Tuesday, October 23, 2018

“Dirty Pictures” by Behaviorist – A Song Feature

      “Dirty Pictures” is characterized by thoughtful composition, orchestral texturing, and intelligently indelicate lyrics. The instruments at the start of the flagship single from Behaviorist immediately establish a tension and a sense of yearning. The vocals enter and cooperate with the instruments to set the expectation that “Dirty Pictures” will live in the upper octaves. That expectation is abruptly disrupted by the depth and grandeur of the baritone sax of Stephen Chen.

     Expectations are also significant to the subject matter of the lyrics. The male protagonist enjoys dirty pictures in a magazine (the primary source of erotica until the entry of the Internet). The difficulty stems from the misalignment of fantasy and reality. During attempted intimacy, his body mounts an “insurrection.” The female voice enters after the “lights go up,” and she ends up apologizing. Masterfully, the baritone sax is jumpy while she talks, which we interpret as representing the tension in the conversation.

     Behaviorist self-describes its genre as misanthropop. We favor Chamber Pop/Orchestral Rock, with the combination of brass and instruments that are “standard” to Indie bands. Behaviorist is the solo project of Stephan Chen, the baritone saxophonist of Brooklyn’s San Fermin. In addition to the sax in “Dirty Pictures,” he provides vocals, keyboards and programming. But he has help. The female voice belongs to Ella Joy Meir of Iris Lune. Other important contributions are made by Ian Chang (drums), Aaron Liao (bass), Asher Kurtz (guitar), Tyler McDiarmid (guitar), and Adam Dotson (trombone, euphonium).

     Quoting content that we find relevant:
  "Named after the psychological revolution that imagined living beings as manipulable machines, Behaviorist takes an incisively critical look at human behavior with startlingly frank lyrics set over ever-shifting musical arrangements. Chen’s urgent constancy on saxophone contrasts his plaintive vocals, while symphonic horns and pianos ebb between icy, electronic stillnesses and flashes of 80’s rock."

      “Dirty Pictures” by Behaviorist

Lyrics of “Dirty Pictures” by Behaviorist
Skin’s deceptive resolution 
Underneath my fingertips
Hanging on those paper lips

Bodies photographed in fusion
Sends a shiver up my spine 
Cause I’m alone this time

Oh lover dear, when the lights go down
You illuminate all my fears and all my doubts
Oh lover dear, cause I’m used to seeing
Dirty pictures in a magazine

Point my name in your direction
See if you can make it loud
C’mon baby make me proud

Fuck my body’s insurrection
It doesn’t recognize your touch
Afraid you didn’t make the cut


Oh lover dear, when the lights come up
May your eyes swing shut
Cause we both adore
A body we can’t touch
I know you fear my disappointment
But it points inside of me
Why can’t you take my love?
Sorry I’m not enough

(chorus 2x)

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