Listen: Store Front – Task

By Annie Zhang

Photography courtesy of the artist

It's a Friday afternoon. I'm strolling through my neighborhood in San Francisco, soaking up the wintry California sun, trying to find a street I've never walked down before.

I’m in the middle of a month-long break between jobs, and I’ve been finding a lot of joy in doing things — like taking this walk — that used to feel like a waste of time, back when I had less time. Still, it’s hard to shake a nagging feeling that I should be doing something more productive. I try my best to ignore it.

Task, the new EP from Store Front, is a good companion for my aimless journey. The record opens with “Rip the Price Off,” an ode to doing nothing and refusing to apologize for it. Singing in lush, clear tones over rhythmic guitar, Amy Rose Spiegel comes clean:

When it comes to my job, look, I slack off
I don't try too hard /
Even writing this song, I tried to do
the bare minimum

In a country where we’re told that our worth is directly tied to how productive we are, Spiegel’s barefaced laziness feels like a radical act. She ends the song by telling us, over and over, to “Rip the price off / Rip the price off.” What would life be like if we didn’t think of everything in terms of its value?

On “I Would,” Spiegel takes her doctrine of slacking off to new heights: “Taking half an Adderall / And crushing a crossword on the train / Standing naked in front of the fridge.” But there’s an edge, a slight anxiety, when she follows with:

It's tight that all my best friends are geniuses /
but I'm unfamiliar with personal goals

The sarcasm is the first indication we get that Spiegel may not be totally satisfied with where she is. This continues in the chorus, where it seems like there’s something holding her back from doing exactly what she wants to do: “Do what you want, you say / Well I would but / I can’t stay / It’s up to you my love.” To me, this track expresses the tension and anxiety that comes with going against the grain. If “Rip the Price Off” is about radical laziness, then “I Would” is about grappling with its consequences.

The last song on Task finishes playing just as I reach the intersection of the street heading towards my house. I pause the record before it can loop, and hesitate for a second — there’s laundry I have to do, groceries I have to buy, emails I have to respond to… but I also really want to listen to this record again. Yeah, all that other stuff can wait. I press play and keep walking.

Annie is a programmer and artist based in San Francisco.