The opening guitar riff is almost enough for me. Rhythmic, echoing, and steely strong, it reminds me of the first moments of Billy Bragg’s “The Saturday Boy,” though with an extra coat of hard toffee gloss and a quickened pace promising forward-motion instead of bittersweet retrospection. “Hologram,” the new single from Seattle indie act Tacocat, takes pessimism and spins it into a cheery delirium.
The lyrics lay out the premise from the top: “Not so long ago, I used to feel like/ I was too sensitive to even be alive/ But maybe now it’s the opposite.” With a lean, chewy sound, lead singer Emily Nokes offers a message of hopeful persistence (“little by little, it’s getting bright again”) all hinging on the revelatory truth the lends the song its title: “Just remember if you can/ Power is a hologram.” The world isn’t just what we see, but how we choose to look at it.
In the three months since Fridays in this digital space were given over to brand new music, many of the tracks I’ve settled on have carried a spirit of perseverance, of clinging doggedly to a positive outlook when the far more obvious route is to exist in a state of dejection in a time and place where it can seem all decency and human kindness are being sheared away. I don’t think this is a coincidence. The college rock that most enthralled me in the nineteen-eighties met the rise of the Religious Right and the retrograde politics of the Reagan Revolution with a snarling resignation to the injustice of a tilted society, reveling in the romanticism of defeat. This new approach, it’s better. And “Hologram” could be the official anthem of the musical movement.