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Track Review: 12 Rods ‘What Has Happened?’

Dated, but still lovable and highly enjoyable track from the early 2000s.

Jamie Wilson

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If you’re an alternative crate digger, I have a gem for you.

“What Has Happened?” by 12 Rods is truly a track fresh out of the new millennium. It was released in 2000, though you could probably guess that just from one listen. In no way is this a knock, either. The nostalgia for 90s alternative rock forever keeps tracks such as this one relevant.

12 Rods was an indie rock band from Minneapolis. They spent nearly twelve years active in the music business before disbanding in 2004. The band released 6 studio albums during their run. “What Has Happened?” was featured on their fifth album, Separation Anxieties.

To put it simply, this song is fun. After a listen, you may get the impression of 12 Rods being a teenage garage band. The verses are awkwardly sung and the lyrics are direct and vivid. The verses carry the same demeanor one may expect of a teenaged boy, sort of clumsy and rough around the edges.

The smooth, upbeat melody is a surprising contrast to the verses, lyrically and emotionally. The uptempo instrumentation and harmonization throughout the chorus juxtapose the choppiness and ruggedness of lead singer Ryan Olcott’s delivery. Olcott, who still records as a solo artist under the name c.Kostra, sounds different on this track than most of his others, making the track uncharacteristic and intentionally goofy.

This song is also a case of the music not completely matching the lyrics, sort of like “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind.

The song tells the story of losing a lover — not only losing them to another person but watching them lose their sense of self and standards. The music, on the other hand, gives the feel of late 90’s road trip tune. It almost sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack one of those other Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen video tapes from the 90’s.

The track is very much dated, but still lovable and highly enjoyable. This track is for the nostalgic.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

A Communication student at the University of Baltimore who has a passion in many mediums of writing.

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