134. Song No. 1,976: “Colorful,” Jukebox the Ghost
Off to the Races, 2018
For a band that makes the end of the world sound like a banger of a time, a song that’s actually about something more traditionally deserving of anthemic instrumentalization is an unexpected treat.
I could tell you that I don’t think any music-slingers are having half the fun as the trio behind Jukebox the Ghost is, and that the entirety of the band’s most recent album is solid evidence in my favor. (Their annual HalloQueen shows in the Before Times, when Jukebox would open for themselves dressed up to cover the absolute high-energy shit out of an impressive smattering of Queen standards and deeper cuts, is downright irrefutable proof.) I could self-indulgently bloviate about how Off to the Races is the most joyful any of their albums get without teetering into Last Night of the World intensity. I could type for miles about the sheer delight of marrying complementary music and lyrics by looking at the things in life that don’t suck instead of gleefully bracing for all of that to become one with the oncoming, insatiable void.
For all the Jukebox I’ve devoured and loved so hard over the years that the band will reign atop my most-listened-to-overall Last.fm artist, album, and song lists for a very, very long time, I rarely felt like they’re a band I can share with other people. It has nothing to do with my younger self’s impulse to keep my favorites to myself and everything to do with the sense that JTG demands being consumed in entire albums rather than song by cherrypicked, out-of-context song, and it’s a lot to ask most people to try and love a band like this as much as I do when it takes a little work to get there.
Off to the Races was the first album of theirs that I really felt like I could pick any one song and make people instantly see why I love this band so very much. It is equally as satisfying to listen to as a full album as it is to isolate one track to play over and over and over until the inevitable heat death of the universe finishes the devastation that tidal waves and beady eyes on the horizon started.
“Colorful” is just about as perfect of a closer as a band could dream of, and it’s helped largely by being one stellar song. But I don’t want to talk about all the ways it’s a call to action and a validation and one of the best anthems someone needing an extra shot of confident assurance can find: I want you to listen to it, especially if you’re a creative soul trying to be true to your art while making your way in a world that just wants to tear at your soft edges until you fit into the machine as easily and uncomplainingly as every other good little cog, and know that someone needs the work inside you that’s just waiting to be nurtured into something undeniably life-affirming in its universal beauty.