I’ll fake it through the day with some help from Johnnie Walker Red…
You had plans for both of us that involved a trip out of town,
To a place I’ve seen in a magazine, that you left lying around.
I don’t have you with me, but I keep a good attitude…
Do you miss me, Miss Misery, like you say you do?
I guess you could say this was my first real experience with Elliott Smith, who I grew to love dearly once I was an adult. Gus Van Sant had the brilliant sense of mind to use Elliott’s music, mostly from “Either/Or”, in “Good Will Hunting” and the rest was luminous. This song was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars, the year the juggernaut that was Celine Dion and Titanic handily took the award. But in the aftermath of his suicide, knowing his music reached such a large audience then was something of a miracle.
The song itself is bleak, when you listen closely to the lyrics. It’s part of the reason why I included his live performance at the Oscars here - there’s a certain vulnerability of this soft-spoken, tortured artist pouring out his heart to one of the largest audiences on the planet, against some of the most bombastic tunes of the year. It’s quiet, but it speaks volumes in its earnestness.
I’m a little in love with his music. And I hope that love affair never fades.
Years go by, will I still be waiting for somebody else to understand?
Years go by if I’m stripped of my beauty and the orange clouds raining in my hand..
Years go by, will I choke on my tears, ‘til finally there is nothing left?
One more casualty, you know we’re too easy easy easy…
Sometimes I hear my voice, and it’s been here… silent all these years.
As I mentioned in a previous entry, I’ve been listening to Tori since I was 14. And so much of her music has had some sort of weird impact on my life, whether it’s thanks to her lyrics or whether the song played a role in the disjointed soundtrack of my life. But this one… this has stuck with me.
When I was an angsty, confused high school freshman. When I was confused about what was going on in my head. When I felt no one understood me, my goals, my incentives, my world. When I was still figuring myself out, in the frenzy and chaotic mess that is high school. I yearned for some level of understanding, even if I obtained it through a song that was close to a decade old.
It’s been 14 years since this song screamed out to me, and it still remains something I carry. It brings me directly back to that time where my confusion reigned and I had no idea what the hell I was doing in my little world. I’ve since figured it out, but I’ll always remember just how trying my life was then. Back when everything seemed just a little more complicated.
If the businessmen drink my blood like the kids in art school said they would,
Then I guess I’ll just begin again.. you say, “can we still be friends?”
If I was scared… I would.
And if I was bored… you know I would.
And if I was yours… but I’m not.
When Arcade Fire took home the Album of the Year Grammy last year, a part of me felt vindicated. This band that flew under the radar for several years, beloved by the indie scene, breaking into the collective stratosphere in a musical world full of Justin Biebers and Katy Perrys. This was real music, a diverse group filled with both uncensored euphoria and sense of underlying angst, sharing a stage with bonafide celebrities.
Some would say they sold out with The Suburbs. I disagree; I found the album to be the best one they’ve put out yet. Songs like this are an example of why I love them to pieces.
And truly, this song was part of my “divorce” mix last spring because I felt it could describe what I felt my ex-husband might be feeling. After my recent breakup, it’s truer than ever. How can I still be a friend with someone who broke my heart? We may have been friends before this beautiful mess, but there’s no way we could go back to that. We passed that curve months ago. And it saddens me.
But it’s summer and a time for new beginnings. I guess I will truly just begin again.
Time casts a spell on you, but you won’t forget me.
I know I could have loved you, but you would have not let me.
I’ll follow you down ‘til the sound of my voice will haunt you…
You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.
I remember when the live album, “The Dance”, was released my freshman year of high school. Somehow I found myself enamored with this band, who hit their peak in the late 70s.
Now, as an adult, I understand what “Rumours” was really all about - the end of a long and tumultuous relationship and detaching yourself from a person. Having experienced a breakup recently that nearly gutted me, I get it. When you lose the passion and intimacy and love of someone you wanted in your life forever, it’s not easy to cope.
The passion between Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, in this video, is electric. Their love clearly extended past their final split and it’s clear they’ll always have some sort of bond. And that’s what makes a breakup so genuinely painful - what’s going to happen with the bond you shared? Where does the intimacy go? How can you move on from something you needed so desperately?
Needless to say, this entire album has been wonderfully cathartic for me. I’m still trying to heal, as trying as it’s been. But I’ve got hope that everything will be okay in the end.
another head aches, another heart breaks,
I’m so much older than I can take…
and my affection, well it comes and goes,
I need direction to perfection, no no no no…
help me out…
you know, you’ve gotta help me out,
don’t you put me on the back burner, you know you gotta help me out…
I still have no idea why this song was so relevant to me in those last few months of 2007. I remember discovering it on the radio on my way to work one morning, despite the fact that this album had been out since my first year in San Francisco. but it was driving without being overpowering. it had a sense of empowerment.
those four months that fell after my return from the summer in California were unexpectedly relaxing. it was as though someone had turned the dial of my psyche from one extreme to another. it was easy, then, to recall how complacent and disillusioned I was before I drove back home with Jake in May. once I’d returned to the Midwest, my confidence and inspiration had returned from a place they’d been hiding since 2004.
with everything going on now in my world, I hope to find that confidence again soon.
I took my love and I took it down.
I climbed a mountain and I turned around,
and I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills,
'til the landslide brought it down…
well, I’ve been afraid of changing, ‘cause I’ve built my life around you.
but time makes you bolder, even children get older,
I’m getting older, too…
with everything going on in my world, right now, I don’t think any real commentary is necessary here…
one of the hardest parts of this has nearly passed. the second part will come in a few months.
I saw the streets all ripe with jewels,
balconies and the laundry lines…
they tried to make me welcome there, but their streets did not feel like mine.
so long… I’m going… I’m goin’ home.
there’s a person who knew this song could calm me at one of the most stressful times in the past two weeks [which is saying a LOT].
thank you. it was what I needed, then, and it’s still a small piece of therapy, hidden in iTunes.
another one from “Up in the Air”. it’s a thing of beauty.
will I recall his parting words?
must I accept his fate or take myself far from this place…
I thought I heard a black bell toll,
a little bird did sing..
man has no choice when he wants everything…
we’ll rise above the scarlet tide that trickles down through the mountain…
and separates the widow from the bride.
there’s a very historical feel to this song; no doubt because it was written for “Cold Mountain” back in 2003.
it brings me to 2007. a good friend [whom I miss], a last-minute jaunt across the Bay Bridge at night into SoMa, the last time I was able to visit San Francisco for close to two years. the excited energy could have negated the melancholy of this song… but fortunately, it did the opposite. a delicate and hopeful balance.