Are any of us capable of truly expressing how we feel right now? We are inundated with outrage, hatred, fucking Nazis, lies, violence, manipulation, racism, denial. It’s all whizzing by us so fast, leaving us spinning, nauseous and barely able to stand. What words exist to express this feeling of hopelessness and disorientation? I would argue there are no words strong enough.
Even music, mighty as it is at conveying emotion, seems to fall short, especially the uninspired, recycled and intentionless drivel we are plagued with day in and day out. The internet really has pushed the anyone-can-do-it ethos of punk rock to its absolute extreme, hasn’t it?
All that said, I’m ripe for the type of music Joyful Joyful makes and performs. No one sings the way Cormac Culkeen does, not anymore. Their singing is not cool, it’s not dejected, it’s not even angry; their voice is absolutely powerful, painful, hopeful and deeply moving. In particular, I’ve been getting gut punched by “Oh, Jubilation (Live January 29, 2017)” where Culkeen’s voice soars over Dave Grenon’s droney soundscapes. It’s the sound is salvation. It’s the sound of the feeling that stops us from giving up.
According to Joyful Joyful, their music is “about miracles, about love and sex, about our fallen world and that nameless aching longing in our chests.” It also has the power to relieve that hopeless feeling, if only for a brief moment. They conclude their bio with this beautiful and dark piece of advice: “Surely these are the last days; take your neighbour’s hand and say, ‘I feel ya.’” If you’re reading this and feeling scared or hopeless, listen to this band, keep your chin up and know that I feel ya and so do Joyful, Joyful.
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- Episode 05: The 2018 Polaris Music Prize Longlist - June 28, 2018
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