Friday, October 2nd, 2020

The Knocks & MUNA – Bodies

Bodies? What are those?


[Video]
[6.00]

Will Adams: The Knocks miss house parties. MUNA miss house parties. I miss house parties. Though this song was written days before quarantine took hold in the States,  there’s a sense of loss, a sense that things will never be the same.  Katie Gavin drives past that house to catch whiffs of the memories, but  the lights aren’t on. At the same time, there’s also a sense of humor.  Did we really pack ourselves like sardines, jostling against strangers  to create the comically dark image of “bodies in [a] basement”? What’s  so great about that, anyway? But The Knocks’ jubilant house and Gavin’s  pointed flip of the hook — these aren’t just bodies, this is “your  body on mine”; this is connection — remain sympathetic to the  nostalgia. The days of rowdy basement gatherings may be long gone, but  we still desire that closeness.
[8]

Vikram Joseph: The strangely anhedonic EDM drift of “Bodies” is perhaps a fitting paean to a summer that somehow lasted an eternity while leaving little concrete evidence of its passing. It never approaches euphoria, nor is it quite melancholy enough to truly be poignant; MUNA’s Katie Gavin (who has a fine track record in kindling seasonal nostalgia) isn’t given much space to explore her emotional range. It’s probably best heard as a middle-distance sonic glow on a warm evening; up close, it’s a footnote which doesn’t linger long enough in the memory.
[5]

Juana Giaimo: I like the nostalgic feeling of this dance track. Unlike most, it doesn’t grow and explode in a drop. Katie Gavin’s vocals sound lonely and dreamy, and the post-chorus is more like a mental trip through those memories. However, the “wait no way, no way, want” and other “w” alliterations sound empty of meaning and the “bodies in the basement” line is repeated so much that it bothers me.
[6]

William John: MUNA have previously shown that a wordless breakdown can carry great emotional heft, but unfortunately the one here is less like that of, say, the colossal “Never”, and instead more like the kind of music they might use on Selling Sunset to soundtrack a montage of garishly flashy backsplashes.
[5]

Leah Isobel: The cultural context makes “Bodies” feel more wistfully profound than it might otherwise. It also makes the chorus lyric about “warm bodies in the basement” cut both ways — a weird mixture of nostalgic and gruesome. I’d like it more if the puppyish instrumental made that combination feel more than accidental.
[6]

Alfred Soto: I shouldn’t like this throwback, but the chord changes got me wistful. “I’m still thinkin’ ’bout that summer,” she sings, as if a world before COVID-19 existed to get wistful about. But the grisly title image complemented by the arrangement’s determined thud have their own designs.
[6]

Jackie Powell: I’m conflicted every time I listen to this track. It’s a grower, but something doesn’t quite sit right. There are almost two different songs here, and the lack of dynamics between an impressive build-up and a lackluster EDM break are what hold “Bodies” back from being a great record. What’s ironic is how openly The Knocks and MUNA spoke of their synergy and comfort with each other in the studio. The puzzle pieces fit, and the tempo is consistent, but a compelling product is not the result — there’s almost no payoff after Katie Gavin sings the word “basement” before the first 32-measure break. I’d love, though, to hear an acoustic version, which I predict would sound more cohesive — the most redeeming parts of “Bodies” are Gavin’s: the rhythm with which she sings her lyrics and how she manipulates their assonance and consonance. The sprinkled alliteration comes off as intentional, but not too Shakespearean or hokey — “but when I feel that resonation, waving with the weight from” — and Gavin strings those vowels together as if the waves are about to recede. But while she moves the track to that point where the waves should crash, they never do. It’s disappointing. Look at how brilliantly these vowels and consonants are placed: “when I feel that 8-0-8 drum, waving with the weight from…”. On Instagram, The Knocks wrote how special it was to hear Gavin sing what to the naked ear is “way oh way oh way.” The melody was all hers; I just wish the song was.
[6]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: If I encountered this in 2037, I think I’d dismiss it as anachronistic nostalgia — “back in 2017, you couldn’t actually hear sensitive LA indie pop with EDM drops” — as faulty as calling “Say So” or “Midnight Sky” disco. But the actual real life existence of “Bodies” in 2020 forces me to confront it as a song, and not a historical error. It’s still not good — Katie Gavin’s vocals are too subtle to work among the churn of The Knocks’ clumsy synth work, and no-one does enough with the ambient spookiness of the song’s lyrical conceit.
[4]

Brad Shoup: The temperature finally broke this week: when I step outside I shudder rather than sneeze. Gavin’s summer feels like my fall, the time of year I’m ready to build, ready to move. The Knocks’ track patters like it’s a softer season: it drives but doesn’t slam. The claps wouldn’t fly in the basement. Her text is fantastic — the “808”/”waving with the weight” rhyme is sterling — and the “bodies in the basement” hook delivers that blessed ego death and another casual reminder of our physical fragility. The track (with its lift and filter-house flourishes) feels a few years out of time, in the best way: the kind of memory you may summon while typing on a work laptop in the darkness of your bedroom.
[8]

Reader average: No votes yet!

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Leave a Reply