The pop-up window alerted me that the download was waiting. All I had to do was name my price. I let the cursor pulse and hide for a moment. I know Ben Walker had told me, the audience, anyone within earshot that the album was for free, we can just download it, it’s all good, go ahead.
I spied an old worn out grocery store receipt sitting on the coffee table: $8.49 for the six pack of beer. With tax the total by itself would have been something less than ten bucks. Ten bucks. Enough to buy each person in the band a beer that won’t taste like mouthwash and one to spare that they can stage a rock-paper-scissors tournament for. Ten bucks. Exactly what I regularly used to pay for music, what I used to charge people to purchase my own music, which even to my hyper judgmental, overtly biased, asteroid-sized ego, was nowhere near as good as what Ben and his mates were offering to give away for free.
When we went to see Rejectioneers play, Ben had just finished the first line of the chorus to “Get So Mad” when my wife turned to me and said she was glad we came out to see them. I was reminded of the song again when the Free-Times published their “Great Columbia Mixtape for 2011“.
There’s a lot to like about the tune, starting with the instrumental tracks that resemble an upbeat, lost Explosions in the Sky outtake from the Friday Night Lights soundtrack. There’s Ben’s unusual delivery in the verses: plaintive, nervous, slightly nasal and off-key at first; all building up to his manipulatively shifting from sour to sweet in the chorus, hoping to pry something from the object of his affection like Eric Cartman vainly hoping to squeeze one just one more favor from his mother or friends. It all adds up to my kind of catnip, one of those perfect sad sack bastard songs like the ones I love from Colin Hay or Matthew Good.
The fact these guys use our effectors is just gravy for us. Among the thrills of getting to do what we do is our connection to people who create art, music, design; the knowledge that what we create helps them, and what they create for all of us sometimes just can’t even be measured. There are great musicians out there, some on the biggest stages, many more in the trenches of your local haunts. From some of the ones here in Columbia, on an EP that was worth the ten bucks I volunteered towards their cause, I found my favorite song of the year. Go out and find yours. – Philippe