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Music Consumption: Jandek
06/23/1998 Jandek

On a similar note, I'd had similar experiences with the music of Jandek. One of his songs, "Long Way," is mostly made up of the lyric "It's a long way" repeated several times. When I first heard it (late at night, with the volume turned way down) I heard it as "It's a long way/down the hallway." A friend and I talked a lot about this, and he ended up using my misheard line in a song of his. Mishearing is a creative act. It can be silly or nonsensical (like in the "'S'cuse Me While I Kiss This Guy" books on mondegreens), but I don't think it's given enough credit as a means of coming up with something new. The most creative thing you can do with what people say to you today is try to misunderstand it totally.

So creativity is in opposition to communication? Well, maybe. Or at least narrow, minimally layered communication. Even after you figure out what the person wanted to say, whatever that was will now take on an additional nuance, ideally an absurd one, vastly increasing the value of whatever was said.