Wednesday, 18 May 2016

No Apologies For The Infinite Radness 1.1.12 - "Underneath The Weeping Willow" (Grandaddy)

A moment of rest amid the tears and histrionics. Music's Eye of Harmony, at least for me.

The stresses are still there, the endless underlying scratching at our brains, appearing here as the nervous jitter of the opening piano line that never actually goes away. But it's boxed in by the rest of the song, a gorgeous slow progression of warm chords and the warmest, prettiest vocal Jason Lytle has given us to date.  It's not exactly a happy song, but it is a hopeful one, about sleeping through the rough hours in a place you love until you wake up in a better mood. About letting your sadness quietly slide away to somewhere else. Sleep is the great healer, so long as you know you are sheltered. That you can be safe.

I bought "The Sophtware Slump" almost precisely 14 years ago, in the run up to the last exams I ever took. The capstone - or gravestone - for four years of my life. I was a fizzing mess, running on cola and coffee, snapping at everyone, trying to deal with a change in my medication that didn't so much improve my foul moods as concentrate them into shorter, more vicious bursts.  Every evening I would play this song as part of a ritual to at least try and stop bubbling over. The fact that after all that, every time I hear this song I still feel calm is astonishing. It's not that the song escaped being coloured by how I first encountered it - it might make me calm, but it's an exhausted calm, like the climb-down from an adrenaline high. But the accompanying manic sadness never surfaces, transmuted every time by what I'm hearing. Like the weeping willow herself, the song does all the crying for me.

And I can be happy again.

B side

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