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Weekend Earworms: Dear and the Headlights

Weekend Earworms: Dear and the Headlights

An estimated 92% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things, ever. We here at Nerdist are dead set on bringing you those types of songs—even if only for the weekend. So shove this into your grey matter!

Isn’t it annoying when someone wants to tell you about a weird dream they had? The fact that a person could think what they dreamed about would be at all interesting to anyone else is so incredibly weird and frankly a bit rude. The nerve of some people.

So, I had this dream last night that I had already written about this band a while back. I woke up and was sure I had written an earworms article and used some of the same songs. Ultimately, as far as I can tell, I have done no such thing as of yet. Of all the Weekend Earworms editions (we’re almost at a year!)  – this band has yet to be featured until today. I’m still working through my revitalized old iPod and not much new music has hooked my ears recently so we’re still in “Blake shares bands that have long since broken up” mode.

Dear and the Headlights were an indie rock band from Arizona and unfortunately disbanded back in 2011. While their discography only consists of two albums, what they did with those 25 songs across both of them is indie rock magic. It’s a very rare occurrence when you can’t choose the better album and, if given my druthers, I’d share each and every song Dear and the Headlights released. Of course I wont, but if you’re looking for solid albums with tons of re-play potential, buy them.

“Skinned Knees and Gapped Teeth”

Part of my obsession with both albums is the incredibly poetic lyrics and strange cadence to them that almost seem to not sync with the music at all. The lyrics, separated from the music, are in and of themselves their own song. This track off 2007’s Small Steps, Heavy Hooves recalls growing up in the 80s and doing all the weird things that every kid did to some extent. I never tried to make a Speak & Spell swear but I did put rock music in Teddy Ruxpin instead of his story tapes.

“I’m Bored, You’re Amorous”

If I have any influence on listening habits, put this song on with good headphones. Sure, it’s a simple cross fade technique of the guitars, but it makes the song so much fun. Not to mention Ian Metzger’s vocals are phenomenal when pumped straight into your brain. The earnestness (sincerity, not the “Hey Vern!” type) in the lyrics and vocals have always been incredibly impressive. The song “I Just Do” off the same album might be one of the most honest love songs in existence.

“I’m Not Crying. You’re Not Crying, Are You?”

Now, I only casually pretend to be an expert on music but the first track off their second (and last) album, Drunk Like Bible Times, is fairly condemning to the fate of the band. The song itself builds to these short spurts of up-tempo’d lyrics that feel like a sprint you didn’t plan on making while the lyrics paint the picture of a performer not happy in the situation they’re in. If lines like “Ain’t it hard when you discover that the only thing you’ve ever loved is passing your hat/and anything that’s got a pulse is doing just the same” are at all autobiographical to the band, then it’s no wonder they’ve since broken up. But man, such poetic lyrics.  Speaking of…

“Carl Solomon Blues”s

Written by Metzger after being inspired by an Allen Ginsberg poem, this song (named for Ginsberg’s friend and fellow prose poet Carl Solomon) sounds like it could be pulled from the pages of their work.

Alright. One more and then we’re done.

“I Know”

I’m likely reading way too into things but the last song on Drunk Like Bible Times seems to perfectly book-end the vibe of “I’m Not Crying. You’re Not Crying, Are You?” To me, it seems it’s literally a goodbye message sung by the entire band to their fans saying that they just can’t do it anymore.

Conjuring up our melancholy
No that can’t go on.
Certain our sadness was necessary
Oh we’ve been so wrong.
And all that distance that we dispatch won’t ever help us feel less alone.

Stop all that dark and senseless brooding
Sing a different song.
Don’t get dramatic, this ain’t the movies,
Turn the camera off.
Yeah, all that acting seemed fun at first
But we’ve been playing this role for too long.

Now, I’m probably completely full of crap in my theory here because the band was together for a few years after this album was released, but it sort of seems like they knew it was coming. If the song was in fact a farewell to listeners then it might explain why I think it’s one of the best ends to an album I can think of.

What are your thoughts on Dear and the Headlights? Did you ever catch them live? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

Image: Dear and the Headlights / Equal Vision
Blake Rodgers writes for Nerdist from Chicago, IL where he lives happily with his Guinness World Record for High Fives. You can be his pal by following him on Twitter (@TheBlakeRodgers)

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