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Monday, June 23, 2008

Jets to Brazil - “I Typed For Miles”

posted by on June 23 at 15:28 PM


I recently reacquired a digital copy of Jets to Brazil’s stellar first album, Orange Rhyming Dictionary (to go with my orange vinyl double LP, natch), and damn if it doesn’t hold up pretty well for those times when you wish Blake Schwarzenbach had recorded just one more Jawbreaker record. Especially heavy in my rotation lately is “I Typed For Miles.” Back when the record came out, my friends would rag on this song because the opening guitar part sounds so much like the opening to “Heart Shaped Box.” In the context of the song, though, it seems obviously intentional.

From the titular/lyrical references to Truman Capote’s famous dis of Jack Kerouac (“That’s not writing, that’s typing”) to the song’s fixation on “love songs on the radio tonight,” the song is as much about loneliness as it is about writer’s block (both share a strain of self-doubt). For the (song-)writer, the song on the radio is not only a reminder of absent/lost love but also a source of creative/professional anxiety. (It’s not hard to imagine Schwarzenbach, who once opened for Nirvana, feeling such weight attached to “Heart Shaped Box.”) The best part, though: The song’s accusatory coda, screamed in hoarse refrain, seems to fly in every direction, its meaning shifting fluidly from one utterance to the next, hitting every targetóKerouac, the song on the radio, the absent lover, finally the writer/singer himself: “You keep fucking up my life.”

If that isn’t writing, then it is some damn fine typing.

RSS icon Comments


Agreed on all counts!

That album has held up sooooo well.

Posted by bailee. | June 23, 2008 4:44 PM

Word Eric. That album's fucking amazing.

Posted by Benji | June 23, 2008 6:19 PM

just listened to this record last week. still a classic

Posted by brian cook | June 23, 2008 8:40 PM

Back in 99/2000 I'd have a different favorite song that I'd have to listen to two or three time every time I listened to it (which was at least once a week). These days I go between Lemon Yellow Black, Conrad, and King Medicine. The whole second half of the album is outstanding.

Thanks to my iPod, I hardly ever listen to the whole thing anymore. I might have to do that now. I'm making my way through the "J"s in iTunes. I think it may be the strongest letter in my library-J Church, James Brown, Jawbreaker, Jimmy Cliff, Jets To Brazil, Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, Jurassic 5. Anybody got a better letter?

Posted by gillsans | June 23, 2008 10:40 PM

Jurassic 5?

Posted by lar | June 23, 2008 11:40 PM

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