Talking Shit

Another YouTube Odyssey: From Spiritualized to the Ubiquity of Pachelbel

I can't remember what set it off now, but I've been on a massive shoegaze-revisiting kick lately, diggin' up the lovely space-rock extravaganzas I first zoned out to as a teenager. True fans of this stuff in Miami can probably be counted on my and maybe a friend's fingers and toes. (Hopefully some new people got schooled at PS14's recent Sunday-night shoegaze tribute gig featuring local acts like Map of the Universe.) Anyways, Slowdive, Spacemen 3, Swervedriver (and other bands that do not start with "S") -- bring 'em on. But one of my favorites has always been another S-band, the noodling, orchestral Spiritualized (ok, also an offshoot of Spacemen 3, helmed by the genius Jason Pierce).

So, while wasting time on YouTube the other day, I punched in "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space," both the title of the band's 1997 near-hit album, and its title track. You've possibly heard it in soundtracks for TV, film, etc. (most notably stateside in the remake of Vanilla Sky).

My favorite weird YouTube fan-created video for the song was the one below, a creepy but affecting pastiche of melancholy imagery from various movies -- mostly French, but also the Bjork-helmed musical tragedy Dancer In The Dark. (Seriously, that movie traumatized me, and I hadn't thought about it in a couple of years until this clip brought back that same slow-burn nausea).

Dig it: (the complete list of source films for the clip can be seen by visiting the video's URL):

But then I decided to read the video's comments (a great way to squeeze even MORE time-wasting out of YouTube). And then I realized -- no wonder I instinctively liked this song so much....

....It's sort of a reworked version of one of the most popular classical songs EVER: Pachelbel's Canon (or Canon in D-Major). To wit:

And of course it's not the only contemporary pop song to do so, or to at least use the same chord pattern. And I'm apparently the last music fan in the world to realize this. It's so ubiquitous that the comedian Rob Paravonian has created an entire bit called the "Pachelbel Rant," and it's hilarious.

Back to Spiritualized -- Jason Pierce is touring again, playing acoustic versions of his songs... Ehhh, seems almost antithetical to the original heavily textured sound, BUT, his voice still sounds great, and I would still dieeee to catch it live. Here's a clip from this past summer's Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona; dig the deee-licious gospel backup. -- Arielle Castillo

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Arielle Castillo
Contact: Arielle Castillo