Overlooked in the Aughts is an ongoing feature focusing on some of the best albums from the 2000s that haven’t quite received the attention they deserved. Today’s post: Milosh’s Meme.
Love songs and break-up songs. Seems as though a large majority of pop music can be fit in one of these two categories. So there’s a lot going against any musician willing to tread the same path. With decades of pop songs and the pitfalls of cliché ’round every corner, Milosh’s 2006 break-up album, Meme, manages to stake its own ground while creating a thoroughly moving electronic record.
For anyone out there who’s apprehensive of a genre like “electronic music” and all it’s subgenres/offshoots (techno, hardcore, dubstep, etc etc etc), Meme might be the perfect break-in record for you. This criminally underrated album has a lush ambience that anyone who’s enjoyed Radiohead’s more experimental efforts could pick up Milosh’s album without batting an eye. Meme’s compositions flow with an R&B-like sensuality and evoke the powerful emotional essence at the core of the album.
Meme followed Milosh’s debut, You Make Me Feel, which is, ostensibly a love record. Legend has it (or paragraph-sized press releases slapped onto CD cases for college radio stations) that Meme was written for Milosh’s ex-girlfriend, the very one he fell in love with on and all over You Make Me Feel. This is no more apparent than on Meme’s opening track, “It’s Over.” As if that title didn’t alert the listener, perhaps a few lyric samples could:
Words push through me/Like bullets from those songs/I made for you as you sang along/Now I’m singing songs for everyone but you
Though the album is about heartbreak, it hardly has anything to do with “woe-is-me” type deliberations. A major issue with a lot of romantically-inclined songs, either of the getting-together or break-up variety, is a certain lack of empathy. Meme is chock full of empathy, really suggesting that not only is Milosh a talented songwriter, but one who understands what a relationship entails. A give and take. An equal balance. A partnership with another individual, not simply a bond between you and someone placed on some pedestal. His ex is as human and susceptible to the same problems of existence as he is. And he makes it known.
On ”Couldn’t Sleep,” the album’s best song and its most devastating, Milosh lets empathy come out in waves. As he softly coos atop a fairly simple, key-driven instrumental, Milosh seems more hurt, angered and perplexed by his actions than that of his ex:
Made a phone call last night/I’ve been thinking about it all day/I made you cry last night
Rather than sulk in his own pain and misery, Milosh instead offer a portrait of an individual as hurt by his own actions and their affect on someone he’s loved and continues to love. He’s confused by what he’s done, he seeks solace in three simple words from his ex (But it’s ok/I heard you say/I love you) and yet, he’s restless throughout the night because of his ex’s tender response, or his actions or both. Unlike every pop-punk band of the decade that’s placed the emphasis on the ex, that’s made them an “other” for which to place all blame, Milosh chose to describe a painful break-up in the most minimal, observant and truthful manner without lashing out at anyone involved in the broken relationship. And that’s what makes an album like Meme so affecting and, simply put, great.
Milosh – “The City”: