75. Song No. 806: “Basement Parties,” Matt Pond PA
Last Light, 2007
I can’t believe this is my first post about one of my longest-running favorites. Matt Pond has been a mainstay in my personal soundtrack since the latter half of high school and his music remains a constant two decades later, too. If there is a band or a musician I could rave about for days while dramatically gesticulating for full effect, it’s him. (I mean, sooner or later I’ll need to know where the string section went and what triggered the shifting sound in State of Gold and everything after, but it’s obviously not enough to keep MMPA from being my second-most-played band on Last.fm.)
The Green Fury and Emblems remain sentimental favorites, but there was that brief and wonderful period where MMPA did anniversary shows for the albums that epitomize the sound I fell in love with. Getting to hear both Several Arrows Later and Last Light live was a fangirl high and absolute treat, but those album-centric concerts also provided a whole new opportunity to get reacquainted with two albums waiting and deserving to be loved as hard as their older siblings.
And, ohhhh, the songs I rediscovered. “From Debris” rocketed directly into my heart forever, while Last Light‘s one-two punch of “Sunlight” giving way to “Basement Parties” remains one of my favorite, most-on-repeat album sequences ever, eclipsed only by the flow from “Tangerine” to “That’s the Way” on Led Zeppelin III, which is basically a four-way convergence of magic.
While it tends to be the more heartfelt, soul-baring and introspective MMPA tunes that become my favorites, “Basement Parties” appeals to the part of me that hurts in a way that reminds me of my mortality after waking up on a friend’s couch or floor or pool table or kitchen counter among evidence of raucous parties that somehow manage to pop up well into our 30s and whose morning-after hungover carnage looks like a scene from Jonestown.
The upshot is that at parties for people who’ve felt old since their 20s, bad decisions aren’t as wantonly frequent and said parties are more about social drinking among friends than hooking up with strangers, blessedly bypassing those hiding-in-the-bathroom moments though still running full-bore at a future of waking up with your face on the carpet. Functional alcoholics throw very efficient parties because everyone is just there to get trashed in good company.
Still, this song sounds like the next morning regardless of how or why one got there, but also with a sense of urgency and acquiring the kind of experience that becomes a story. And that’s a big part of why I love it so much: Living in the entire moment and watching it flow into whatever’s after and next makes it all part of your overall narrative, and life is so much more interesting as a rolling sequence than a series of happenings.