Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, The Key is recapping 14 songs that scream “love” just as strongly as they scream “Philly.” The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia continues with “South America” from Thin Lips’ 2018 album Chosen Family.
“There’s nothing dense about it,” said singer-guitarist Chrissy Tashjian during Thin Lips‘ 2018 Audiotree session, after the band performed the song “South America.” “It’s just the truth.”
On the one hand, Tashjian is correct — the two-minute, fifty-four-second punk jammer is a barrage of feelings screamed in catharsis from the depths of a West Philly basement. It’s a very literal and direct accounting of emotions felt in the aftermath of love. It’s uncomplicated: a breakup song, pretty much. But it’s not a resentful one, nor is it a self-pitying one. Rather, “South America” is the rare look back at love gone wrong, presented with utter clarity. It’s a breakup song where the person doing the reflecting owns up to their own faults, as well as the flaws in compatibility that combine with those faults to stop a long-running love affair dead in its tracks.
And then, that person’s ex goes to South America. With a woman that they only met last month. WTF.
At gigs, Tashjin says she doesn’t really feel the need to introduce the song — anything that could be said about it is said within the song itself. But it’s in that raw honesty, that vulnerability, that Thin Lips is able to arrive at something profound. Continue reading →