Courtesy of Jon Bergman/Nettwerk Publicity
Generally speaking, I’m not a particularly sensitive person. I laughed my way through “P.S. I Love You,” only a handful of people has ever seen me cry and, in my opinion, the only redeeming quality of Valentine’s Day is the extraordinary amount of chocolate consumption. And as a rule, I prefer that the music I listen to reflects this side of me. It doesn’t need to be an extreme representation of this — screamo and death metal don’t really float my boat — but something a little on the dark side usually catches my attention. Some minor chords and lyrics that reflect disdain of any kind — for love, capitalism or whatever the complaint du jour seems to be — fit the bill.
And this is why I find it so bizarre that I have such a soft spot for the Submarines. The majority of the songs by married couple John Dragonetti and Blake Hazard are as sweet as the title of their sophomore album, Honeysuckle Weeks, would indicate.
Musically, the songs are sometimes bouncy (“Submarine Symphonika” and “Swimming Pool,” for example) and sometimes dream-like (“Xavia”), but they are always bright, with basic, steady beats that could easily sound at home on a children’s record if they were paired with lyrics about fairy tale characters.
And admittedly, many of the Submarines’ lyrics, mostly delivered by Hazard’s pure, clear voice, are simple and innocent. But the duo also boasts clever songwriting that gives its songs a distinctly adult feel. “You, Me and the Bourgeoisie,” with its juxtaposition of manufactured and pure love, would impress any Marx scholar.
Even on “Swimming Pool,” one of the duo’s sweetest and most playful tunes, Hazard and Dragonetti show off their writing chops with creative imagery (“When I asked you to throw me a line / That’s when you pulled me out by the heart strings”) and personification (“Never mind what logic says / I say logic’s a guy who oughta empty his pockets”).
By making music that is both smart and a peppy guilty pleasure, the Submarines can brighten up pretty much anyone’s day. Who knows — I might even give “P.S. I Love You” another chance one of these days.
–By Entertainment Editor Ani Vrabel