I sat in the shed (where – unbeknownst to me at this point – I would end up sleeping for two weeks when we were evicted from a shared house (for owning a dog)). The ruse is always music rehearsal. Instead, musicians gather to smoke bongs. This was happening within a circle. The circle was always open to more than just musicians. You could join if you had some money.
I had acquired the habit of writing things down in a little notebook and on this particular evening I decided to write everything in real-time. Someone would say something and I would write it down. I described the scenery as literally as possible too. I would even attempt to transcribe my interactions within the group. This was possible to a certain extant – the group’s overall level of interaction was, somewhat lethargic.
Some of the writing of this evening parallels the intro to Frente!’s ‘accidently Kelly Street’. This proves informative. It was very much in the order of ‘Here’s a door and here’s a window / Here’s the ceiling, here’s the floor’. I didn’t advance to the far more complex rendering of a room evidenced with ‘The room is lit like a black and white movie…’, perhaps because I had a away to go with developing my techniques, but, I do think the shed in question may have been lit like a black and white movie (I mean, I admire the way the actual lighting techniques used become irrelevant with this simile: it is all about the viewer, how we sentimentalise things in our mind (black and white movies are shadowy, stark, late-night, two-tone – simple)).
Getting to this point you have to ask yourself what was going on in the song. It is deceptively simple, and not just simple in the simple way that ‘deceptively simple’ can often be used to mean. The song seeks to deceive you by pointing out a simply message that has been relayed many times before. This is the ‘And if you walk real slowly / you can feel the planet breathe’, also ‘Throw away those keys start walking / Watch those tiny things go by’. It’s all about slowing down, tuning out so to speak, and allowing the real messages of the planet to come to you. It’s like what Dransfield wrote years ago about people in their fast cars not hearing the music of the birds, or something.
The deceptiveness however is in the sweetly sung chorus, ‘accidently Kelly Street’. If the song’s frame of reference came about by accident the verses undermine this. Angie sings ‘I know that my decision / to change my life was not that hard’. What was the decision? What brought it on? Could it have been in fact a random real-estate-based transition? A move to a rental house where perchance the people happened to be friendlier than the last place lived in? If so, the whole way of seeing things that is giving the song life (‘It’s Sunday everyday’) could in fact ‘crash on down’ but for complete exterior reasons. Bad shit happens. If instead of ‘friends and strangers’ you start accidently running into ex-lovers or drug dealers you owe money to, your optimistic outlook probably won’t help. Then the next decision to change your life will have to be a repeat: a move to another house, another street. And who’s to say that will work out?
The song is thusly mired in despair. The true message is happiness is fleeting. You’ll find yourself living in house one day where everything just seems to gel. At such a point, it makes sense to warble about how you ‘never thought life could be so sweet’ (it is definitely sensible – check the prettiness, loveliness, and stick-in-your-headdness of both Hart and song). And sure, it probably will make you ‘feel good’, even about the way you’ve been, the horror that has been your life trajectory up until this point. But the pivotal metaphor (one it seems that is not undermined by the presence of any other logic or feeling) is the optimism that comes crashing down ‘like a house of cards’. We know Frente! Can’t continue to play the ‘change my life’ game with a regular run of fortunate good results. Life is random and bleak. Kelly Street is a Utopian fantasy. Just watch the drummer waltz through the video-clip. He doesn’t look happy with this stylization.