Mixtapes for Hookers

2001: Song #10 Shines As If From Nowhere

[Sorry it took me so long to get to posting this; I’m dumb.  Now on with the top 10 of 2001!]


10. Helicopter Helicopter, Bottom Of The Ocean

I’m really glad I started doing this project, because it gave me a chance to rediscover Boston quartet Helicopter Helicopter’s awesome 2001 album By Starlight. It’s so good!

I came across Helicopter Helicopter’s music in the local bin at Newbury Comics; I picked up their Squids and Other Fishes (1999) on a whim when I was going to Boston a lot and thought it was important to support the locals. (Funny that at the time I thought Boston was local, whereas now I go there maybe twice a year.) The group excelled at slackery indie-pop, singing about boredom and drugs but coating them with infectious melodies you’d get stuck in your head and starting singing aloud ad inopportune moments. But for all that I liked Squids and Other Fishes–and I did, quite a bit–By Starlight was miles better. Full of melodies that would make a Weezer enthusiast swoon, the songs explored adulthood in a way that seemed remarkable to me. (Mind you at the time I was twenty; in college, but relatively friendless and living with my parents and not old enough to drink my cares away.*) Bottom of the Ocean is By Starlight’s best song, and it’s sort of a culmination of all the dirty slackerdom that the group encompassed. You can’t not bop around to it, even as singer Chris Zerby sings jollily about bugs dying from apathy. In many senses, this was the last hurrah for Boston’s alternative movement. It wasn’t a hit or anything, but it came out on the local Lunch Records and it wouldn’t be wrong to lump By Starlight in with the girl-centric rock hits of the previous decade, from alternative groups like Letters To Cleo and Fuzzy to slightly weirder cult faves like Morphine and Jen Trynin.

Helicopter Helicopter, Bottom Of The Ocean

Bonus Tracks:
Helicopter Helicopter, Moveable
Helicopter Helicopter, Unfortunate

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