You don’t have to like my taste in music. That’s kind of why it’s mine. And sometimes my taste sways between absolute garbage (like pop music) and the kind of thing that makes your brain dribble out of your head (like The Dismemberment Plan’s “Ice of Boston”).
Let me kick some knowledge about this song. It’s mostly the singer of the band talking about possibly the most depressing New Year’s Eve ever. That in and of itself is enough to get me to love a song. As you already may know, I have a history of some of the worst New Year’s in recorded history. When we meet the singer, he is drinking alone in his Boston apartment, waiting for the ball to drop. His is convinced that the ice in Boston is deceptive and relates that he slips on it every time. He strips naked in his kitchen and pours champagne all over himself then proceeds to take a phone call from his mother. Later, he is relating a story about meeting someone and makes the following claim – quite possibly my favorite lyric of all time:
So I guess the party line is I followed you up here.
Well, I don’t know about that.
Mainly because knowing about that would involve knowing some pathetic, ridiculous, and absolutely true things about myself that I’d rather not admit to right now.
If everything that I have mentioned so far makes you not-so-sad to have missed this band in concert, let me tell you this story:
I saw The Dismemberment Plan on their farewell tour in 2003 on what was possibly the hottest night of my entire life. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more uncomfortable. The night I listened to one of my friends have sex above my head was more comfortable. A few friends and I drove to St. Louis for the show. It was a very, very small venue – the size of an small dive bar. My roommate and I were shuttled into a holding pen (literally, it was fenced in) for people who were over 21. Our friends who were with us were not so 21 and ended up slammed near the front of the room. We were sweating so much that not only did we have sweaty armpits, but we appeared as though we were hosting our own wet t-shirt contest for really gross people. If this place had air conditioning, it was under-utilized. And the concert hadn’t even started yet. We left, briefly, during the opening act and had a beer in the bar next door, where 300 teenagers and 21 year olds weren’t crammed next to each other.
We returned to the show, which was fantastic, despite the sweating. During “Ice of Boston”, which even then was one of my favorite songs, they invited fans to come on stage. Of course, tonight all these fans were drenched in sweat. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen 50 slippery people go completely ape shit on a stage that was barely big enough for the band, but I got to that night.
For you, because I consider you friends, I offer this small gift. An mp3 of a live rendition of “Ice of Boston”. May it make you want to wish you were one of the slippery people onstage that night.
PS: If that little thinger doesn’t work up there, you can stream all the Dismemberment Plan’s amazing albums here.
9/17/10 PPS: This letter is being re-run in honor of The Dismemberment Plan’s reunion tour, which unfortunately does not include the Midwest at this time. MY FINGERS ARE CROSSED, because that would be awesome.