Staggering Genius

In which stellastarr* melds with the universe

"My aspiration is to some day disappear. To completely disappear from everything as I know it, to completely escape to where no one will ever find me ever again. It's something that I always think about for some reason, something that will never happen. I've never told anyone that before. It's your one shining thing."

The shining high-gloss art, the distorted images, the addictive sound, the affected spelling with two r's and asterisk -- it's all somehow part of something bigger than the band and yet infinitely smaller than the music, and all seems to circuitously prove that nothing about stellastarr* is linear, yet everything is connected. So I'm back in the pinwheel, back in the sound of the last time I heard stellastarr*. It's later that same night and I'm running home from the Hi-Pointe, God bless those pitchers, running through a late-night early-morning hour, seeping in cacophonous glee that turns the name "Coco" into two then three then eight syllables as I sing along with Christensen. It's a beautiful image in a way, if only because for once, because of this music, it's an audible image: the feet pounding on the uneven sidewalk, the swoosh of the grass padding every misstep, the discordant bell of the laundry quarters chiming in my pocket, the breathless pulse of co-co-co. This is listening to stellastarr*, because stellastarr* is all of this. stellastarr* is the way paint looks close-up when your nose touches the canvas and the way velvet feels when you stroke it against the grain and jumping high and hard on wooden floorboards and extremely dank, dark rooms with insulation hanging from the ceiling and the feeling of the burns on your calves from leg-wrestling on Berber carpet while the babysitter sits on the couch sucking a sour-apple Blow Pop and being squished into the way-back of a station wagon with six other people who smell like puppy and hawking from the balcony of a high-rise apartment, wondering almost tangentially what your loogie hits on the way down.

At home I slip into an online cradle of music criticism and post, "Buy it or download it, I don't care, because if you play it at a party, stars will fall from the sky like sparkling rain and everyone will be happy." When I check again the next morning, I have only one reply. It comes from a 26-year-old neo-Brooklynite who writes a single line in a small, stark font:

"You are right about the stars."

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