Today, if I am not mistaken, is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. I’m not sure why we ever needed such a day to exist, though I do understand culture has been leaning toward the anti-hero (and rough-hewed regard for grammar) for years now. There’s also still something mystical about sailing as opposed to other modern modes of transit… stuck out in the ocean with literally nothing but water as far as your eyes can see. It’s a weird thing to romanticize, but that’s not really the point of this blog, much as the point of the day’s popularity is less to do with real pirates and more to do with how pretty Johnny Depp looks in eyeliner. I digress. Onward!
I came across Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer one year when my fellow employees leveraged our manager to let us all dress as pirates for this, most honored of days. I took it upon myself to make a CD of pirate themed music, which I am sure comes as a shock to one and all. I also put together a pretty sweet costume. More important, though, was the music, and I went diligently into the stratosphere, looking for everything and anything about pirates.
The results were uninspiring, each example largely culled from the same wheelhouse of pseudo sea-shanty. There were rakish punk bands, roguish comedy troupes, probably a spare hardcore band or two, and not a lot else. Everything felt like a novelty, like the pirate aisle of an iParty store… the fascination with swashbuckling seemed to spur bands to simply try to affect the mindset and lifestyle, aping but never inspiring. Yet somewhere in all the morass was a little band with a ridiculously large name. It was the name that forced me to listen, but the music quickly made me a fan.
The thing about Zolof is, they SOUND like the band you’d find in a happy pill of similar name. They’re fuzzy and enthusiastic nine times out of ten, and their songs are as infectious as their vocalist’s energy. The thing that made this song stand out at first, though, was that there was nothing inherently dark and stormy and pirate-y in the music. It’s feel-good music through and through, and totally relatable for anyone who has been over the moon attracted to anyone. As for the title, it becomes part of a euphemism, not the basis for a whole song. That is to say, it works outside of the context of hook-hands and bandannas.
In that flirty cleverness, the sugary hooks, and the overall cuteness of the content (shades of manic pixie, if I’m using the lingo correctly), I found myself addicted to what could well be the Rainbow Brite of music. The planned mix CD fell apart pretty quickly. On the other hand, within the month I had placed an order for what was, at the time, Zolof’s entire catalog. I would listen to their well-under-30-minute full length regularly on early mornings to wake myself up (a sort of coffee substitute, perhaps?) and it may well have become my most spun disc for that reason. So while you all celebrate what you will, I will be thankful that even the silliest reasons can connect us to wonderful music.
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