This week on Uborka, we have all been asked to contribute songs to a forthcoming Official Uborka Mix CD. After a surprisingly brief period of consideration, I have chosen this criminally undervalued single from 1980. You can read about it (and listen to it) here.
OK, so I can’t really claim that this song represents my blog. It does, however, represent an important period of transition in my life.
Like so many people (if I only I had known it), I had spent most of my adolescence wrapped up in that particular blend of self-absorption, self-pity, self-hatred, self-subordination and self-consciousness which is the particular prerogative of the Young And Sensitive.
But, of course:
a) My suffering was unique in its awfulness.
b) No-one else had ever suffered like me.
c) No-one else could possibly understand how I felt.
d) Because everybody else hated me and no-one cared. Obviously.
e) Therefore, my suffering was all everybody else’s fault. Bastards.
Naturally, one of the best ways of enjoying this condition was to identify with the lyrics of popular songs of the day – because who else but pop lyricists could possibly articulate my pain?
However, it took a special kind of song to both define and satirise my pain… and this is the unique strength of A Song From Under The Floorboards. With a delicious, almost gleeful sense of sardonic bitterness, singer Howard Devoto is positively revelling in his self-abasement on this track. By the end of the song, he and his band sound positively jaunty about it.
When you have reached the stage where you can actually poke fun at your own angst, then maybe you have also accumulated enough self-knowledge to begin to turn a corner on it. This is where A Song From Under The Floorboards found me.
Every word of this lyric is drenched in personal resonance and significance for me. It is the perfect articulation of my eighteen-year-old state of mind. Having just rediscovered it after over twenty years, listening to this song takes me back to that time – but affectionately, and with wry amusement. It helps me reconnect with the very different person that I once was.
And it might very well be my favourite song of all time.
(Well, either that or Weak Become Heroes by The Streets… but that’s another story.)
Oh, and musically speaking: it’s utterly glorious, of course. Drenched in melody and texture. Why not take a listen for yourself?