I’m a sucker for catchy-pop songs. What I really love is when a band sneaks up from nowhere and beans me on the head with an amazingly catchy song. A really good song will implant itself in your brain–a truly great one will feel like it’s always been there. The first time I heard “Silver Shifter” by L.A. rockers TSAR I felt like it had always been with me. The band’s 2000 self-titled album is chock-full of diabolically awesome ear-worms. It’s the sort of record that plays in your head while you’re trying to go to sleep. It’s no small feat to write a good song, especially one that feels so fresh but at the same time so familiar. TSAR’s sound is reminiscent of Cheap Trick, but with a touch more punk and glam.
“Silver Shifter” opens with a ringing phone and quick “hello” before exploding into pop bliss. The lyrics are twisty and rhyme in all the right places. There’s a sweet guitar solo and cheery hand-claps, what more could you ask for in a great song? On the surface the song seems to be about a car, but I’m 99.999% sure that the is about a nasty-injectable drug:
Seven is never enough
Slide her into the stuff
Slow gun and a colorful flag
Shift her into the swag
Silver shifter, shift it out
The slow gun is the plunger of a syringe and the “colorful flag” is a bit of blood, right?
Softer down for the counts
Love comes in every ounce
Silver is up for appeal
Shifter is making me real
Blissed-out junkie poetry with a shimmering guitar hook–that’s a potent combination. In days past, men would write very intricate poems about God or a sunset, today’s rockstars expend just as much mental energy writing about banned substances. Why are all the best songs about drugs? Maybe it’s because like God or a sunset, drugs are a powerful artistic muse. I guess there would be more awesome songs about D.A.R.E. posters if D.A.R.E. posters expanded the consciousness or shaded the gray world a brillant new-hue.
Regardless, “Silver Shifter” is awesome song on an awesome record. I highly recommend both TSAR albums.