Parquet Courts vs Technology: A look at the band’s everlasting feud with smart devices.


Parquet Courts.

Franky Rodriguez

As you do a deep dive of Brooklyn-based indie/post-punk band Parquet Courts’ discography, you will probably come to notice one thing: the band is not too favorable to the pivotal role that technological devices drive our lives within the modern age. At least not lead singer and guitarist Andrew Savage, who does a big chunk of the band’s songwriting.

The band expresses this point of view, not only through their music but also through their online presence as well. They have made it a point to not have any sort of social media presence as a band. On top of this, Savage notoriously has maintained the use of a flip phone rather than ever upgrading to a smartphone.

The band’s anti-technological sentiments are most prevalent on their 4th album, Content Nausea. The album’s title track is a three-minute country/free jazz stomper set to a plethora of anti-technological themes.

On the track, Savage delivers a fiery set of stream-of-consciousness lyrics that are both critical and skeptical of modern life’s obsession with smart devices. Savage proclaims:

“I’ll go back but not today /

It’s nice to visit but it’s hard to stay /

In the grips of bad dimension /

Too much data, too much tension /

Too much plastic, Too much glass /

Life’s lived least when fears are passed”

This anti-technological sentiment is carried over onto another track off the same album. The song, entitled “Pretty Machines,” is a poppier and instrumentally bare-bones track than “Content Nausea”.

Lyrically, the song is just as skeptical and critical of the modern age as “Content Nausea”, this song dealing with the difficulties of navigating through the modern day’s consumer-heavy culture. Here, Savage sings:

“Pretty machines/

Expensive magazines /

I’ve been tricked into buying quite a number of things /

Yeah, bullshit and dreams /

Urban ease, it means I always leave taunted”

Though the band took more of a dance-influenced stylistic approach to their music on their latest album, Sympathy For Life, many of the band’s go-to lyrical themes remained constant. This is most evident on the track, “Application Apparatus”.

The track stands out on the album for being more reminiscent of Content Nausea than any other song on the album, both stylistically and lyrically. The song details the secluded nature of being a ride-share driver in today’s day and age, and the lifeless aspect of taking directions from machines. The track’s music video perfectly encapsulates the mundane and draining nature of being a ride-share driver.

Parquet Courts are one of those bands that offer interesting insight on a wide variety of topics through their great lyricism and exciting performances. Though we have all fallen victim to the grip that our smart devices have on our everyday lives, it is still captivating to think about the ways in which we navigate through our technology-infused lives with the help of great songs like these.

“Just a broken piece of plastic /

Just another new device /

Just another nervous habit /

One more thing you have to buy”