Hello everyone, my name is Paden Carter. I attended BYU-Idaho and graduated in Dec 2017 with a major in psychology. I play music in a band called vita nihil. I’ve known Jordan, the owner of The Ennui Project, for about three years now. I feel very fortunate to know someone as industrious and talented as he is. When he asked for volunteer writers for The Ennui Project, I took the opportunity to write about some of my favorite songs from the past. I could probably put a playlist together of a hundred songs, but this will work for the purpose of this piece. I hope you enjoy the songs I’ve chosen.
Abandoned Pools – “Tighter Noose”
The experimental and alternative nature of this music was super engaging to me as a kid. It taught me that transition from clean tone to mid-gain distortion is an effective tool for contrast. It taught me that heavy half-time drum beats and tremolo picking on guitar are an amazing spectacle. I learned that it’s okay to put strings in a rock song. The emotional nature of the lyrics fit the instrumentation quite well.
Coldplay – “Strawberry Swing”
The whole record this single is on (Viva la Vida) was really valuable to me as a kid. I learned what effect presentation of imagery looks like from this record. This was one of the first songs I listened to that I said to myself, “Oh, this is alternative rock.” Alternative rock is a pretty diverse genre by itself, and I think this song illustrates that. The clean tone spacey guitars combined with a solid downbeat-style drum beat really illustrates that good music can be simple too.
The Decemberists – “Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect”
The storytelling nature of this music was a very new thing for me as an adolescent. I thought it was cool to listen to the stories on this record. The Decemberists were my first experience with indie folk. Strange lyrics lines like, “Here in Spain I am a Spaniard / I will be buried with marionettes” really brought me into a world of profound and peculiar lyric writing.
mewithoutYou – “In a Sweater Poorly Knit”
The whole record this single is on (Brother, Sister) has been very good to me in rough times in my life. I discovered this record during my first experience with seasonal depression in the winter of 2009. The vocalist of this band (Aaron Weiss) uses a peculiar lyric writing technique by combining stories from The Bible with existential philosophy. I used to sing this song when I felt down and still do on occasion.
Placebo – “Special Needs”
When I was a kid I became very interested in indie music, if the reader hasn’t observed by this point in this piece. Placebo was one of the bands I gravitated toward because they were strange. The vocalist had that strange but distinct high and nasally mid-2000s voice. They did strange things with their music like use piano and delay. This song is one of the most typical Placebo songs – unique and strange but also catchy and jammy.