ShuffleLove: Refused – Tannhäuser/Derivè, off of The Shape of Punk To Come, 1998

Each week, Brian Oliu will put his entire playlist on shuffle & write about the first song that pops up.

I bought this CD at Siren Music in Doylestown, Pennsylvania while in high school—it was a favorite amongst my friends & would get major rotation as we crossed the border from New Jersey into Pennsylvania to cause various types of good clean mischief: extensive orders of Taco Bell menu items, meeting girls who went to other schools at the mall movie theater in hopes of finding a love that couldn’t exist within the walls of South Hunterdon Regional High School.

I often wonder how or why we stumbled across these bands of our youth: while the Internet was certainly a thing, it’s not like it is today where all information about music is easily accessible—if a friend of mine knows about a band, chances are I will know about the same band within one or two clicks. In high school, we had a few ring-leaders; kids who kept us on the precipice of cool—typically through CD players charged by cigarette lighters held by the front seat passenger in a 93 Saturn hatchback.

This track is one of the tamer ones on the album as it towards the back end dénouement: it starts off with a frantic yet beautiful violin solo before a drumbeat kicks in, followed by the rest of the band mates. The first two minutes of this song would be absolutely stunning in an Alabama Football hype video before the high pitched screech of Dennis Lyxzén comes barraging in. It is a high energy plodding song—I can’t help but picture fifteen-year-old Brian hypnotized by the track at a show, looking around at his friends to see if he is nodding his head with the proper amount of enthusiasm.

This album still holds up & is one of my favorites; often we listen to music we loved when we were younger & are embarrassed—we remember how hard we tried to be cool, & how we thought the world was there for us to change it. I made a mix CD for a girl who’s musical tastes were more on the Dave Matthews/O.A.R side of things which lead off with the first track of this album: a schizophrenic seven-minute track which opens with the line ‘I’ve got a bone to pick with capitalism / and it’s gonna break.” Needless to say, there weren’t too many dates after that first beautiful gift of Swedish post-punk; a type of blessing, as I like to believe my ability at making mix CDs for girls improved that day, which, in turn, brought me to a position I currently hold—an excellent dance party curator where the end goal is to simply make the people shake their wares & sing along, no matter how much you don’t want to hear Macklemore. As the lyrics in Tannhäuser/Derivè remind us, “every corner we turn will lead us / every corner we turn will lead us down the labyrinth,” & this is true—I exist here because of this album; that despite traveling deeper into the maze, you can still hear the sounds of years & turns ago through the walls.

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One thought on “ShuffleLove: Refused – Tannhäuser/Derivè, off of The Shape of Punk To Come, 1998

  1. Perfect. This is my favorite song from that album. That quiet guitar riff slowly building then exploding into “SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?” sends chills down my spine every time.

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