Monday, November 21, 2016
Sorta distracting myself from the main pieces we need to get done, and then these side sketches invariably keep kinda taking over, so one last piece inspired by Adrian Simon--specifically "You and I," off of The Ivy League, The Ivy League's second and apparently final album, though the first one I listened to. It seems they broke up right around when I first got into them...I want to say I remember seeing an ad that they were playing with The Rollover Motive one night, who I was far more familiar with at that point, but I didn't/don't know New Haven terribly well and didn't want to risk running around the city at night looking for the venue, so I missed my chance to see them live. Unrelated, remember that night some guy started firing a gun near my dorm? Good ol' yaleprombles.
Anyway, I love "You and I" for three reasons (at least). First, it's a great song, obviously--the soft, unassuming guitar intro, the soothing yet aggressive drive to the end, and the gutting repetition of the ending itself. I especially love the sweeping, super long "I" syllables used throughout, as in, "And I, I don't want to live like this for the rest of my wasted life....hide...you and I love you and I." It's a perfect song for night drawing (probably night driving, too), when the world feels asleep and you have all the time in the world to sit and think. This song is like a nightlight that casts slightly spooky shadows that are nevertheless harmless. It makes me think of those 4am strolls in my old rural Japanese "Miyazaki movie" town. No danger, but you feel like there should be--or that you've been conditioned to think so, like all the clues tell you to move more quickly, but the reality is it's just a calm, pitch-black night. And the stars are insane and infinite above.
Second, this track feels like two songs in one: the split occurs appropriately at a palindromic timestamp, 3:13's grand pause, and then the song switches from a sort of outward conversation or narrative to an inward confession or calibration. And that second part's opening line always stuck with me, "I'm a wolf in a woolen robe..." The repetition is overwhelming sometimes. Again, listen at night--dark, dark night--it can gobble you right up. It starts, "Well, I'm a wolf..." but that nonchalant take ends up outnumbered and at the more fatalistic conclusion, "And I'm a wolf..." This song's somewhat harsh lyrics--the subsequent line is "My heart is black, my blood runs cold"--contrasted with such a gentle delivery are just wonderful. It's like how Justin Pierre delivers such bitter news via such chipper tunes. The attitudinal contrast, embodied in the song's two-in-one split nature...like some kind of creature A wearing another creature B's attire (forgive me, a suitable idiomatic expression escapes me)...makes this an unforgettable track.
The third reason I love this song is that it feels like it sorta initiates the finale to the album (disregarding how gorgeously the previous track, "Dancing Shoes," ends on such an abrupt quietude, perfectly setting up the track of the hour; that song feels just distinctly separate enough for the vast majority of its run to feel like it still primarily occupies the body of the album, not the finale). I love long, "epic" songs (not nec. the album's final track, though epics do tend to make the best killing blows).
For reference, some of my all-time favorite epics are like Weezer's "Only in Dreams" (which holds a special place for me as the ending track to the "Blue Album," whose opening track, "My Name is Jonas," was in the little JE welcome DVD they sent us to get us hyped for move-in day) and "The Angel and the One" (from the first album I ever bought in Japan!), Jimmy Eat World's "23" (from the first album I got in SD, winning it off of 91X a few days after moving to SoCal), and of course Motion City's "Hold Me Down" (my first MCS album!).
Anyway, I've always said AS can end albums like nobody's business, and the self titled album feels like it boasts a three-part finale starting with "You and I" as the intro, seamlessly powering into "Silhouettes and Heartache" (man, oh, man, best track? Tough call.), and concluding with the breathtaking epic, "I'll Wait for You." Obviously we're counting "BUAD" separately as strictly a bonus (though just as excellent) track. These songs are so powerful individually, but run so beautifully together, you almost have to take all three as one, despite the burning desire to hit repeat on each (plus "BUAD" of course).
So I love this song for how excellently it ends one of my all-time favorite albums, how carefully it packs in a dark richness, and how beautiful it is unto itself. Today's sketch only clumsily captures some of what I feel when I listen to it. I wish I could do it more justice, but hopefully the gist is there. Oh, hey, it's raining tonight, too. Love the rain. Rain, music, night, and art...これは人生。