On Bloodyminded’s ‘Cost’

Bloodyminded is a Chicago music collective often associated with “noise” music. With roughly a dozen high-quality releases under its belt since 1996, Bloodyminded has many recordings worthy of columns in “Paperhouse.” However, since I am writing this article, I will focus on my personal favorite song by Bloodyminded.

The song is titled “Cost,” and it can be found on Bloodyminded’s debut release Trophy. The song has a simple structure, as do many songs by Bloodyminded. A grating, digital-sounding drone rings throughout the two minutes and 13 seconds; it acts as a sort of backdrop for a shouted poem, which begins a few seconds into the song. Vocalist Mark Solotroff delivers his lyrics with incredible conviction. The lyrics establish a sort of second-person monologue in which the singer seems to be yelling at another person. However, as one delves into the lyrical framework, it becomes quite clear that Solotroff is proposing a situation that is distinctly not of this plane of reality.

Solotroff begins by demanding an unnamed person to get into a car. The person (apparently some sort of prostitute) assumedly obeys, and the rest of the song proceeds as a sort of one-sided conversation. At one point, Solotroff yells, “Here’s the turnoff / Too bad you’ll be TURNED OFF / First by my idea of fun / And then, FOR GOOD.” Solotroff concludes by yelling “GET OUT. GET OUT!” He then repeats the lyrical content in its entirety with added stress.

When one listens to the song there is nothing else. The rest of the universe recedes and only “Cost” remains. It recognizes and engages the listener with the use of a spoken language, yet then immediately proposes an impossible human existence. I predict that if the entire world’s population was forced to listen to this song at sufficient volume for three full days and nights, it would cause all nations to collapse. All conflicts would cease and all men and women would no longer have need for shelter or technology of any sort. Even within the context of all recorded sound, the song stands in a class of its own. With the recording of the Trophy album, and especially “Cost,” Bloodyminded has achieved an extremely unique and informative form of human expression — one that all humans and perhaps even certain animals can benefit from experiencing.