The Myth of Sisyphus by The Jean Jackets

The Myth of Sisyphus is a perplexing, paradoxical old tale. There are many different versions of how Sisyphus got to his infinite punishment, but the most important aspect of the myth is the punishment itself. After angering the gods (in whichever story you prefer) Sisyphus is forced to roll a boulder up a hill and after reaching its peak, releases the stone and restarts the process…for ETERNITY. Scholars, artists, and everyday people have dissected this tale to the point of redundancy, from relating it to the stagnant lives of thirty-somethings to writing entire philosophical journals premised on the myth to discovering enlightening self-help aspects from Sisyphus, the myth is about as old as time. In Albert Camus’ philosophical essay, The Myth of Sisyphus Camus relates Sisyphus’ repetitive punishment to existence, arguing mankind’s meaningless existence is coercive with Sisyphus’ punishment. But Camus doesn’t fall victim to indifference and just say “the world sucks, we all die in the end, there’s no point,” he bravely proposes his take on life’s purpose, concluding the essay with “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” Camus is saying “yes, we all suffer and we all have to live, but we must imagine ourselves happy– even if we are not.” The Jean Jackets are a four piece jangle-pop band hailing from the musical haven of New Jersey. The band have obviously done their reading with the energetic and at times, intellectually hilarious, “The Myth of Sisyphus.” Songwriter, Jack Phinney rambles in an existentially laced half-growl about a broken relationship, eventually relating it to literally “pushing a rock up a hill and watching it go down the hill.” Phinney sounds even more angry and in charge at the song’s charging ending crescendo, when the tortured frontman yells, “you can call me Sisyphus!” The singer has an obvious knack for wit and dry humor; he throws in references to the amount of times he had sex prior to the woman he is ranting about, cunningly growling, “I was your fourth, you were my fifth,” and produces Pulitzer-worthy phrases like, “and you think that I get sick of being nickeled and dimed, but I’m not happy ‘til I’m penniless.” The Jean Jackets’ booming jangle is undeniably infectious, the loud swooping horns in the song’s intro and chorus, the hi-hat skips throughout the verses, and the incredibly loud finale that allows Phinney to vent and “get it all out,” all blend together to make a delicious musical smoothie. The group’s songwriting is innovative, catchy, and easily relatable. If these guys don’t blow up, my faith in music blogging will certainly be wavering.

-Ryan

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