Thursday, October 3, 2013

I use music as a receptacle. Music holds my emotional trash. It didn't always used to be this way. I used to grow with music. I used to form myself through music. I don't know when this shifted. I think it's when I started to get hurt. [How emo of me. For real.] More and more, music became a place for me to rest my sadness. More and more, old music started to haunt me. Anything I used to listen to during a particularly bad time in my life became unbearable to listen to. It's gotten worse. Anything I've ever listened to has become unbearable to listen to. This has happened for two reasons: One is that I associate the most important music in my life with either J, who passed away, or R, who left; Two is that since I started getting hurt however many years ago, I started to listen to music more for its ability to get me through tragedy than for its inherent beauty or worth. This is terrible. I know. My 16 year old self hates my 25 year old self [for many reasons, music being only one].

When Jake passed away, I knew I'd need new music to listen to that had no association with anything or anyone in my life. Because I knew I'd forever have a hard time listening to that music again after my initial period of grief. Because whatever music I chose would only always and forever remind me of that pain of loss. So I chose a random band that showed up on my Pandora station. I hate Pandora. I think Pandora is for people who don't care about music. Yes. I said it. But I used Pandora in December because all my own music was off limits to me. And I didn't know how to find something else on such short notice. So this song came on while I was driving down C-470 on my way to either a friend's house or drinks with my UCD people downtown. And it was called "Little Talks" and it had the word ghost in the lyrics and there was a male/female kind of call and response And some days I can't even trust myself/It's killing me to see you this way. And instead of "trust" I heard "dress." Somedays I can't even dress myself. And at that point, on December 18th or 19th, I'd had an impossible time picking myself up off the floor, pulling myself from my bed. And this spoke to me. And R, from far away, was hurting at my pain. And for me, this song was my sadness and his sadness at my sadness and all the sadness in the world that I couldn't contain inside my sad body so I poured it into this song. Bought the album. Of Monsters and Men. I don't actually know the name of the album. But I put everything I was feeling into it in the hopes that someday I'd be able to walk away from it and leave those songs and my pain behind. Sometime, though, in the course of my emptying, I lost R, too, and each of these songs took on an entirely new meaning. And that male voice began to ring empty. And I stopped listening to anything at all.

Finally, this summer, I had some distance, some clarity, and two bands I loved released new albums. So I clung to Daft Punk and The National with every ounce of myself. I'd tried putting the new STRFKR and new Justin Timberlake albums in there, but nothing stuck like those first two albums did. They lasted a whole summer. Until A made me the best mix I've ever received, and I got to hear something new.

But now it's the fall. And I'm feeling stuck again. So at the moment, I'm returning to a band that was so present in my life when my relationship began five years ago. I used to walk around Denver listening to nothing but "House Fire" by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. It's funny, or sad, really just sad and devastating and also a bit telling that the lyrics I loved in that song told the story of our eventual story we did what we could/to save this house from falling/but it burns because it's wood/and now you'll never call me darling. SSLYBY released a new album last month, and I bought it yesterday, and it's the only thing I plan to listen to for awhile. Here's the first song, my favorite, with just enough heartbreak and just enough dance:

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