Sunday Sounds: Hot Chip

Hot Chip are among a small group of producers and musicians who deftly operate with their toes in several genres, sometimes within the same song.

They’re a five piece band from the UK that cover a range from indie to synth-pop to straight dance music, and cover a wide emotional spectrum as well, from happy, bright melodies down to depths of melancholy. Though most of their material keeps close to where the two meet.

That dichotomy is reinforced by the varying singing styles of Alexis Taylor. singing in a sweet, upbeat falsetto along with the gruff, dour voice of Joe Goddard.

I’m presenting you with a single song for the day, and it’s not even a Hot Chip song. It’s a remix of Junior Boys. I chose this song because it helped me recognize the humanity behind Hot Chip’s playful facade, and also because it helped me through a very troubling time in my life. Even if you’re a strong person, even if you’re overflowing with confidence, even if you’re as self-assured as they come, a divorce will rattle you. Your foundations will shake, and doubt will sneak in, quiet as a mouse. It’s a terrible game to play.

This remix was part of a long playlist I’d created to help quiet the voices of doubt, full of sad, contemplative songs that provided the much-needed company for my misery. Every night, most songs would pass without notice, with one exception. That exception seemed to rotate through the playlist, but often the song that spoke to my feelings was “In the Morning.”It gave me the hug, or the pat on the back I needed at the time.

Sometimes when you’re sad, you need music perpendicular to your feelings to snap you out of your funk. Other times when you’re sad, it’s because you need to be sad. You need to stay in that dark, foreboding place to figure things out, to find some kind of resolution, or a means to closure.

Perhaps Hot Chip recognized that buried between the bright synth lines and marching rhythms of the Junior Boys original. There’s a sadness, but it takes a backseat to electronic fiddlings and breathy backing vocals. At first, it appears Hot Chip is playing off a lot of the robotic sounds of the original, but then there’s a very brief pause at about 1:27 before they start letting humanity in. Their lyrical treatments are haunting and beautiful, and the shift at their onset holds the listener in that contemplative melancholy.

I know they say, “Girl, your life’s not over,” but I knew they were talking to me. They so often told me, as I was trying to fend off doubt and self-loathing, that I’d get past it. Those were invaluable words, as I didn’t always believe I’d get out from under it.

This Sunday, stop running and hiding. Find music that parallels your emotions, and remain in the place it holds you, even if it makes you more uncomfortable. Life doesn’t necessarily get better or easier, but you learn how to deal with it better.

(If you’re looking for a place to start in their catalog, I recommend “One Life Stand“)

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