This song found me sometime around 2010. During this time the only certain aspect of my life was the uncertainty of the next genre of music to come out of my huge, red headphones.
How fitting that I reached in the colorful bin and pulled out Fog’s self-titled LP at the record store in Cincinnati where I had worked for 3 years. I was visiting/shopping/digging after reluctantly resuming a corporate career. My life was at a crossroads that felt like crosshairs. Fortunately I was still collecting vinyl and occasionally plucked a record at random or with little knowledge of the contents.
When I finally got a chance to listen to “Fog” I discovered the album in its entirety didn’t really leave a huge impact. It did, however, have that ONE song. It redeemed my lesser enthusiasm of the remaining contents and I found myself manually resetting the needle many times from the end to the beginning again. “Pneumonia” was love at first listen. There was kinship in the lyrics, stark reflections of my own life and a bit of fortune-telling:
“I’m hard to fix because it took me so goddamn long to figure out that I broke down.”
“Welcome to the worst part of your life.”
“Is it depression or disease?”
Those words hit me immediately like a bitter wind. It was hard to consider this song a bummer for long… other lyrics mention bugs, food, scum… and there is upbeat turntable scratching throughout. It’s also indie rock jangle but minus handclaps. It’s hip-hop beats and electronic noise. Occasionally the lead singer slips into a slight alt-country twang, but not in an over-the-top manner. I have cried to this song with an ugly pout and danced to it with a wide smile. This song accomplishes so much.
Fog’s “Pneumonia” offers a joyride on the tilt-a-whirl of emotions but also coherently meshes a ton of musical influences and proficiency. This track renewed my interest in exploring a wealth of music categories, gave free advice, and is a song I return to for solidarity even years between listens.
(Song recommendation by K Weber)