Song of the Day #3,992: ‘Know Your Onion!’ – The Shins

My final 2001 album is one I have owned for quite some time, by a band I like a lot. And yet I haven’t listened to The Shins’ Oh, Inverted World enough to have considered it for my list of favorite albums from the year.

I’m glad I’ve had a chance to remedy that, because this is an excellent album, one many critics consider the band’s finest (though I would give that honor to 2012’s Port of Morrow). It is credited with ushering in an era of indie pop more introspective than ironic.

This album got a high-profile shout-out in Zach Braff’s beloved 2004 film Garden State (at least it was beloved in 2004… I’m not sure how well it has aged). Braff used the songs ‘Caring is Creepy’ and ‘New Slang’ to memorable effect — in one great scene, Natalie Portman’s character plays ‘New Slang’ for Braff and tells him “this song will change your life.”

That’s a lot to ask of any song, but ‘New Slang’ is as good a candidate as any. I recently slipped it onto a playlist for my daughters and they were both obsessed in no time. The rest of Oh, Inverted World has a similar appeal.

So that wraps up my look back at 2001, a very strong year for music. Next time I revisit the Decades series I’ll be diving into the year 1973. See you then.

Shut out
Pimpled and angry
I quietly tied all my guts into knots
Gave up
On trying to make them
I figured it’d take ’em too long to look up

And besides
It was undeniably clear to me
I don’t know why
When every other part of life
Seemed lock behind shutters
I knew the worthless dregs
We’ve always been

Lucked out
Found my favorite record
Lying in wait at the Birmingham mall
The songs that I heard
The occasional book
Were the only fun I ever took
And I got on with making myself

And the trick is just making yourself

But when they’re parking their cars on your chest
You’ve still got a view of the summer sky
To make it hurt twice when your restless body
Caves to its whims
And suddenly struggles to take flight

Three thousand miles northeast
I left all my friends at the morning bus stop
Shaking their heads
“What kinda life you dream of?
You’re allergic to love”
Yes I know but I must say in my own defense

It’s been undeniably dear to me
I don’t know why
When every other part of life
Seemed locked behind shutters
I knew the worthless dregs we are
The selfless loving saints we are
The melting sliding dice
We’ve always been

One thought on “Song of the Day #3,992: ‘Know Your Onion!’ – The Shins

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    “Songs that changed your life” might be a good future theme week.😀

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