Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
Does music make you cry? Well according to a 2018 study by the American Psychological Association that can tell you a lot more than whether you’re big blubbering emo kid, or a stone-hearted rockist. The basic theory goes, the point of music is to invoke emotions, so obviously sometimes those are going to be of the sad tears/happy tears variety. The research suggested that a whopping 89.8% of participants had been moved to tears by music, and of those who do like a good old weep, 63% were crying the sad variety while the other 37% were in a state of awe like wonder. Further research into the crying majority suggested that our reason for tears was closely linked to our personality traits, with the more neurotic blubbers likely to fall into the sad sobs group, and those more open to new experiences more likely to be struck weeping by the sheer wonder of it all.
This is obviously a rather simplistic summary (or a really good abstract), and while we can be moved to tears by the sadness of an album like Sufjan Steven’s Carrie & Lowell, or be blown away by the sheer wonder of a vocalist like Sharon Van Etten, there’s also a whole host of other reasons to cry your eyes out to music. Where does the collective anger at injustice that Onsind provoke fall into these categories? What about the way music can conjure memories of events and people unrelated in some ways to the song itself? How does this explain the sheer tear inducing joy that Rick James’ Superfreak brings to anyone who’s seen Little Miss Sunshine? Tears are a reflection of emotions, and emotions are bloody complicated, so if you want to have a little cry, have a little dance or scream along to every word, however you react to any piece of music, just embrace it, if you’re feeling something, then the music is doing its job.
A fitting mix of both awe and sadness certainly exists in the music of Canadian trio, Basement Revolver. The band have already received plenty of attention with a series of well received singles and EP’s, and last week released their much-anticipated debut album, Heavy Eyes. The superb record was the result of two years of steady growth for the band since they released their debut single, Johnny, back in 2016. The track is reprised here, neatly completing their journey from their earliest ideas through to the band you see before you today.
Recorded in the TAPE studio, where much of their previous material was recorded, Heavy Eyes is a record that expands on Basement Revolver’s sound in a multitude of directions. On the Alvvays-like dream-pop of You’re Okay, with its powerful message of learning to be comfortable in your own skin, they’ve never sounded more lush or beautiful; on the grungy, over-driven Wait and the thrashing noise of the title track, they’ve never sounded heavier. The care and attention that has gone into the years spent making this record shines throughout, the result is a detailed and stunningly recorded record.
At the heart of Basement Revolver’s sound though, remains the record’s one constant, the vocal dexterity and lyrical genius of Chrisy Hurn. Throughout the record, Chrisy seems to focus on deeply personal struggles, be they friendships, relationships, anxiety or depression, and manages to make them shine as something universally relatable. Perhaps fittingly, it’s the duo of tracks, Johnny and its companion piece Johnny Pt. 2, that provide the album’s highlight. The unidentified Johnny, is arguably the key player in this whole record, as we watch their relationship collapse, and then ask what happens after that end, and question whether anything else is possible beyond the relationships demise. Following the release of this most remarkable of debut albums, Basement Revolver have taken some time out to make us a mixtape of tracks that simultaneously have them singing and weeping, as Chrisy explains below.
“I’m realizing more and more that I love songs that I can just sing my guts out over dramatically, especially sad songs, and nothing makes me more happy. So here is a list of songs that I love to cry sing to.”
1. Let’s Find An Out – Snail Mail
We had the privilege of opening up a show for Snail Mail in our hometown this April, and it was so very good. I think that was the first time I heard this song, and I think I cried.
2. Interstate Vision – Lomelda
This song has gotten trapped in my head endlessly for the past year or so. I don’t know what it is about it that I find so addictive. It is just very good. Oddly enough I discovered it on Spotify. I guess I owe a big thanks to spotify’s analytics.
3. Boyish – Japanese Breakfast
Japanese Breakfast’s ‘Soft Songs From Another Planet’ has become a staple for me over the past year – ever since I did this interview with Michelle over the phone for my friend’s online zine (http://www.extremenonchalance.com/japanese-breakfast-interview-2017-extreme-nonchalance). I have been hooked ever since, and been lucky to see her play twice in the past couple of months.
4. Harvard – Diet Cig
This is just a very good song to cry sing to. Need I say more?
5. Plimsoll Punks – Alvvays
This is a bit more of a cheery song, to pick up your mood a bit before we delve deep into the heavy stuff. To be honest, I think Alvvays was the first band coming out of Canada that I felt I could really stand behind and love. They were a huge inspiration to me.
6. Wild Horses – The Sundays
I think this is just such a good 90s cover of an already great song. I first heard it in highschool when my friend Justine wanted to cover it at a coffee house thing. I hadn’t really been exposed to “secular” music yet – so, wildly, it was the first time I had heard any rendition of ‘Wild Horses’.
7. The Gold – Pheobe Bridgers Version of Manchester Orchestra
Okay, so Manchester Orchestra has been one of my top favorite bands for a very long time. Phoebe I have loved since I first heard ‘Motion Sickness’ last fall. When I heard this cover for the first time I melted. I actually gets inside all the pockets of my soul and just sits there in a painfully good way. It is so sad, and so so so good.
8. Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
Somehow this oldie makes it onto every playlist that I make. I think this song probably changed the world.
9. Mary – Big Thief
The line “my brain is like an orchestra playing on insane” is, in my opinion, one of the most beautifully written pieces of poetry – and it just starts of this magical song.
Heavy Eyes is out now via Fear Of Missing Out Records. Click HERE for more information on Basement Revolver.