I have been a fan of the Fruit Bats for a long time. Their music has also been transparent and often feels like it sees straight through any facade. This interest has only compounded with the release of “Absolute Loser,” the most recent album. One song in particular really grabs me: Birthday Drunk. To me, it’s a perfect song. A capitulating guitar rhythm you can just vibe to, a perfectly produced snare (for the song), passionate lyrics and an ever moving song structure.
The song starts out with base instrumentation that does not stop the entire song. This works because of the moving pieces that are added as the song progresses. At the start of the second verse, a shaker and violin appear right as the song lyrically takes a turn. See, at first glance, getting drunk on your birthday is fun and light-hearted. You may have a young love and are in that beautiful bubble. But time moves forward and we can be blind to what is to come. The song moves forward and talks about being stoned at Christmas and a fading love that used to be so pure. When we get to the next verse, we hear, “to forget all you’ve ever known.” Really think about that line and its context in the song. Everything you thought you knew, you have forgotten because of something so seemingly innocent.
I know what you’re thinking, how could this possibly be a “perfect song?” The subject matter is irrelevant, but what isn’t is how passionate the lyricists portrays the words and how you can feel this emotion as if he is opening his heart to you at 3 am. As the song progresses, the band brings inappropriate instruments to match the degradation of the lyrics. A violin howls in the second verse but remains driving with the shaker. Between verse two and three, we get a larger string section further pushing the mood of the tune. All of the sudden there's a break. There is a realization of what has happened. The fourth verse is dedicated to remembering the first and what it was like in the beginning. Listen as the instrumentation falls back to what it originally was. A perfect circle. A perfect song.
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About the curator - Nick Malpezzi
Nick Malpezzi is a lover of nature, cats, beer, and music. When he’s not at his day job he is recording artists, working on films, writing music, taking pictures and enjoying life. He believes complexity is derived from simplicity, which is seen in his musical tastes and original productions.