Sunday, May 29, 2011

40 Songs, 40 Days (2011 Edition), Day Two: Whenever I'm With Her By Dramarama

Ahhhh, one of my favorite bands-that-aren't-around-anymore....

I first discovered Dramarama on the then-named WLIR, a Long Island based freeform alternative rock radio station whose signal came in iffy at best to my Woodhaven-then-Corona home in Queens, when they began playing the first single from their first album, Cinema Verite, the whimsical-but-desperate 'Scenario.' I loved it when I heard it, and located the album in a cut-out bin in one of those shady music stores that used to line Fifth Avenue in the 80's. I picked up every album in a succession of now-gone music chain stores throughout the band's existence (Stuck In Wonderland in a Kim's Video satellite store on 2nd Avenue; Live From The China Club, Box Office Bomb and Vinyl from the 72nd Street HMV; and Hi-Fi Sci-Fi from the 4th Street Tower Records). And its fitting that these stores and that radio station no longer exist, because vocalist John Easdale has always been, to me, one of the premiere voices of loss. He's got this strange quavery quality to his cadance that makes him sound like he's perpetually afraid, and the best songs from Dramarama's catalog--"Anything, Anything," "Last Cigarette," "Questions," even the otherwise whimsical "Work For Food"--take advantage of that quality of Easdale's voice as they explore the lives of people about to fall into the abyss emotionally and/or physically.

This is from the latter part of the spectrum, off their second album, Box Office Bomb...and in it, John is trying to verbalize the rage he's experiencing due to a relationship that's going sour and threatening to become destructive. The singer confesses to us that he doesn't want to resort to violence, doesn't want to bite and hit this woman if only, only she'd just change her ways...

But the brilliance of the song is how Easdale manages to let us know that this horrific situation is as much his fault as her--somewhere in the song he admit that he's 'thinking with his zipper' whenever he's with her...which means he stays even when he knows what will end up happening. He is unwilling to take the final step and walk out of this situation even as he knows where he is going into a dark place, and all because of lust.

Supposedly, Easdale and an ad hoc group is recording a new album to be dropped in 2011.
And because I'm perverse, here's a contestant on Rockstar Supernova butchering the band's greatest hit....I like how she seems to be wanting to channel Ozzie so, so badly with those 'I's nutty' stares and weird stances, and ends up looking like a parody of a rock star...

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