Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm | Park West | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm All Ages Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., Feb. 28, 8 p.m. 2009

Jonathan Coulton writes songs about intraoffice e-mails from zombies (“Re: Your Brains”), hosts his own extensive wiki (the JoCopedia), and pals around with noted author, fake know-it-all, and portrayer of PCs in Apple commercials John Hodgman—three things that taken together certainly put him in the running to be named the Geekiest Musician in the World. But it’s his song “Still Alive” that clinches the title for him. Taken on its own it’s a charming bit of half-acoustic laptop pop that works on you like a razor blade in a party-size Snickers—it’s got a playfully bittersweet melody somewhat redolent of They Might Be Giants, sung by what sounds like a text-to-speech application, and lyrics that mix nerdy jokes and mordant, even nasty wit. Not all that geeky, you say? Then consider the context in which “Still Alive” was intended to be heard—over the closing credits to the brilliant video game Portal, after you’ve spent hours tying your brain in knots with spatial puzzles and enduring taunts from an insane artificial intelligence, which is now singing you the song. If you’re as tense and frustrated as any normal human would be after struggling to beat the game, Coulton’s tender ode to science and murder is a treat more delicious than cake (which is not a lie). Paul & Storm open. —Miles Raymer

Price: $20

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