I actually had a whole other thing written about facing the fear of your past and finding a way to control your future, but then I was sitting here listening to a mix CD and ‘Forget Her’ by Jeff Buckley came on. For some reason this song always makes me well up, and it’s a lot of the reason I love the album Grace.
It got me thinking about songs that drag that sort of emotion out in me no matter how many times I listen to them. There are a lot of them, because when it comes to music I get a bit OTT, but tonight that Buckley song got me thinking about a few. There is no way I could put these back to back on a mix CD – I’d end up in a messy puddle on the floor, unable to function for a day at least.
There are a lot of DiFranco songs that can put me flat on my back. School Night is written with such stark imagery it’s difficult to not get caught up, and it is honestly (even if you were completely unbiased) lyrically one of the best songs EVER. Ever ever.
She’s choking on the smoke of unthinkable choices
She’s haunted by the voices of so many desires
She’s bent over from the business
Of begging forgiveness
While frantically running ’round, putting out fires
What kind of scale compares the weight of two beauties?
The gravity of duties, or the groundspeed of joy?
Tell me what kind of gauge can quantify elation?
What kind of equation could I possibly employ?
Holy moly. Another one is Providence. The album To The Teeth is not my favourite DiFranco album by any stretch, but the two songs on the album that I really dig would probably make my DiFranco top 10 (the other being Swing). Providence is so bittersweet, and it’s about being in a situation where you know what you need to do to make the right decision, and yet you know you’ll do the dumb thing. It’s about hindsight and your heart leading your head.
It’s a narrow margin
Just room enough for regret
In the inch and a half between
‘Hey, how ya been?’
‘Can I kiss you yet?’
So we talk like nervous neighbours
Over a tall fence
But for the lack of
There are a lot of songs about love gone wrong, and trying to fight for and persist with something that is doomed to failure, that make me feel wretched inside. The Mess Inside by the Mountain Goats is one of those songs.
We went down to New Orleans
One weekend in the spring
Looked hard for what we’d lost
It was painful to admit it, but we couldn’t find a thing
I wanted you
To love me like you used to do
Lyrics are usually the biggest part of music for me, but occasionally there is a track that based on music and melody alone will tear me up on the inside. Oh Comely by Neutral Milk Hotel is like that, and also Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. When I was 16 (or maybe 17) I was asked by a family who lived out at The Rock to house/property sit for them while they went away. Their property backed right up to the Rock itself, and was located on around 100 acres. There was literally nothing for miles around – just me, around 20 horses, 2 dogs and 2 pigs on this great big rambling property. It was a little unnerving at times, but most of the time it fully kicked ass. I took my horse up there and spent hours riding around the scrub and exploring the caves up the mountain.
Anyway, I digress.
I took my stereo up there as well (because the idea of spending almost 2 weeks without music was inconceivable) and at the time I’d just bought by first classical music CD. I played the Moonlight Sonata on repeat for nearly that entire two weeks – it made me feel dark and hollow on the inside, but it was that delicious introspective melancholy that can be so good when you’re on your own.
What Sarah Said by Death Cab for Cutie is a fairly straight up narrative about a friend meeting death and a hospital waiting room. It’s the punch line of the song though, that gets me every time, and I think it’s because I heard it first when I was swimming through the quagmire of Nan dying and helping Mum deal with that.
I’m thinking of what Sarah said???
Love is watching someone die.
Who’s gonna watch you die?
I’ve done more thinking about that song and those lyrics than is probably healthy.
Tiny Dancer by Elton John, Hurt by Nine Inch Nails, Forever for Her (is over for me) by the White Stripes, The Good Times are Killing Me by Modest Mouse, Anna Begins by Counting Crows, If You Really Want So Little From Me by Love Outside Andromeda, So Cruel by U2, Not the Girl You Think You Are by Crowded House – the list goes on and on and on.
But really, even though I don’t have to go to work tomorrow, I should really go to bed. I think I was born to be nocturnal.