In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.
It’s always been like this. Entropy is the natural order of things, and the moments of relief between the chaos are what we refer to as “peace” and “happiness.” We find some security, we grow accustomed to it, then chaos comes back along and jars us out of that rapture—and all of a sudden it’s doom and gloom and falling skies. And in those moments it’s difficult to separate the self from the whole because there are other selves out there suffering, and there’s nothing we can do about it—but we have to carry on. The individual will carry on, and it’ll be difficult, but the sheer number of other individuals doing the same will make it easier. And when, in that carrying on, two individuals are connected by a shared emotion, it can seem like one of those reprieves, though it’s just as likely that more chaos is on the horizon.
At least that’s the impression “The World’s A Mess; It’s In My Kiss” gives off. The final track of X’s Los Angeles speaks from a jaundiced perspective—“There are no angels / there are devils in many ways”—but surges forward to an unrelenting backbeat. “Down we go / cradle and all” John Doe and Exene Cervenka holler, their voices betraying an excitement as they slide off a chromatic cliff. And why shouldn’t they be excited? Things outside aren’t going to get any less messy, and the point when you accept this truth is when you stop being afraid of the lows—personal and societal—and look forward to the inevitable highs that follow them.