Sunday, August 21, 2011

If these posts were like Dylan songs, even the most rabid Dylanologist would find it hard to recall the prior reference to the Cure's "Friday I'm In Love". I suppose that's something to be proud of, but onto the matter at hand. Locked away with this song, which I've heard properly maybe one or two times, improperly only a few more, is some peculiar emotion and fragment of memory. I can remember sitting by myself in a hotel room, staying all alone for the first time, and finding myself oddly upset by the cheerfulness of the song. Lord knows why; being the Cure, you always get a sense that things can take a gloomy turn any minute, so it isn't a supreme declaration of happiness or anything. But there was something in the melody and tone of the song that triggered the feeling. Its simplicity, its wishfulness, and (in my reading) the sense that no matter how many times you find yourself standing with your head on the door, eventually it all works out and you find some new reason to live which makes the rest of life seem worthwhile.

When I write nowadays about yearning for the past, I do so remembering full well moments like these. If you asked me if I was happy and fulfilled then, well, evidently not. So I think my revisionist reflection considers how much better off things were, even if I didn't realize it. Thinking back to those days now, I wish to tell myself: please don't cry over this. This is only the first act. Today, strolling through an airport once again, when I heard the song playing in the background I did not know how to respond. After all, here I am after so many years, with these same thoughts and feelings. Does it ever end? It's a sobering reminder that things don't always just work out and right themselves. More depressingly, it's a reminder that perhaps the finale has yet to reveal itself.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why be coy? I've expressed frustration at a recent tendency to star gaze and think of summers past. But I've mostly copped out from giving any concrete explanation for why this has come about. It is true that it is rather non-specific, but I'll be darned if I can't make some educated guesses: I find myself physically distanced from the only people who have any semblance of a decent understanding of me. Through a combination of ill luck and shockingly poor decisions, I've found myself increasily unwilling to let down my guard to anyone I meet nowadays. It's no surprise that I feel emotionally stranded, and I naturally fear that it will always be so. Moving forward requires opening up, and maybe also understanding why exactly I feel these mythical people from my past should lament my absence. Doesn't look like I have too much to offer them as of today.

1) Cockney Rebel, "Sweet Dreams/Psychomodo". Sitting in a hospital bed and discovering Dylan may have pushed Harley towards a surrealistic lyrical style, but he evidently paid close attention to the importance of intonation in the message. I think it's what saves the songs, which can otherwise be too obtuse, unlike Dylan. No one else comes to mind immediately as having forged such an idiosyncratic style of delivery (not to mention voice), one which can convey emotions that would be completely lost on paper.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I once expected I would grow up and learn to look at life in the right way, and leave behind silly philosophizing about the meaning of it all. Instead I seem to have grown up and learnt the art of determining the one best moment from the past 20 whatever years that serves as perfect contrast to the one I'm experiencing now, and curse everything that brought me to something that feels awfully close to a meaningless pursuit. This would make for a fine living, I think, spending every moment thinking not about how to get forward but how things were so much clearer and better in a time when I didn't have to make any decisions.

Friday, August 05, 2011

1) The Blackeyed Susans, "Every Gentle Soul". We all know McComb has his preferred subject matter, but it rarely disappoints. Because, at least to my reckoning, his lyrics rarely ring false, and convince you he lived through the anguish and felt it very deeply. The desperate statement, almost a plea, from the narrator here counts amongst his best lines on the subject. At the right moment, it can seriously shake one's constitution. The only remedy is to keep listening and wait for "Memories" to come on.

2) The Go-Betweens, "Boundary Rider". At times during the final album, McLennan gives the impression that he managed to compress all the mystery and beauty in the art of lyric writing that he picked up over the years and double its potency. I don't quite know the literal story being told here (if any), but I very much understand "the sky so deep that you can't find your sleep". As he clearly got better with age to the point of virtually floating above us anyway, one can construct comforting stories about the end that the album suggests. When all else fails, there is still the trove of melody and lyric that helps keep us walking through our tears.

3) The Triffids, "Spanish Blue". Evidence of the songwriter's softer side, in case it gets lost amongst the passion of his more definitive work, and a quaint piece of history in their development. But I don't think it's just the hopeless devotee in me that sees traces of the lyrical talent here. Summer days walking around the city, watching people strewn about the sidewalks after a busy night, and I can't help but bring some of the words to mind. And the opening lines, well, they summarize not only my current stance to distant lands, but also serve as a calling to one day return and get back to what is really important.