Thursday, July 1, 2010

Air - "Don't Be Light"

Air clearly put a lot of effort into 10,000 Hz Legend, their follow-up to Moon Safari, which is bad if you're Air, because you probably want your music to sound completely effortless. What were they supposed to do, make Moon Safari Part II? Not exactly. But "different" doesn't necessarily mean "better." So 10,000 Hz Legend is a hit-or-miss album from a great band - which means that if you're grading on the "curve of the 2000s," it's terrific. As John Bush puts it in his AMG review, "Air are still tremendously effective producers, and have actually expanded their palate with a surprising array of pop instrumentation" and "Fans and involved listeners are definitely rewarded with increased dividends after multiple listens." That's not how you talk about an album you really love. "Increased dividends"? What, are we trading stocks here?

There is one track, however, that to me is the epitome of pure, effortless Air, and that is "Don't Be Light." What does "Don't Be Light" have that the rest of the album does not? It has that hypnotic, relaxing quality to it. I can space out and relax to "Don't Be Light." I can't space out and relax to "Wonder Milky Bitch." The chord pattern is more than a little similar to "La Femme D'argent," but hey, you're allowed to rip yourself off now and then, are you not? Besides, surrounded as it is by decidedly "Un-Air-like" material, it's a soothing blast of the familiar. Like Moon Safari's immortal lead-off track, "Don't Be Light" makes me think of the sublime terror of the vast galaxy that we inhabit. And what does "Don't Be Light" mean anyway? How can I not be light? Maybe they're talking to a black hole, in which case the black hole would say "OK, I won't be light." Or maybe they mean, "Don't be thin, don't be skinny." Maybe it's the first Anti-Anorexia pop song.

It's certainly got a terrific video. Which I am not allowed to post here because embedding has been disabled. Thanks EMI. Instead I've posted an edited version from their hilariously named Everybody Hertz remix album. Unfortunately, nowhere to be found on YouTube is the actual 6:19 version that I know and love, which features, among other things, an odd soliloquy from Beck (!). You'll have to seek it out on your own, I'm afraid.

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