Published on March 6th, 2018 | by Gerry Galipault0
Song Premiere: Manwomanchild’s ‘Memory Leak’
Good or bad, social media is here to stay, at least for a little while longer. But David Child, aka Manwomanchild, will just ride this out on his own.
The Philadelphia-based singer-musician addresses the dangers of nostalgia on his new single, “Memory Leak,” which makes its premiere on Pauseandplay.com (click the Soundcloud link below).
Child says “Memory Leak” was going to be about “how friendships fade over time, about meeting up with an old friend only to discover you have nothing in common anymore.”
“As I reworked the lyrics and thought more about my own friendships,” he says, “I also thought a bit about Facebook, which I hardly use anymore. People rarely unfriend each other even as the actual relationships fade, so that the network continues to document connections that no longer really exist. For me, it’s basically a time capsule of 2010.
“All of this makes its way into the song in dribs and drabs. The song imagines the listener receiving a friend request from someone from their past (described variously as ‘a proxy,’ ‘a concept,’ and ‘a project’), one which they accept, knowing that they will never actually interact with the person (‘put me on your list to keep me at bay’).”
By not using Facebook much anymore, Child says he’s “unintentionally starving it of data.”
“Facebook works for advertisers by drawing clever conjectures about the kind of person I am based on the data they have about me,” he says. “In the song, I imagine a world where, in the absence of fresh data, the algorithm invents new data. (‘In a yearbook photo with a kid I’ve never seen’).”
As for the song title, Child says: “Memory leak is a software development term: Every computer program makes use of temporary hardware memory. As it’s running, it requests the use of blocks of memory, stores information in them, and then, when it’s no longer needs the data, it ‘frees’ the memory. In a sense, a program ‘chooses to forget things.’ This ‘forgetting’ allows other programs to make use of that same hardware memory later on (there’s only so much of it to go around). If a program doesn’t “free up the memory” it ends up holding onto memory it no longer needs. This is what is called a ‘memory leak.’ (Yes, it seems counterintuitive to think of holding onto too much of something as a leak). In a sense, human memory is even more prone to ‘leaks.’ Of course, we forget things all the time, but we don’t get to choose which things we forget.”
“Memory Leak” and Child’s soothing vocals would fit nicely in the 1970s era of singer-songwriters.
“My influences are a little bit all over the map,” Child says. “I listen to a lot of ’60s, ’70s and ’80s music. The influences on my second record were The Zombies, ’90s-era Belle and Sebastian, Spoon, with maybe a touch of New Order thrown in. This song has a bit of a New Order / Psychedelic Furs feel to it.”
Manwomanchild’s last album, “Awkward Island,” was released in June 2016. Will “Memory Leak” be included on a forthcoming LP?
“Yes, but not for a little bit,” Child says. “I’m going to be releasing a string of singles in 2018, some of which will make their way onto the next full-length record.”