Lately I have noticed that girls are taking down their Leo and Brad posters, and the fellas are ditching the hair gel and breaking out their old polo tees again. I also find myself suddenly calling ingenious MTV prankster, Ashton Kutcher, a style icon. I mean he did start the whole trucker hat, white-trash glam look thing right? Oh, and don't even get me started about my new crush on the OC's Adam Brody. The shaggy-haired, witty skater sends arrows through my heart with every clever one-liner. I have even replaced all my Justin Timberlake and Enrique Iglesias tunes for John Mayer and Sondre Lochre ballads on my MP3 player. What is going on you ask? I asked myself the same question, and I could only come up with one answer. Yes, it's true, the nerds have finally gotten their revenge! Pop culture has officially made a transformation from "Hollywood Glamour" to, what I like to call, "Geek Chic".
The music scene has also been affected by the "Geek Chic" phenomenon. I nominate singer/musician Jason Bajada (web site) as Montreal's contribution to this new revolution. Bajada has been part of the local music scene since 1999 when he founded the solo project-disguised-as-a-band Ocean Hope. In 2002, Ocean Hope disbanded and Bajada began collaborating with drummer/producer Fred Bouchard of Modern Stories. The two then found themselves in a band-disguised-as-a-solo project. Still with me? It is this kind of quirky behavior that makes Jason Bajada and "their" music so charismatic.
Bajada's first in-studio effort, Puer Dolor, is chockfull of songs about love, life and personal growth. Despite being a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, Bajada manages to sing about the dark side of relationships on songs like "Cheating" and "Wall", bittersweet ballads with infectious hooks. On his personal favorite "Bad People Missing", Bajada writes about the confusion and anxiety felt when getting personal with the opposite sex. "You need to find out what you are looking for in a person. Are you looking for your opposite, or someone who complements you?" Bajada does not shy away from sharing his life lessons. His open and painfully honest lyrics seem to be ripped from the pages of a diary he wouldn't want anyone to read. However, I claim this writing style as the official language of the new "Geek Chic" revolution.
When played live, Bajada's songs get stripped down and reconstructed as extended symphonies. His live performances have earned him a reputation around these parts. Small venues create an intimate setting perfectly suited for sing-a-longs and hand clapping. One such performance, at Cabaret Music Hall in November 2003, was so magical that it was recorded and simultaneously released with Puer Dolor, a perfect souvenir for his faithful audiences. Isn't that thoughtful?
Instead of sunglasses, golden brown locks hide his mysterious eyes as he takes the stage in an argyle sweater. A glass of wine replaces the clichéd bottle of beer as he salutes his partners in crime, Fred on drums and Catherine Le Saurnier on cello. Jason Bajada then mesmerizes the crowd with his tantalizing melodies and candid lyrics better than any "Rock star" ever could. Clearly Bajada has just what it takes to be Montreal music scene's official ambassador of "Geek Chic".
Not feeling Geek-ified yet? Not to worry, you too can be a part of this new trend. Try looking more like Jake Gyllenhal and less like Ricky Martin. Grow your hair out and whip out your glasses. Brush up on your quick wit and sarcasm. Trade in your Beamer for a skateboard. Last step, go out and buy Bajada's albums and the transformation will be complete. Viva la revolucìon!
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