Nearly two years ago now, I rediscovered music. When things started getting bad - and I don’t mean just Not Working, but capital-B-A-D BAD – with my ex, I bought Plans by Death Cab for Cutie.
I’d stand in the middle of our living room and look up at the ceiling and listen to “Marching Bands of Manhattan” over and over again.
Sorrow drips into your heart through a pin holeAnd I’d shake.
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half-empty or half-full
It slowly rises, your love is gonna drown
It’s not like I’d forgotten about music or anything. Quite the opposite. I’d been going to shows pretty consistently, and been living with musicians for nearly 3 years. Although I was surrounded by music, and happily so, it was a very passive engagement. Other people picked the songs, other people wrote the songs, other people practiced them. I might help out with lyrics or structure here and there, but mostly I just either paid attention or didn’t. I was not engaged.
But DCFC pulled me in again. I was ripe for engagement. I was feeling confused and sad and torn about what should we do and how can the yelling stop and what do I want here and now and what do I want in the future and I think maybe it is. Not. Drip. This. Drip. Life. Drip. Drip.
And I’d sing.
Last summer, I dove back into music wholeheartedly. I went to see shows by people I didn’t know. I bought CDs by bands I’d barely heard of. I faithfully listened to John in the Morning on kexp.org to find out about what was going on. I read music blogs obsessively. I discovered Wolf Parade.
Apologies for the Queen Mary is an excellent album, start to finish. There are great lyrics on it and crashing drums and wicked weird harmonies and I am a big fan of vintage organs. I became addicted, listening to it compulsively, kind of sick of it, but needing to hear it one more time. Just once more.
But far and away my favourite song was “I’ll Believe in Anything.” It first found its way into me when Wolf Parade played at Barrymore’s. That was a fucking great show. I kinda knew the album, and enjoyed the show altogether. Then that song came on and I shut my eyes and turned my face up to the lights and felt the vibrations coming up through my feet and entering my nervous system, zinging the song all around my body.
It became my anthem. I have probably listened to it a couple hundred times. There have been days where I just put it on repeat and hit play.
When I listened to it, when I remembered listening to it, when I sang it in the shower or under my breath it made me believe I could take the fire out from the wire and take away your shaky knees and made me feel like I was very brave for walking around with both legs and that I could find you to fight the scary day with me. That we might pull the tricks from our sleeves to find we’ll believe in anything, both together. That I would hold your face in my hands and tell you to look through me to a place far away from here, a safe place, with olive trees, where nobody knows you and nobody gives a damn either way. And it made me believe that someone might give me their blood and their bones and their voice and their ghost. Their eyes, to see sunshine, in the place far away from here.
And so I shut my eyes, and look to the light. And I sing. And I shake.