Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 267
Fri. Dec 20, 2013
Today I watched the trailer for Spike Jonze’s new movie Her. A post-modern, artificially intelligent, love story between a lonesome Joaquin Phoenix writer her pens letters for clients and the sultry operating system voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The premise isn’t as preposterous as it sounds, how many of us have had “world wide webbed-long distanced internet” romances with lovers using only voices on page, e-mail, text and cell phones?
One of the songs that could be the theme of Spike’s film is The Breeders 2002 gem “Off You.” This Title TK treasure matches the mood of the film which director Jonze described as, “It’s this quiet, simmering electricity. I knew it was a love story and I wanted the emotions to be very simple and strong. Very base and not intellectual. The score is loneliness, it’s excitement, it’s romance, the score is pain, her pain and her love and her disappointments and all—it was a love story and maybe even more so a relationship story.”
Talking about songwriting in 2010, Kim Deal said this to The Cleveland Scene, “I can’t handle being part of a bad song. Writing a song is super easy. You can go to the library or bookstore and there’s actually a formula for writing songs. But here’s the hard part —writing a song I’m going to want to sing in front of people five years from now.” Deal definitely accomplished this with “Off You,” and over ten years later and not only are all Breeders fans still talking about this underrated Title TK gem but Spike Jonze has included Deal’s song on the film and soundtrack to his new film Her.
“Off You” isn’t the quintessential example of a typical Breeders song, in fact; it’s my favorite of any and all the songs that Kim Deal has ever written. I would argue that Deal has been trying to recapture the same spirit she created on “Off You.” If you don’t believe me listen to any of the new songs that Kim has released as iTunes singles like “Are You Mine” and especially “Likkle More.”
I am not alone in my love for Kim and The Breeders “Off You,” in fact, Drowned in Sound J.R. Moores said this about his favorite, and my own, Title TK track, when he wrote, “Off You’ is Title TK’s greatest moment, The Breeders’ greatest moment, one of alternative music’s greatest moments. Sadness and intrigue pour out of this frail lullaby in a way unlike any other record.” I wholeheartedly agree with J.R.’s take and so does Darren Levin of Faster Louder who named Title TK, home of “Off You” one of the most underrated albums of all time.
“Off You” would have just been a forgotten Title TK treasure, championed by J.R. Moores, Darren Levin and myself hadn’t Spike Jonze decided to add this Breeders vintage song of loneliness on the soundtrack to his new film Her. Kim has rarely talked about “Off You” during interviews and when she has mentioned this Title TK gem, Deal has praised her sister Kelley’s work on the song like when she told VH-1, “We were at the studio. ‘Off You’ sounds good. The bass is done, the guitar is done. Then Kelley wanted to play bass pedals. It came out as so obviously not a noise that would go with the song, but it sounded cool. Whenever I hear it, I say, ‘Kelley’s landed.” Kim is wrong, whenever I hear “Off You” it sounds like Deal has made her mark in one of the most unheralded songwriters of our generation. The way that Kim captures the sound of loneliness as an island is transcendentally emotional and timeless. Do yourself a favor and re-experience the magnificence that is The Breeders “Off You.” Sadness never sounded this eternally beautiful.