i have two terrible habits (well, two that i'll mention):
i get hooked on one particular song on an album. i can't let it go, and yeah - that's a good thing, right? i mean, i really like it or i'm perplexed by something about it or i want to soak it in more or i am curious as to how it will change in my head if i hear it a whole bunch of times in a row. that's all well and fine, but my unstable attention span (call it what you will) doesn't encourage me to give the rest of the album a shot. my dear friend joel hipped me to magic numbers by quinsin nachoff, and i never got past the third track. it took me over ten years to listen to the rest of kenny wheeler's angel song, because i was afraid that the rest of it wouldn't measure up to nicolette
i rarely understand song lyrics, something i've known for quite a while. i can understand them if i sit down and read the liner notes, but have zero success gathering their meaning midstream. i used to memorize books of rap lyrics from d-nice, slick rick the ruler, kool moe dee, rakim, mc lyte, third bass - and spit them back flawlessly with the street knowledge only a white kid growing up in a small farming community could grasp. i like songs that have lyrics just fine. i just can't seem to remember them, and any heavy meaning attached is often lost on me.
i've been crushed by the flu bug recently, missing a couple of days at school and logging 22 hours of pert-near straight shuteye. other family casualties included my youngest son and the wife, who is currently reeling from her battle with the winter foe. lots of horizontal time + lots of drugs + absence of routine + regular daily shit that i sometimes struggle to handle = swoons into the darkness, the depths from which neither steve harvey's big ol' lips nor new laughs my favorite rerun can snatch me.
i made the 15 minute cruise in my car tonight to go watch my oldest son ball with his freshman squad, and popped in the headphones en route. i dialed up regina spektor's far album, scrolled to the only track i've checked out, hit repeat and play. one of my students, the type of girl i could only hope my kids will date in the future, hipped me to this record. this is her favorite tune too. i let it overflow into my ears, and kept it running as i meandered through crowded high school hallway maze to the gymnasium. and then it hit me ...
"you're using your headphones to drown out your mind"
i stopped dead in my tracks, in front of the tacky glass cases which house all of those trophies that seemed to mean the world at the time and now have cruelly met their fate as mere decor, and thought about that lyric. do i do this? how i often do i do this? i know its okay to find refuge in music, but am i clutching to it like linus to his blanket? and is that so bad? somebody tell me it's not.
i've read some interpretations of the vague prose, and have settled into a couple of possibilities. "eet" is the backspace on an old school typewriter, allowing you to type over a letter; not as a correction, but instead as a redo. this song is about sadness, depression, a lost faith and sense of self. suddenly the world has changed, but really you are the one that has changed - and you can't remember who you are, how it happened, or how to get back.
now, chalk it up to copious doses of nyquil or nearly a day's worth of dreaming, but the personal timing is eerie as hell. either way, it's a beautiful tune.
hey claire - thanks for turning me on to it.