pwr bttm

There are moments in your early life when you see yourself with such clarity that it’s almost embarrassing. It happens in dark public bathrooms, on trains, on buses, in those moments of estrangement when you are headed nowhere, where you see nothing, where everything seems to be falling apart for no apparent reason.

PWR BTTM‘s “LOL” is the song you would play in your headphones during those moments. I must interject myself to say that the phrase has always perplexed me. It does not come naturally to me because of its deceivingly complex nature. I’ve noticed when discomfort manages to evade a text convo, “lol” they say; when it’s actually a silly moment of absurdity “lol” they say, and when its all too sad and there’s nowhere left to go “lol” they say.

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PWR BTTM hits on all this and more with this track, exclaiming “I know that I’m always wrong / I didn’t know you could take such a shape.” It’s the colloquial made universal, it is language, it is feeling, it is thinking and it is being. There’s quite like the estrangement from self, one experiences when they discover that they’re queer, no longer a member of the straight and narrow. It throws you out of one world and into a wilderness in which you must find yourself and carve a new identity, one stranger yet closer to the truth of your soul. Vocalist Ben Hopkins really hits it on the head when they say, “When you are queer you are always 19.” It’s what throws us off but also what keeps us vital.

PWR BTTM’s Pageant is out May 12th on Polyvinyl.