Caila Thompson-Hannant’s Good Thing


The banal ticking in the opening seconds of Mozart’s Sister’s “Good Thing Bad Thing” present a kind of lonely canvas. The arms of a timepiece move by in a staccato fashion, presenting nothing new or relevant; broad strokes of impassivity. And then the reverie, almost exhausted in its wanderlust, begins to crescendo. A gentle hum, lazily outlined by crestfallen ooohs and ahhs. Caila Thompson-Hannant’s voice climbs, tumbles, resigns. She manages to lasso the farcical joy of partying and inebriation. The celebration of self-immolation is omnipotent in “Good Thing Bad Thing”. After Thompson-Hannant’s verses have tilled the backing track, a warbling release of pained elation punctuate the fear and hopefulness of socializing. And then, only moments later, a serpentine smile: “my body cant handle me.” Powerfully lucid and unforgiving, it’s a line that speaks to the frailty of care in regards to our generation. The ethereal reverb haunts in a way that only Grimes or Bat for Lashes could. “I made him feel alright, but he never did the same for me” is a trenchant, self-aware line that is playfully followed up by a carefree “La-la-la-la” – it’s a sort of incendiary realization of what it is to be human, to err. To wallow in repetition compulsion. The mechanical moaning of the drum kit bustles through the proceedings with a callow gaiety, giving “Good Thing Bad Thing” a sense of resilience in the face of its problematic protagonist. Everything will be alright. You cant have a good thing without a bad thing.

In Mozart Sister’s “Don’t Leave it To Me,” Thompson-Hannant again employs the use of barbed flippancy by embedding her song with innocuous drum loops and warm electronic carbonation. Still, the venom and curiosity is present. “Fear…sex…fear…sex” coils around the bridge of the song, giving a hypnotic – and wholly frightening – buoyancy to the track’s vibrant core. What is carnality in the face of danger? What is love when maimed by impulse? And, all the while, there is the impractical aesthetic of good vibes and electric nights. “I sleep all day, crank all night” Thompson-Hannant confesses, in a half-lamented roar. There is a definite fingerprint of malice, confidence, and damage within these lyrics that have transformed pop in 2014.

Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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