CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share

The Bones of What You Believe
Year :
Mates of State / The XX / Robyn

If one has any hope of being “objective” about one’s taste in music (which, really, is inherently subjective), a basic prerequisite has to be the ability to compartmentalize the actually bad from the seemingly bad. That is not my objective here.

Is CHVRCHES’ “The Mother We Share” a bad song? Probably not. And somehow, there is not a song that I’ve heard in 2013 that I’ve had an irrational hatred of more than this minor indie-pop hit. My experience of listening to this song is the sonic equivalent of petting a cat in the wrong direction. I end up irritated, dishevelled looking, and ready to attack the nearest thing with a pulse.

“The Mother We Share” is not a particularly interesting song, though that’s not my beef with it at all. Lyrically it’s a bit dense, requiring a few listens to really sink in, but vocalist Lauren Mayberry’s lyrics cut through the mix like a laser beam. More than that, there’s no nuance to speak of–the song is exactly what it purports to be. But this is no different than any other pop song out there and, certainly, “The Mother We Share” is smarter than most.

My hatred of CHVRCHES’ music says more about who I am than it does the band itself. As the great philosopher Yeezus once said, “Everything I’m not made me everything I am.” Disliking certain kinds of music has always been a tried-and-true way of defining oneself, particularly when coming into one’s own as a music fan. There is no better fuel for a contrived high-school persona than a little well-aimed vitriol. But… I like to think that I’ve moved past the days of disliking something in that sort of proactive way. “The Mother We Share” pushes my buttons on a more subterranean level, somehow tapping into my subconscious fears about life itself. This song has put me into an existential funk.

Luckily, CHVRCHES has also provided me with a valuable opportunity for self reflection. In picking apart my extreme distaste for the “The Mother We Share,” I’ve unearthed what believe to be four characteristics that are guaranteed to alienate certain populations of listeners from any song. That CHVRCHES exhibit some of these traits is actually a good thing–it proves that they have some clear notion about what they’re trying to do musically. In other words, they have an identity. Moreover, these characteristics are purely subjective in their own right, and therefore valuable for anyone trying to understand their own irrational hatred of anything. They can be mapped to any song that you happen to dislike for, seemingly, no good reason.

I give you The Daily Soundtrack’s Irrational Hatred Playbook.

Play #1: Make Me Feel Old

No one likes feeling old. This much is obvious. Making people feel old is a surefire way of alienating (and also guaranteeing) a certain listener-base. CHVRCHES does this for me in, not one but two different ways. First, is the band’s aesthetic itself. Synth heavy electo-pop is certainly nothing new. In fact, it’s been a mainstay of indie music for about the last decade… which is exactly long enough for me to have totally aged out of its target demographic. Secondly, “V” instead of “U”? Really? Immediately, I wanted to write this off as some kind of arbitrary hipster affectation if it weren’t for Play #2.

Play #2: Make Me Feel Stupid

According to the repository of all knowledge past and present, Wikipedia, CHVRCHES adopted the “V” instead of a “U” for purely pragmatic reasons. Specifically, they are practicing good SEO! Don’t believe me? Try to Google information about the band Girls or the band Women. I’ll wait. That I run a website and didn’t see this for myself, let alone think of it for my own projects, proves that CHVRCHES are digital natives with marketing acumen well above my own. I hate them for it.

Play #3: Make Me Think About Things I Don’t Want To Think About

This seems obvious, but worth mentioning. A contemplative, thoughtful song about my mom? Okay, I guess. A twee, power-pop song about my mom? Please, no.

Play #4: Expose My Irrational Hatred

I am apparently the only one on the internet who doesn’t like CHVRCHES. This holds a mirror up to my irrational hatred, which in turn, ups the ante. Some combination of Plays 1-3 is of course a perquisite for this. But, Play #4 also requires a critical mass of people who do not share your irrational hatred. That feeling of isolation, being left out, of simply not getting it… that is a rare feat. It’s that play that launched a thousand “Over-rated”s.

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(@YahSureMan) is the Founder of The Daily Soundtrack and Bark Attack Media. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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