My Top 1000 Songs #266: Zum Herz
Ah, the age-old question: How old does a song have to be before you can consider it one of your all-time favorites? My collection is littered with music I adored upon release, but which has been gathering dust for years, at most enjoying the pleasant surprise and sense of familiarity when it pops up on shuffle play.
Surely a song less than a year old shouldn't be making the cut. (At this point, the most recent song on the highest quarter of my Top 1000 is from 2018, which, hey, is already five years ago.)
But sometimes you've gotta throw caution to the wind. And I really, really like this song. I discovered the art-punk act Guerilla Toss last year when they opened for Pavement; I went out and picked up their 2022 album, Famously Alive, and really liked it (though some of their earlier stuff is a little too experimental for my taste). Strangely, though, the song of theirs I liked most wasn't on the new record. Instead, "Zum Herz" was found on a box set reissue from 70s Krautrock band Neu!. The box included a disc of tribute songs, though "Zum Herz" is not a cover, but rather something the band said was particularly Neu!-inspired.
Now, not being a big Neu! guy, I can't attest to that. But it's a damn cool song, something that for inexplicable reasons just makes me feel gleeful. It's equal parts retro new wave and catchy indie rock, with (like much of their work) a proggy math-rock time signature--kinda like a contemporary update of Devo and the B-52s, with just a hint of New Pornographers-styled baroque pop. Kassie Carlson's vocals are totally endearing, the rhythm section is blazing, and the new wave synths are wicked fun. The song's a mini-suite of sorts, a boisterous opening section followed by a bass-driven bridge before launching into a wall-of-sound choral anthem; by the time the slow fade-out ends, it feels like we've been on a journey together.
Is it too soon to predict if I'll love this song as much in five years? Of course. But in the past year alone I've played it more times than most songs I've owned for decades, so that's something.Live in the studio: