On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
At the Drive-In – One Armed Scissor (2000)
” One Armed Scissor” is a song by the American post-hardcore band At the Drive-In. It was the first single from their album Relationship of Command , and was the first At the Drive-In song to be played regularly on a number of radio stations.
Welcome to the 21st century, dear reader, and to the year 2000. Thankfully no Y2K for us to worry about. We ended 1999 in Oklahoma and we begin 2000 still in the US but down in El Paso, Texas. At the Drive-In were formed in 1994 and were purveyors of post-hardcore, a variant of punk rock. When we join them in 2000 it is with the release of their third album, Relationship of Command, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – One Armed Scissor.
The song’s title refers to a drink, in this case Red Bull and vodka. The lyrics themselves are typical of At the Drive-In apparently, full of fascinating imagery and ambiguity. From what I have read though the song concerns the pressures and relentless workload involved in touring. By this point, the group were teetering on the brink of collapse and touring schedules were doing nothing to alleviate this. The track is heavy, fast paced and full of energy, while there is a sense of anger and frustration oozing out of it.
At the Drive-In are another group I was unfamiliar with prior to this challenge. One Armed Scissor is an engaging piece of post-hardcore and I am interested in learning and hearing more. The song would prove to be the group’s biggest hit but by 2001 they had disbanded, due to severe friction and creative differences amongst their ranks. The band have reunited on two occasions since but are currently on hiatus and whether a third reunion occurs is anyone’s guess.
Favourite songs so far: