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STANDOUT TRACK: No. 5, “Can’t Be Bothered,” which crescendos from a spacey Radiohead-style groove into a chorus flirting with guitar chaos. Frontman Carlos Gonzalez-Fernandez sings about being stuck between apathy and emotion (“Maybe I just can’t be bothered/Maybe I just can’t wait”), then has a loud moment of clarity (“We’ve lost our heads now/We’ve lost our heads”). The song then returns to a quieter state, as if the frustration will simmer indefinitely.
MUSICAL MOTIVATION: Gaithersburg-based Gonzalez-Fernandez, 28, points to heavy sci-fi novels—Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, 1984—as providing inspiration, but the direct influence, he says, was Neil Postman’s nonfiction Technopoly. Gonzalez-Fernandez savors the Postman-influenced idea that, one day, psychologists will be replaced with brain scans; patients will learn what they should be feeling from the resulting computer printouts. “I liked that image of being told by…a machine that ‘You are feeling fine,’” he says. “The line ‘Maybe I just can’t be bothered’ came from that feeling of seeing things that made you react, but being told previously that there’s no reason to have those feelings.”
NO ALARMS, NO SURPRISES: Despite the dystopian inspirations, the song’s message is not about paranoia. It’s about keeping in touch with your feelings. Gonzalez-Fernandez recalls being the kind of kid who would look out the school bus window and worry whether an old guy on the street was lonely. But that natural empathy seems to have dissipated over the years. “I think that’s the crux of the song,” says Gonzalez-Fernandez. “That you are not who you were, and you are not happy….The wiring is different now.” —Joe Warminsky