I’m From Barcelona
I passionately love this band, named after a character in a Spanish show that inaccurately yells out “I’m From Barcelona” whenever placed in an uncomfortable situation. Their debut album, Let Me Introduce You To My Friends, presents to the listener a 27 member band of Swedes, one of whom acts as dancing bear during live shows, with that name, and produces songs with remarkably simple structures, catchy hooks, and legitimate musical ability. It is an absolute treat.
At little over 35 minutes, the album breezes by, starting off with one of my favorite songs “Oversleeping.” Mimicking the panicked feeling when the realization of a tardy wakeup creeps into one’s mind at an exponential rate, the song begins with rustling, followed by the all too dreaded sound of an alarm clock going off. Then drums kick in, echoing loudly through the hungover brain before lead singer jumps in bemoaning his faith: “Damnnnnnn oversleeping again, Damnnnnnn I can’t believe I did it once again!” So begins a delightful trek through the most random, less horrible than you remember, and at times uplifting song themes I have ever heard.
Following Oversleeping, 11 other tracks guide the listener through such topics as stamp collecting, chicken pox, and tree houses to name just a few. Each song follows the most basic of structures, starting with a verse, chorus, most often the same verse repeated, chorus, bridge, chorus. Typically I find these types of songs somewhat dull. But my god I just cannot get over how wonderful these tunes sound, each one forcing you as a listener to think back to those random childhood hobbies and friends. These songs also deal with the pain of childhood, forcing us to confront those less than idyllic times that we have glossed over in our over-romanticized memories of childhood, like getting sick or being scared. But as Alex warmly cajoles us on Ola Kala, “Don’t be Afraid, Cause Everything Is Going to Turn to Be Ok.” But that’s not what I tend to take away from this album; those are merely images I conjure up while listening to the album.
The end of oversleeping dissolves into a jumble of voices, each cajoling the others to “forget that it’s Monday, and pretend that it’s Sunday.” I tend to run 4-7 minutes behind the rest of the world, and as such am in constant rush. I always ensure that this song gets put in the rotation as I scramble to make a deadline somewhere. On the many days I can merely wish that it was Sunday, hearing just a tidbit of this album keeps me going through the day. I think it’s because deep down I know that the character in the song decides to turn the alarm off and go back to whatever’s important to them, whether it’s sleep and a day of relaxation, or to cuddle back up with someone they spent their entire childhood searching for.
Guest Post by Sid Mitra (TT)