Today is our birthday. To be more precise, today, four years ago, David decided to put our idea of bringing longform love back to online music writing into practice and registered 1songday.blogspot.com. On August 9, 2008, I had only recently switched out of law into communications at Sydney University, the exact same course David had enrolled in (albeit combined with law, it’s funny how those things work) at the beginning of that year. Despite telling everyone we came across that we were entirely different people, this site, borne out of boredom and frustration with the quick-fix-no-love music blog aesthetic, would be yet another thing that we would embark upon together. I didn’t know many people who read blogs religiously four years ago, those that did seemed much cooler than us and evidently had their finger on the pulse. What I did know is that my overly-athletic, dangerously intelligent younger brother and I had one defining thing in common – we both loved discovering new music and sharing it with people. Our house was (and remains) full of friends coming over for Seidler CD mixtapes, later to be replaced by iPods and hard drives. It was probably this collective warmth of our favourite tunes, combined with my love for in-depth articles from the glory days of Rolling Stone, SPIN, Q and NME, that made us decide to do this whole crazy experiment in the first place. And so, with an offputting green background and a suggestive logo based around an apple, we threw caution to the wind and started talking about music to a phantom audience, many of whom we still don’t know. And the very first song we wrote about was ‘One More Night’ by Canadian band Stars.
Though this post is attributed to David, it sounds a lot like me. Of course, I can’t argue with history, and I kind of like the ambiguity of not knowing who flicked the switch way back when. If four years doesn’t sound like a long time to you, try and picture it in mathematical terms, which I could only do with the aid of a very forgiving calculator. On average, we write 5-600 words a day, 7 days a week. With the exception of the month we took off in 2010 when we both traveled around India, we’ve been pretty much consistently writing this blog without fail. That includes me nearly dying on a boat off Croatia, David’s extended stint in hospital with an exploded lung, six months in the US on exchange, exams, funerals, birthdays, engagements, break-ups and you know, lots of weekends. If you multiply that all together and divide it roughly by two, we’ve each devoted approximately 725,000 words to One A Day. That’s three quarter of a million words about music. Imagine if we’d focused all that energy into tech development. We’d be thrashing Zuckerberg by now.
I’ve been reminiscing over how terrible our writing used to be (otherwise known as: how far we’ve come) and it struck me that I hadn’t listened to this song by Stars, which I first heard in highschool and used to play every night before I went to sleep, in many years. Then I realised the original link was dead, and three computers later, I no longer even had the file. Now that I’ve found it again, I’m overcome by the same kind of feelings that I had as an overly-emotional, unnecessarily-complicated chain-smoking, parent-terrorising twenty-one year old, as well as some new ones. The sparse instrumentation in the verse – sombre bass, drums, hangover violas – is still executed to devastating effect after the grandoise orchestration of the opening, but I know it’s coming this time. And it used to be that the male vocal, pitched precariously high above comfortable range, that brought the shivers, except this time around, it’s Amy Millan’s melody. There’s a beautifully legato french horn in the chorus – how did we not pick that the first time? And now that we own the record, some millions of days and words after the fact, how did we not realise that the song comes with the suffix ‘(Your Ex-Lover Is Still Dead)’, providing a neat counterpoint to the album title and adding another layer of relevance that didn’t make it past the ever-visceral line ‘When she’s breaking his heart/she still fucks like a tease’?
And here’s the great thing; it still moves me. The very first song we wrote about is still important, which gives me hope that many of the 1,334 or more songs we’ve given our own life to since are too. Though our audience remain invisible, out there in the vast realms of cyberspace clicking only when necessary, we have a better idea of how and what we’re doing now. New faces stop us at parties to tell us they read the site every day. We’ve started to be introduced by our blog name rather than our actual jobs. Strangers tune in from all over the world – we have large pockets of readers in Scandinavia and Northern America, as well as far-flung regions of Europe – and typically don’t say anything, but come back every day to read again. That’s a really wonderful feeling. Often our younger brother or friends will ask us why we haven’t tried harder to monetise this site, to make good on all the thousands of readers and millions of sentences that we pour our hearts into every day of the week, throughout the calendar year. And the answer is simple, really. We never wanted to make a profit from One A Day. All we want is to exercise our hearts and minds every day, keep ourselves creative and spread our new findings to those that matter to us, so they can join the celebration. You are those people. Your Ex-Lover Remains Dead, just as One A Day remains alive.
Thankyou for staying with us One More Night. We love you.
Stars – ‘One More Night’ (Your Ex-Lover Remains Dead)
Original post [August 9, 2008]: ‘One More Night’