Are we still alive, or are we transforming?
I’ve heard John Dwyer’s penchant for horror on plenty of songs by Thee Oh Sees. Dismantled skeletons used as tools. Bits of death littering the living room of an anonymous home. Coffins that nearly burst, perhaps from pressure produced by a steaming body, or perhaps from the banging of an angry ghost. I’ve always created a separate universe for such images, some place wildly colored and whacked out, not because I don’t believe in darkness, but because the sonics of Thee Oh Sees always shock me into the insane motion of a moment.
As Damaged Bug, John Dwyer exposes new horror, though perhaps that’s not quite it. Perhaps horror is hyperbolic. Perhaps as Damaged Bug, Dwyer exposes anxiety as ambience. Inescapable static.
While listening to Hubba Bubba for the first time, I was simultaneously answering texts while taking notes on songs. I stopped at the beginning of the penultimate track when I heard the line “I memorize, I hypnotize, fabricate feelings too.”
I think I’ve developed a split screen mind, constantly fracturing to form more and more windows to display more conversations, more observations, more realizations, all blinking briefly, then dematerializing.
I wonder if I’m the only failed experiment in the field of attentive awareness, though I doubt it.
I’m scared of accidentally generating a distracted heart, only loading and processing and reflecting. Repeating, no longer feeling.
Sometimes I can’t listen to every song on Hubba Bubba all at once. I need to put on an album that I can sing along to quietly if I want, taking comfort in all the stories and impressions I can still recall, because somehow sadness and nostalgia help me feel human again.
But, perhaps this is a sign of delusion.
If you unscrewed me at the seams to examine my identity, would you see vibrating guitar strings and little photographs and pages ripped from good books, as an accumulation of experience and impact, or would you see wires and lights and strips of metal, glowing like a city at night, as a result of overstimulation and dependency?
Are we transforming?
Should we take pills to control it?
Should we evacuate?