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Nothing on Earth Is Like the Lyrics to Alt-J’s “Hit Me Like That Snare”

In a poetic pan of the pretty-immensely popular Leeds rock band Alt-J‘s new album Relaxer, Pitchfork‘s Jayson Greene drew attention to the lyrics on “Hit Me Like That Snare,” one of the various psychosexually-charged, grimy sleaze-rock jams on Relaxer. I like to write out arresting lyrics, or perhaps look up other people’s transcripts and cross-reference them with my own notes. I prefer to scan them like poetry, sometimes adding my own punctuation for emphasis, or thinking about the various possible implications of the phrasing. (I’ve argued at length about how you parse the chorus of “What a Fool Believes,” for instance.) Here are some lyrics to “Hit Me Like That Snare”:

I’m at the door at a quarter to four
Poppers popping, baby, might take some more
I’m fucking loose, you’re gorgeous, I don’t care
Come closer, baby, slap me like that snare
Moon Shaped Pool plays in the velvet cell
Green neon sign reading “Welcome to hell”
Leather slings fall like oxygen masks
We’re going down, fuck my life in half.

There’s so much to consider and visualize. It makes one wonder what would happen if someone slid into /r/radiohead incognito, posing as a true friend of the community, to ask if anyone else had tried syncing up “Desert Island Disk” with their favorite BDSM rituals—perhaps, even, after popping some poppers. You could wait around for a while for a response, or just assume, probably rightfully, that this is something nobody on Earth has ever done–something that would only be probable in American Psycho, rewritten as a Showtime series by Diablo Cody.

Here are some more lyrics:

School of magic, with brooms and wands
Pairs of people tugging like hungry dogs
For bone, baby, in the house of slithering
Floor full of happy wizards scissoring

I don’t subscribe to your cultural norms
My church’s doctrine has lost it’s charm
Rise above the gloom of the jungle floor
Hit me like that snare, more, more, more

I don’t subscribe to your cultural norms
My church’s doctrine has lost its charm
Family matters, I couldn’t agree more
This is my family fisting me on the floor

This song conjures hedonistic Christian mystics having wild-eyed orgies in the Amazon, a balled-and-gagged Steve Urkel, Hogwarts students experimenting in the Room of Requirement, and rabid dogs jacking each other off. It’s DeviantArt set boldly to song. Later, there’s a part where lead singer Joe Newman, in some new, obscurely kinky scenario, sings his safe word as a long Japanese phrase, completing the picture with some hentai implications.

Honestly, when was the last time you remember poring over a contemporary artist’s lyrics and truly thinking “There’s never been anything like this before”?  “Hit Me Like That Snare” is a good argument against the common idea that pop music is simply repeating or re-Tetris-ing itself–that every scene it creates recalls something that came before. At first, this Alt-J song is terrible; then, it gives you an out-of-body experience, something much stronger than the effect of a poppers capsule or two. The hypnotic final chant kicks in (“We are dangerous teenagers/Fuck you, I’ll do what I want to do”), and taste suddenly seems like a bankrupt concept. Chances are, even minimal exposure to “Hit Me Like That Snare” will awaken a part of your brain that you’ve never used before, or at least, fuck your life in half.