Five songs about forgiveness

Categories: 5ingles
Lee_Fields.jpg
Won't you give Lee Fields another chance?
Ask yourself: are you over it, or are you going to nurse a grudge? How long are you going to be mad at someone close to you for a perceived sin or sin of omission that ultimately doesn't mean that much? The good news, of course, is that modern pop music has a great deal on hand to fit your mood no matter which side of the forgiveness coin you happen to find yourself on right now. This week, 5ingles offers five songs directly or tangentially related to forgiveness.

5. Carina Round, "Pick Up The Phone"

Angle: begging shamelessly for forgiveness 

Volume: Sorta like the Saturday Night Live "Red Flag" skit, but not quite as cringe-inducing. Maybe key is the answer to this question: is the narrator reliable? If she isn't, you really shouldn't head the chorus' call. Yet "Phone" and the rest of Tigermending are so frightfully alluring that you might not be able to resist. 

Scene: any scene from Fatal Attraction, really 

4. Grass Widow, "Goldilocks Zone" 

Angle: withholding forgiveness 

Volume: Is there any worse phrase to hear in the middle of a contentious lover's quarrel than "I don't know you"? (Maybe "just drive.") Grass Widow make the not-quite-silent treatment garage-pop bewitching and topsy turvy, at the very least. 

Scene: the one where your nervous, almost choked "I love you" isn't reciprocated in kind, or at all

3. Scarcity of Tanks, "Forgiveness" 

Angle: withholding forgiveness with extreme prejudice 

Volume: Matthew Wascovich's poetry is the scaffolding around which most Scarcity of Tanks songs are built, but to my mind he's adding color to a palatte that's already streaked with sonic viscera and gore, and the title is oxymoronic because the level of conflict and karma-crushing is so insanely high. "Forgiveness" is three minutes of all-out enmity - the kind of enmity that bangs hard in the car on Monday mornings. 

Scene: nothing says "you will never live this down" like throwing up on your bro while moshing at a Wolf Eyes gig

2. Lee Fields and the Expressions, "Still Hanging On" 

Angle: begging for forgiveness 

Volume: There's never a winner in soul ballads like this, is there? You know the narrator isn't going to get the girl back. The girl gets all depressed because the narrator wants her back. And the girl's new steady has to deal with the girl's depression because she ran into the narrator at the Safeway or Laundromat or whatever. But "Still Hanging On" is wonderfully expressive and potent nonetheless - Fields is capable of playing the heartstrings, not just tugging at them - and it wouldn't surprise me if somewhere one MFA candidate is luring another MFA candidate back into his arms right now with this song. 

Scene: Say Anything, the boombox held aloft, you know

1. The DDN, "STRONG (the almighty gays at Christmas in America mix)" 

Angle: fuck forgiving homophobes or accepting their fucking forgiveness under any circumstances whatsoever 

Volume: Twisting and turning the public statements of established politicians is a great way for an aspiring politician to make his or her mark, but there's no reason constituencies can't get into the act. And while the DDN engages in culture-jamming tactics that aren't especially new - cf. Plunderphonics, Negativland, et al - "STRONG" delights in methodically mad-libbing right-wing demagogue boilerplate so that anti-gay rhetoric seems to endorse the very population it seeks to demonize. Even better, this surrealism is so warped and slurred that it's like tripping balls at a Deep South NRA revival meeting. 

Scene: the Kentucky Derby - decadent and depraved yet startlingly liberated
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1 comments
Dan Hylton
Dan Hylton

Well, it's hardly "modern pop," but it's hard to beat The Who's mini-opera "A Quick One While He's Away" for a message of pure, full-on forgiveness.

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