Measure For Measure: Trance-Formations

“Song For Zula” by Phosphorescent (Matthew Houck) “is the type of song that makes you sit upright and press repeat,” says Laura Barton of The Guardian (Nov 28, 2018). She goes on to describe “Zula” as “a defiant farewell of a song, a portrait of love as an imprisoning, ferocious creature to be defeated.” No argument there, nor with Barton’s flair for words. But it was her first statement that really caught my ear: “The type of song that makes you sit upright and press repeat.” Word-for-word, I felt the same way (and so do you, I’ll wager). “But why?” I wondered. What is it about “Song For Zula” that makes you want to say “Do it again”? Right away it struck me that “Zula” belongs to an unnamed genre. Several labels sprang to mind — dream songs, hypno-songs — I could go on, but in the end, trance songs sounded best, because all songs in the genre have one trait in common: an ability to cast a hypnotic spell. And that’s a good thing, as long as it’s understood that “hypnotic spell” doesn’t mean submission to the will of another. On the contrary, it means a state of relaxed…

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