Blonde Redhead: A Different Kind Of Ache

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There's a seamless, poignant immediacy to Blonde Redhead's ambiguous "My Plants Are Dead." courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Blonde Redhead

There's a seamless, poignant immediacy to Blonde Redhead's ambiguous "My Plants Are Dead."

courtesy of the artist

Friday's Pick

  • Song: "My Plants Are Dead"
  • Artist: Blonde Redhead
  • CD: Penny Sparkle
  • Genre: Rock

There's a seamless, poignant immediacy in the way Blonde Redhead drops listeners into the thick of "My Plants Are Dead" after only a few bars, creating the sense that the music and story start in medias res. The core elements of the tune — the sleepy beat, the aqueous bass tones, the unsettling synth-scapes — converge at once, right alongside Kazu Makino's characteristic half-whisper. "I heard you on radio," she sings (though it's hard to tell for sure), adding, "I said they are my friends / Do you want your keys? / Your plants are dead." It's a loaded statement, not to mention reasonable grounds to fire most house-sitters.

Makino's angle becomes less ambiguous in the following stanzas (spoiler: it's about the intermingling of relationships and distance), but there's understated realism in her words. An innocent conversational piece like "What you been listening to?" segues into the more forthcoming "I'd like to see you before I leave," and culminates with the implicit motive of many broken-relationship discussions: "Tell me about hurting."

Blonde Redhead's members may not be strangers to haunting love songs, but "My Plants Are Dead" evokes a different kind of ache. It's not about the beginning of the end, or even some sort of tumultuous aftermath — just a bittersweet, transient interlude: a Thanksgiving break, an heirloom, or an old song on the radio.

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