I’ll be the first to admit that over the last few years, perhaps no band has produced as consistently beautiful, ethereal music as Sigur Ros. Their three-album progresssion, Ageatis Byrjun, ( ), and Takk, has been a study in how to make engaging, lyricless music, without falling into the excesses and triteness of New Age or Pink Floyd 1982-present. So it bothers me that I’m about to level one of the most devastating criticisms one can about any music: There’s never a good or appropriate occasion to listen to Sigur Ros. The result is that as much as I like and respect Sigur Ros, I never find myself listening to them. Which leads me to wonder, do I even really “like” the music?
Driving music. No thanks. Too dreary, too slow. Maybe it’s because I seldomly drive and that I’m a bad driver to begin with. But, to me, driving requires constant attentiveness. You have to keep control of your car while competing with other drivers for road space. Sigur Ros puts you in a different world– one where everyone is gliding gracefully to no place in particular. This is not the world of driving. I know what you’re thinking: What about interstate driving, where your car and your mind are both set to cruise control. Trust me, you don’t need to add Sigur Ros to this already sleep-inducing combination.
Studying / personal background music. Now, I can’t read or study with music on in the background. But, even if I did, Sigur Ros would not be my choice. Sure, you want chill music when your attention is focused elsewhere. And the non-English whaling is less likely to distract you. But reading makes my eyes tired and makes me sleepy. Just like interstate driving, Sigur Ros is not going to help matters. It’s just better to leave the stereo off.
Cleaning music. Again, cleaning music should energize. Sigur Ros induces a reflective lethargy. Give me some coffee and some Clash instead. I’m trying to get things done here.
Party background music. Want to see the mood at a party go downhill, fast? From shots to “I’m sleeply; let’s leave”? Put on Sigur Ros. Nothing will ruin a party atmosphere like a sulky 8-minute tracks from ( ), which is good if you’re trying to get people to leave. But I’m talking party music here. For my money, the best party music is, depending on the crowd, All Eyez on Me, Homework, or London Calling.
Drug music. I don’t use drugs, so this really does nothing for me. Even so, it’s a shame to relegate the such beautiful, moving melodies to recreational drug use. Sigur Ros’s music is transcendental by itself. Coupling it with drug use would be drug use for the sake of drug use alone. Plus, any high-pitched, tweak-jam could serve as drug music. You don’t need Sigur Ros for this.
Funeral music. Admittedly, the glacially (I had to use “glacial” somewhere…) brooding songs of Ageatis Byrjun and ( ) are probably most appropriate for a funeral somewhere. But, how often are you at a funeral? (Hopefully, not often.) And, it’s kind of morbid to be listening to music because it makes for good funeral music, isn’t it? If you need an answer to that last one, well, here it is: yes.
Makeout music. Okay, aside from funerals, Sigur Ros may be most appropriate as makeout music. But note, it’s really a shame to relegate such beautiful music solely for such occasions. I mean, any Dave Matthews album would suffice as makeout music. Plus, again, Sigor Ros is a bit too slow and solemn. Are we mourning or mating? Trust me, try Moon Safari or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot instead.
So am I right, or am I right? Is there a “good” time to listen to Sigur Ros? And if not, what is the point of their music, or of my confessing to enjoy it?