#999: ‘Commemorative 9/11 T-Shirt’ – Oceansize

I’m pretty sure it was either Fall Out Boy or Panic! At The Disco that got me hooked on long song titles. Usually, any average song can get by with a pretty concise and/or descriptive title. “Well, the chorus goes ‘smoke on the water’, so we’re going to call it ‘Smoke On The Water‘”. Simple, clear, and does just what it says on the tin. But bands like the aforementioned ruined me for that.

I’m not sure what it was that would hook me in, but when bands like Panic! At The Disco had titles such as ‘The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage‘, or ‘There’s a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven’t Thought of It Yet‘, I would be intrigued. Sure, the title would have absolutely no connection to the song itself, but it was enough to always hook me in.

To this day, I will always listen to a song with an intriguing title, hoping against hope that maybe this time the song is as good as the title. Sadly, this is rarely the case, but I enjoy the idea of it nonetheless.

It’s also a useful tactic for getting friends to listen to that music. Only recently, I shared a song with my fiancée, asking for her opinion on the track. The track was by Mogwai, whom she has enjoyed previously, and as expected, she enjoyed this track too. “What’s it called?” she asked. “Oh, uh ‘Stupid Prick Gets Chased By The Police And Loses His Slut Girlfriend‘,” I replied. Her natural instinct was to raise her eyebrows and listen to the song more intently, attempting to work out how that title matches up to the song, which was of course, instrumental.

I believe it was this love of interesting or misleading titles that helped me discover this track by Oceansize. Oceansize managed to almost completely pass me by during their existence, but a dear friend of mine would usually speak of them on Facebook as one of her favourite bands, and of course, I figured her recommendations mustn’t be baseless, and I decided to take a closer look at their music.

From Frames, the group’s third album, ‘Commemorative 9/11 T-Shirt’ isn’t at all about a t-shirt, as would be expected from these titles by now. Rather, the title started as an in-joke between band members who had come across a shirt, designed for children ages 9-11. They joked about who would actually wear a commemorative 9/11 t-shirt, “someone who’s not really looking to the future,” as they said.

Of course though, a title such as this leads to all manner of comments on the Internet from anyone with a keyboard to type from. With lyrics such as “You try to keep your composure, I’m only having a laugh. The latest attempt at closure failed after 25 drafts,” it leads to anyone and everyone trying to dissect the meaning of the song and to determine the group’s attitudes to the September 11th attacks in 2001. As one could expect though, as quickly as any internet discussion turns into a trading of Hitler comparisons, the band are instantly referred to as either being uncaring towards 9/11 victims, or even more strangely, complicit in the events of that day. Of course, this is all some bullshit fantasy made up by vocal Internet commentators, but it’s still enjoyable to watch them grasp at straws.

While ‘Commemorative 9/11 T-Shirt’ might not be the best Oceansize track, it still ranks among one of their best-known, and its certainly a perfect jumping-off point for the group’s music for an uninitiated fan, like I once was. Of course, the group has so many amazing songs that this track may only scratch the surface of their catalogue, so I implore you to check out the rest of their discography as well.

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