(This is a series celebrating our favorite songs of 2008. No particular order. It is being cross-posted at rangeliferecords.com. If you’d like to contribute, email a song link and Scarlett Johansson .jpeg to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Song: “Marijuana Cops” by Sea of Zombies
Song Link: MySpace.
Everybody made such a big deal about Panda Bear’s Beach Boys vocals on last year’s “Person Pitch” but it was more an exploration of reverb-as-window-dressing than of crafting sharp hooks. And yet that vibe feels so good – faded sunshine, short shorts – it could be the next Auto-tune. “Marijuana Cops” sounds inspired by the source – more “Don’t Worry, Baby” than “Bros”; more emotional paint-splatter, less lacquered faux-finish.
I first heard “Marijuana Cops” because Tom Somerville, the man behind Sea Of Zombies, friend-requested Range Life on MySpace with a note saying “Hey, it’s Tom from Bruhder.” Bruhder is a multi-voiced, exultant acoustic band from Connecticut that sounds like group-sung Violent Femmes and their song “A Whole Whale” was one of my “Favorite Songs of 2007”. I dug around on his Space. “Marijuana Cops” was the diamond.
To my ear, this song could go on for another few hours. It sets the stage so evocatively – the “nimbus cloud” of smoke, the end of the school year, the looming authorities – the air gets humid just thinking about it. This is 8th grade with your crew in the subdivisions. Junior year outside a Friday night house party. Your dorm-room in college… anytime in the blooming of consciousness where the wheat seperates from the chaff and you, for whatever reason, maybe because you’ve taken a hit or taken a dose, realize that you and your awarenesses are the wheat and that the cinder-blocked, sub-divided, sameiness that surrounds you is laughy-chaffy.
“You’ve just got to imagine playing it before a huge festival audience and having it build and just totally lighting the air with the lightning bugs of melody, everyone totally with you,” I wrote to Tom, back in July. This was my Summer anthem, I guess, bringing back to life my skateboard, my clique, the neighborhood swimming pool, my first car, Cadillac-j’s and Snapple mint iced tea with little waves of the wand. Nostalgia, yeah, but in an “it was all worth it” kind of way. At least there’d be one person with his lighter up at that festival!
“I’m glad you like it,” he wrote back. “It’s a Get Up Kids rip off, you might have heard of them. Doowop Get Up Kids…”