“She doesn’t bother finding love,
There is no man that’s good enough,
Lucky sevens come up eights,
Rabbits feet won’t help your fate…”-Ace in the Hole, Saint Motel
Welcome to another, ‘she fell in love with a band at a concert’ story. I need to realize that this happens way more often than I think it does.
So remember how I was militant about January not being the worst month ever this year? Well, the only thing that kept it from really being terrible was the fact that I went to see Saint Motel in concert.
The concert was on a Friday and it was in Santa Ana at the Observatory. If you’re wondering if I drove from basically Miracle Mile after work to Orange County for the concert, you would be correct. I was in complete delirium on the 405 but it was ok because I had the entire Saint Motel discography playing from my Spotify.
Their music makes you want to dance through everything, which is exactly my entire worldview this season of life. But so many things about this band make me feel like they further vibe that Bad Suns started for me.
Saint Motel hails from Orange County with its members A/J Jackson (lead vocals, piano, guitar), Aaron Sharp (guitar), Dak Lerdamornpong (bass), Greg Erwin (drums), all getting together while at Chapman University’s film school.
I’d known of Saint Motel previously as the band that did the uber-catchy “My Type” that I think I heard first in a car commercial. I had also known that they toured with Panic! At the Disco as part of the Death of a Bachelor tour. Wow, I wish I had gone to that show now.
Looking back at how they opened for Panic, it makes so much sense that they toured with them because like Panic, they employ a certain tongue-in-cheek approach to their danceable songs. I like how Marianne Meyer from AXS put it: Saint Motel is “a mix of the pure and naughty.”
Despite the unwelcoming title, their song “Cold Cold Man” is a sweet love song. They happily sing that “you’re nobody still somebody wants you dead.” They sing about a revival of faith, with an emphasis on telling you when you see them next “you won’t recognize the motherfucker that I am.” They are masters of the sweet and the rebellious. Oh my God, they’re the Sour Patch Kids.
On top of that, their film school training shows itself in basically everything about them: their showmanship, innovation in visual mediums, the storytelling in their music, their website. Heck, even their albums and EPs thus far have nods to film and tv. For example, their newest EP is called “The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Vol. 1” (They’ve got 3 more EPs coming and when you put them together it’s a full album.) I’m the furthest thing from a film/tv geek, but I appreciate them for this.
Now, to speak the vibe that Bad Suns started for me and that Saint Motel continues, it has a lot to do with the idea of a muse. Bad Suns sings indie rock love songs about freedom-loving indie rock girls in all their glory. Saint Motel sings about muses and femme fatales that get these film geeks going. I’ve been really obsessed with all those ideas because it shows how feminine power inspires and makes great art happen. Some of the most timeless love songs have come from rockstars that just couldn’t get a girl off their mind. Is it bad for me to want to be part of that? Who cares? I’m choosing to live my life like I’m somebody’s muse.
The creative and dramatic ways that Saint Motel sings about their muses, whoever they might be, are the soundtrack to this new version of me. A hardcore new music crush means reinvention for me.
Now let’s dive into some of my favorite songs from them.
This is the most iconic saxophone riff since Careless Whisper. You can’t convince me otherwise. It’s my current choice for strutting through the streets of LA. Even though I don’t have a full horn section following me, this song makes it feel like it. Also, I’d be remiss in saying that this song almost singlehandedly convinced me to have a more lax attitude about dating.
When I was listening to Saint Motel in preparation for their concert, this one was the one I was most excited to see and dance to live. I’m a very physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally restless person. I need to be moving at all times. Seriously, ask my parents. It’s encouraging to have a bop like this to be sonic manifestation of this.
Hearing this angelic song made me finally start to realize that I too can be a muse. As a teen, I was really inspired by the Beatles’ wives, Pattie Boyd and Olivia Harrison especially. Those women and the other women mentioned in the song were just themselves and that’s what sparked a musical idea for those men. Also, #1 the “Elise” is a musing on Beethoven’s “Für Elise” and #2 the chords of this song ARE THE CHORDS TO FÜR ELISE. A/J JACKSON YOU GENIUS, WE ARE NOT WORTHY.
I’ve never been into the whole “wild west” theme, but this song makes me want to be. This song just feels like the music video: some random bar fight in Texas. It’s also just too cool for school in the lyrics. My favorite lines? “You’re a 10, I’m a four leaf clover. Well, tell me do you hate me or do you wanna date me?” Also, the references to J. Paul Getty and Smith and Wesson? Yeehaw.
“Ace in the Hole”
This song makes going to Vegas sound like a good idea. But also, this makes me want to put on a slinky black gown, sip from a martini, and be a female Bond villain. “She doesn’t bother finding love, there’s no man that’s good enough.” Damn straight boys, damn straight.
Anyway, I’m seeing them again because I’m quite literally trying to make a living out of following rockstars. So deal with it.
Here’s the playlist! Go fall in love with them like I did: