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Okkervil River Combine Poetry and Violence at Lollapalooza

August 2, 2008 11:30 PM ET

Okkervil River got things off to a murderous start. The Austin band opened with "The President's Dead" and immediately continued on a bloody pace with the violent wishfulness of "Black." Yet to frontman Will Sheff and a horde of attentive onlookers, it was all just part of a literary act in which sharing misery with company became reason to celebrate and shed any ill will. Rarely has dismay sounded so joyous. Sheff introduced an Ivy League literary seriousness to jangly street-busking pop, rhyming lyrical couplets and chronicling character predicaments as he told stories of loss and retribution. By the end of the performance, he'd loosened his tie and sang with the intensity of a spurned preacher, promoting the escapism of "Unless Its Kicks" as universal truth.

More Lollapalooza Coverage: Rock 'N' Roll Diary

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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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