it's better taken as illustration of the boring but absolutely primary point that truth is a feature of language and not of the world.







9. Into My Arms - Nick Cave
("I don't believe in an interventionist God.")

Get you. A little love ditty as stand-in for the full and perfect replacement of theology that is potential in phenomenology.







10. In The Aeroplane - Neutral Milk Hotel
("Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all")







11. Oh My God - Ronson, etc.

This song could be great - maybe if, say, Antony Hegarty took it on.








12. Don't You Want Me? - Human League
("You know I don't believe you when you say that you won't see me."

Creep.






13. I Don't Want to See You - Camera Obscura
("I can't believe that I am writing this down /
and I can't believe that I've got you in a song /
I don't want to be a whining girl")
Tell it to that Human League.








14. Suicidal Thoughts - Biggie
("I can't believe suicide's on my fucking mind.")

Is this about the sole means of emotional expression of many men? (When drunk at 3am, to that one dude who probably won't call you gay for saying these things.) Or perhaps Biggie's disbelief is that he has feelings at all.








15. The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room - Flight of the Conchords
("I can't believe I'm sharing a kebab with the most beautiful girl I have ever seen with a kebab")








16. And We Thought That Nation-States Were A Bad Idea - Propagandhi
("I can't believe I'm gonna worry about this kind of shit.
What a stupid world. And it's beautiful. No regard for principle.
What a stupid world
. (1) born (2) hired (3) disposed.")








17. I Can't Believe You Actually Died - Microphones

A beautiful sentence, that - as if to say "...What on earth do you think you're doing?"

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