February 10, 2005

The Time I Got Hit by a Car

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In 2004, folk music became the new dancepunk. Hipsters everywhere went from pretending to like dancing all night in clubs to pretending to like sitting Indian-style all day in grass fields. How the hell did this happen? I was as tired of dancepunk as everyone else and am not particularly averse to folk music, but these two genres are the exact opposite of each other. Hopefully whatever 2005’s big trend ends up being isn’t nearly as befuddling.

That being said, I’m perfectly happy for most of the artists who have profited from last year’s folk craze, even Devendra Banhart, whom I watched sip from a Styrofoam cup between ninety-second ditties about bodies of water a couple summers ago when he opened for Xiu Xiu — a gig I honestly believed he’d earned out of pity for being Jamie Stewart’s boyfriend or something. Vashti Bunyan, however, can be shipped off on a rocket to the sun for all I care. I was duped into buying a copy of her re-released Just Another Diamond Day and I will never forgive her for my stupidity.

When I read that mint copies of the original vinyl pressing had been purchased for up to one thousand dollars at auctions in the past, I was stupefied. One thousand dollars! Now it only costs eleven bucks to buy one CD. I’d be a fool not to buy it, I thought to myself. So I ordered it online and awaited its arrival with high anticipation.

I opened the package, saw the album’s cover, and immediately knew that I had screwed up. The ambiguously named Vashti was a girl. Damn the Internet and its tiny pictures. (I don’t intend to sound sexist, but there’s a reason I’ve never owned any Joan Baez records.)

When I played the CD for the first time, all of my worst horrors were realized within twenty seconds. “Just another diamond day/ Just a blade of grass/ Just another bale of hay/ And the horses pass.” Because of this single purchase, my Natalian attempts at living a regret-free existence were thwarted. The songs were so quiet that, even when turned up to full volume, I had to press my speakers right up against my ears to hear anything at all.

I am incapable of either liking or disliking this music, which is precisely why Just Another Diamond Day infuriates me so greatly. Listening to Vashti Bunyan excites me no more than sitting alone in a silent white room for forty minutes. Hers is the music of after-school detention and doctors’ waiting rooms — the very sound of boredom.

Archived article by Ross McGowan