I think what I like most about music is a person’s ability to learn about themselves from the music. I don’t think you can do it with every song, but I know that with certain songs, or artists, or albums, you discover a side of yourself that perhaps you didn’t realize you had, or recognize feelings you didn’t know you were feeling, or even admit emotions you were avoiding.
There are several albums or artists that have made me feel this way. To begin with, obviously Bright Eyes. And I say obviously because pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I’ve been their biggest fan since I was seventeen. Except, lately, (and by lately I mean maybe in the last year or so) I always skip their songs on shuffle. I never choose to listen specifically to Bright Eyes, and maybe it’s because I’m just not that sad anymore. Or it could be that I associate Bright Eyes specifically to Manhattan, KS, and I am so disassociated with that town/hellhole that I don’t relate to it on that profound level anymore. Damien Rice is on this same level, definitely. Specifically, “O” and more specifically the song, “Amie.” Also Cursive and “The Recluse” or maybe the entire Ugly Organ album. The songs are still good, in their own respect, but the remind me of a Megh that doesn’t really exist anymore. Or a Megh that I don’t want to exist anymore, take your pick.
Another band that I’ve recently felt incredibly connected to is The National. Jesus, the National is so good. I know I’ve written about this before, but seriously, the entire Boxer album is fucking gold. The album makes me feel very wise and vulnerable. I can’t even explain what that feels like. The lyrics are poetic, realistic, poignant. The whole album is eye opening and I when I listen to the songs, I feel most exposed than I can imagine, but in a very protected sort of way, in the I’m just in my car, and I can choose to turn off this song, or I can get out of the car, and I will no longer be exposed in this way anymore. Take for example the song, “Ada.” For me it’s all about the words. It’s the lyrics, the words I relate to, like Neruda’s poetry, or Bukowski’s, or mine.
Ada don’t stay in the lake too long/it lives alone and it barely knows you/it’ll have a nervous breakdown and fall/into a thousand pieces around you/Stand inside an empty tuxedo with grapes in my mouth/waiting for Ada/Ada hold onto yourself by the sleeves/I think everything counts a little more than we think/leave it all up in the air/leave it all up in the air/leave it all up in the air/Ada Ada Ada Ada/Ada I can hear the sound of your laugh through the wall/Ada don’t talk about reasons why you don’t want to talk about reasons/why you don’t wanna talk/now that you got everybody you consider sharp/all alone, all together, all together in the dark
How can that not be the most meaningful words in your life? The lyrics remind me of Adah from the book, The Poisonwood Bible.
Another band that is overturning my world right now is Wilco. I’ve listened to Wilco on and off since I was seventeen, since I met Tyson Gough. But mostly individual songs, “Sunken Treasure” or “Jesus, Etc.” or “I am Trying to Break your Heart” and others, but never whole albums (though I’ve listened to much off of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot). And I am a firm believer that in order to fully understand the importance of an album, you have to listen through to the whole thing, at least 3 times. And not like in your car, but actually, listening, to every word, to every note. So, on the advice of a fellow co-worker, I have started with Summer Teeth. And it’s so good. Every song is so good. And it’s not as if I’m surprised, but I realize again, how much I’ve learned from myself, of myself when I listen to music. Take for example the song, “She’s a Jar.” God, it’s fucking golden.
She’s a jar/With a heavy lid/My pop quiz kid/A sleepy kisser/A pretty war/With feelings hid/She begs me not to miss her/She says forever/To light a fuse/We could use/A hand full of wheel/And a day off/And a bruised road/However you might feel/Tonight is real/When I forget how to talk I sing/Won’t you please/Bring that flash to shine/And turn my eyes red/Unless they close/When you click/And my face gets sick/Stuck/Like a question unposed/Just climb aboard/The tracks of a train’s arm/In my fragile family tree/And watch me floating inches above/The people under me/Please beware the quiet front yard/I warned you/Before there were water skies/I warned you not to drive/Dry your eyes you poor devil/Are there really ones like these/The ones I dream/Float like leaves/And freeze to spread skeleton wings/I passed through before I knew you/I believe it’s just because/Daddy’s payday is not enough/Oh I believe it’s all because/Daddy’s payday is not enough/Just climb aboard/The tracks of a train’s arm/In my fragile family tree/And watch me floating inches above/The people under me/She’s a jar/With a heavy lid/My pop quiz kid/A sleepy kisser/A pretty war/My feelings hid/She begs me not to hit her
I don’t even have anything else to say. Every word is perfect. It’s weird, I wonder what I’ll learn next through the words of someone else’s song.
EDIT: I completely fucking forgot about Metric. I know that I have a lot of friends who don’t like Metric, and frankly I don’t care. I went through a big phase where I listened to Metric nonstop, and I felt I related a lot to them also. Which is interesting, because as you have noticed, most of the bands listed here mostly play sad/melancholy songs, whereas Metric is pretty upbeat most of the time. I love them in their own place, but I also find myself not listening to them much anymore either. Each band to their own moment in time, to their own Megh that existed only within that time frame.