Thursday, March 19, 2009

7 Musicians Who Need a Hug


A month ago, we caused a bit of an uproar with a piece that had us doling out punches to musicians that we felt deserved them [8 Musicians Who Need a Punch in the Face] and we sort of felt bad (for a second or two, that is). This time around, we just want to spread some love, so we’ve come up with our choices for the musicians we’d most like to share a hug with.

A few weeks back, during a recent Radio Exile huge chain email, we started kicking around the idea of creating a new list and having our active staff members contribute one artist that they were interested in hugging. They weren’t told if it was a nice hug, a friendly hug, a “sexy time” hug - there were no restrictions, just hugs. And once again, this list had to be extended to 7 when one of the writers desperately wanted to hug a set of twins.

Without further ado, I would like you to introduce you to 7 Musicians Who Need a Hug.


Do you have that friend that speaks it terrible cliches each time he goes through a breakup? Maybe you got a glimpse of his terrible poetry on his blog or scribbled on some napkins next to a bottle of Zima in his bedroom? Well, this friend is Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional [MySpace]. Does Chris really want to be “anywhere, with anyone, making out”? Does he realize that he could mean with me, making out with me? The first time you hear the never ending strings of cliches Modge Podge’d together with the tears of a 15 year old girl who was just dumped by Facebook status message, it’s kinda cute. They’re kinda clever, but the more you listen, the more you’ll wonder if this guy exists a reality besides the one of a 33 year old shut-in where every girl broke his heart. If you were ever wondering who the phrase “Hug it out, bitch” was written for, it’s Chris Carrabba. – Rob Blatt

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I’m not a Smiths fan by any stretch of the word. In fact, I pretty much despise most of the music Morrissey [MySpace] and company wrote. Considering his style is so slit-your-wrist dismal, it’s amazing so many are in love. So sad. For this reason, the Moz needs the biggest of all hugs, someone to tell him that everything will be okay; and to stop being a bitch. Lighten up, dude. – Elie Z. Perler

Morrissey - “Something is Squeezing My Skull” (Live on Jimmy Kimmel)


I want to hug Jeff Mangum, the reclusive genius behind Neutral Milk Hotel [Official Site] who disappeared after the release of his masterpiece, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (until making an appearance at a Pinkberry, that is). Jeff needs a hug. He couldn’t take the intense passion Aeroplane inspired in his fans so he split. Disappeared. Went all Kerouac on us. But it’s okay Jeff. We still love you. Even if you never give us another song, we love you. And us uber fan boys, we’re not all that bad. Sure, we’re passionate about your music but we’re not going to go all Mark David Chapman on you. So I want to hug you and let you know that we, your fans, we’re all right. We’re nice people. All we want to do is just hug you. So come back into the public and hang out with us. We can all hug it out.

I also have a second, ulterior motive for hugging Jeff Mangum. Like the biblical begger who believe that she would be healed just by touching Jesus’ robe, to hug than man who created Aeroplane would undoubtedly convey to me the genius that resides in the man, forever setting me on the narrow path of musical brilliance. So come on Jeff/Jesus, can I just touch your robe? Please?

On second thought, maybe this is why Jeff Mangum doesn’t appear in public anymore. – Tom Williams

“In the Aeroplane Over The Sea” (Live)


Ever since the first time I heard “5 Years Time,” I’ve wanted to give Charlie Fink of Noah and the Whale [MySpace] a nice big squish. It may not be the whistling of PB&J’s “Young Folks,” but this song is ridiculously catchy and should be everywhere by now. And it’s definitely not your parent’s folk music.

Charlie delivers each Noah song sweetly in his occasional off-key, warbling voice. I adore his imagination and hypothetical, completely relatable lyrics. Rather than conveying a screaming infidelic Dashboard Confessional “pleeease hug me!” the band has more of a shoving your feet awkwardly into the pavement, lower lip biting “can I have a hug?” vibe. Sign me up.

But let’s get to the juice of the matter - why Charlie Fink would want a hug from me. Well, the obvious would be “Why not?” (has anyone ever passed up a hug?) But in the rare instance where that didn’t work, I could try using his lyrics against him, saying, “if you give a little love, you can get a little love,” or reasoning with him that a hug could help solve his problem of maybe needing “a new cologne.” I would also assure him of the following:

Assurance # 1: I will not ask him the story behind “Second Lover,” even though it’s the song that really makes me want to cuddle him up. Evidence:

Assurance # 2: I will not morph into groupie-chick and gush all over him… or pick lint off his apparel.

Assurance # 3: I will not morph into indie-chick and start talking really fast about how his songs have totally influenced my life, mahhn, and like are totally relevant in today’s turbulent society

Assurance # 4: Upon hugging, I will not start quoting David Lynch movies (ie. “BABY WANTS BLUE VELVET!”), even though the band likes Lynch, because that would just be creepy.

Assurance # 5: Post hug, I may or may not ask him if he could go for a bowl of mac and cheese. I feel like he could be all about this.

Reasonable, yes? Just a thank you hug for being so awesome.

Oh, and for the record, my wanting to hug Fink has nothing to do with his uncanny resemblance to my favorite character from the O.C., Adam Brody. Promise. - Holly Perry


Ella, ella, eh, eh, under my umbrella, ella, ella, etc. Kinda makes you want to punch her, too, right? Wrong. Domestic violence isn’t funny, no matter what. Even these awkward Canadian public service announcements, which I consider incredibly disturbing, but still somehow cartoonish, don’t deserve a chuckle.

Canadian Domestic Abuse PSA - Watch more Funny Videos

For those of us who’ve been living under a rock, rock, rock, eh, eh, for the last month, Rihanna was attacked by her boyfriend [Brown v. Rihanna], Chris Brown, and pictures of the injuries hit the internet shortly thereafter. Folks, you know you’re famous when your douchey boyfriend and his beating of your ass is more entertaining to discuss around the office, than, say, a chimpanzee ripping someone’s face off. When that’s the sort of fame we’re talking about, that’s when I get empathetic. Rihanna, c’mere. Let me give you a hug. – James Mitchell

Tegan and Sara [MySpace] might seem like an odd pick at first. On the surface, their music and on-stage back-and-forths might give off the same indifferent hipster vibe so many other Canadian indie rockers seem to breath in the place of oxygen. Their last record, The Con, was just as energetic as anything else they’ve done, and slowly but surely permeated the landscape as a great release from a great band who get better with every new song. Tegan and Sara are more popular than ever, and their career path seems to be going nowhere but up.

But as a longtime fan of the group I can’t help but look a little closer, and my view of them is tinged with great joy for their success but also a little sympathy for what this success could be doing to them. Any real dissertation on the meaning of The Con has to include the oceans of sadness, longing, and loss that linger just underneath the energetic flowerbed of dual guitars, obvious most on the song “Call It Off,” where they sing “I could have been something you’d be good at/You could have been something I’d be good at.” Breaks your damn heart, and makes you worry just a little bit more.

Then there’s the tour DVD they put out in 2006 called It’s Not Fun, Don’t Do It! That, mixed with the few interviews I’ve seen with the band, all add up to one definitive hug. It’s not a sexual thing. It’s not a worshipping thing. The hug I want to give is one that hopes to wrap the two of them (and the band that surrounds them) in pure warm empathy. I want them to know that they’re appreciated on artistic and personal levels that don’t require pressure or character or even a response. Selfishly, I want to know that they’ll be okay, too.

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