A few days ago, I actually received a request on my Facebook for a topic to cover on this very blog. I was indeed pretty flattered (yes, it was my twin brother making the request, but at least SOMEONE's paying attention), and I intend to tackle it in the very next blog I do. I actually have a topic I've been meaning to address, but it's taken me some time because of the very things that have inspired the topic. Oh, sweet irony.
I'm not sure if everyone in the world is like this, but many of the people I know turn to music when everything seems to be going wrong. Maybe it's a case of "misery loves company", but I know that when I'm upset, I like to listen to music that reminds me that other people have had it just as bad, and will again. It gives me hope that I'll get through whatever the situation is.
I am also aware that there is a subset of people who actually listen to happy music when they are upset, using things like Sublime, or reggae, or Japanese-pop to break through the malaise they are feeling. I think this is kind of creepy and weird. No offense to that crowd, but I just don't understand you. We speak different languages, and mine happens to be superior. I kid, I kid (kind of).
My weapon of choice when life is a bitch?
Disintegration, of course. Me and about six trillion other people, I know. It's not original or interesting or groundbreaking for this to be my lifeboat in the dark. There are other artists besides The Cure that would work just as well. Tom Waits, for instance. I totally get the people that go that route. Joy Division, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Radiohead . . . the list goes on of bands that would make the grade.
There's something about this record, though, that sets itself apart from all the rest, and to whom I find myself gravitating to time and time again. I mean, don't these gentlemen look like they were put on earth for just this purpose?
I hear Pictures of You, and I think of the photos that used to grace the side of my refrigerator, and the walls of my apartment. Pictures of a man and a woman, holding two happy children. A moment in time that is gone and is never, ever coming back.
Last Dance evokes similar feelings, calling to mind all the beginnings of all the relationships I've ever been in, when everything seems magical and everything seems possible, and how those feelings come back to haunt you when it all ends.
Plainsong, Closedown, and Homesick are also birds of a feather for me, shimmering and bright and beautiful. They are so evocative of better times, but from the vantage point of someone in abject misery, remembering when they weren't so hopeless.
I hear Prayers for Rain, and lately I think of one of the finest, most honorable, most forthright people I've ever known in my life. This man is laying in a hospital-style bed in his home, dying of liver cancer. This man dedicated his life to keeping people safe and doing the right thing, and this is how it ends for him? It's fucking bullshit, but that's how life goes. The song seems to be to be about useless hope, which is what I can't help but feel about this.
Lullaby reminds me that there are things in the world that always want to hurt me, and that I should never, ever truly let my guard down all the way. The spider-man is always hungry, indeed.
The magnum opus of the album, The Same Deep Water As You, is also the story of my life. A quote from the song:
"Kiss me goodbye, pushing out before I sleep, it's lower now and slower now the strangest twist upon your lips but I don't see and I don't feel, but tightly hold up silently my hands before my fading eyes and in my eyes your smile, the very last thing before i go...
I will kiss you, I will kiss you, I will kiss you forever on nights like this, I will kiss you, I will kiss you, and we shall be together..."
Two people, engaged in mutual self-destruction, with the other as collateral damage. I engage in this about every two or three years. Of course, if the whole record was like this, I'd probably be sawing at my wrists before the fifth track.
But then, nothing is dark forever.
Lovesong is like an arrow to my heart every time I hear it. I hear the simple, plaintive chorus that was written as a wedding present to Robert Smith's wife, "However far away, I will always love you, however long I stay, I will always love you, whatever words I say, I will always love you. I will always love you.", and I realize that it's possible for me, someday. There might be someone, somewhere in the world that makes me feel as powerfully as the person that wrote these words. It gives me hope that I will find someone that doesn't seek to change or rearrange me, or use me as a crutch or flotation device, but someone who sees the best in me and forgives all the rest.
And finally, the last track, pointedly called Untitled. Lyrically, it may seem to be the darkest song on the album. Observe - "Pushing my face in the memory of you again
But I never know if it's real, Never know how I wanted to feel, Never quite said what I wanted to say to you, Never quite managed the words to explain to you, Never quite knew how to make them believable, And now the time has gone".
Though the song is clear that the end has been reached, that is often not a bad thing at all. Endings and closure can be painful and the source of regret and dismay. When all that is past and assimilated, however, is when the realization comes that a new beginning is around the corner. Now that this chapter in my life is rushing headlong to the inevitable conclusion, I am beginning to take heart that maybe I'm feeling this way to allow something truly beautiful into my life again.
A slim and fleeting hope, sometimes, but I'll take it.