Funny how some songs or albums suddenly become the soundtrack of your life. You have to hear them in sequence, you have to hear them when it's way too late to be up but okay, just track 3 one more time while you empty your bulk email folder again, when you've been driving nowhere, really, a continuous Grand Prix of Western, Chicago, Wabansia and Ashland, when you've been in the car parked outside for, God, was it really two hours, when you're peering up to the broken clouds above Big John downtown and trying to remember if it's toothpaste or cotton balls you need at Walgreens. You have to hear them in the morning, and and fuck it if you're gonna be late for work again, and then, once at your fluorescent desk, Media Player unspools the soundscape your life's become for nine hours, docked under a spreadsheet you can't ever seem to finish.
But way, way beyond the urgency of listening is the fact that holy shit, how could he have written this song and known me-when he doesn't know me? And the guitar crescendoes at the precise moment I need to think of what I long to think of but shouldn't, and my eyes close at the gentlest piano bridge, and the whispering coda makes my fingers curl like I'm holding someone's hand in mine. Maybe I etched the lyrics myself while in that moonlit, half-awake moment of clarity just before falling asleep.
We went to see Wilco at the Vic Wednesday night. It was honestly one of the best shows I have ever seen, not just because they played over two hours and over 25 songs. I am not relinquishing the top spot to Tweedy et al because I love other shows for other reasons from other phases of my life. (Crowded House, 1991; Replacements, 1991; Beastie Boys, 1998; Erykah Badu, 2001) Let's say it's the best show now--but still damn close to the top.
What was amazing about the night was the feeling that every single human in that theatre really, really wanted to be there, and embraced every song with the same yearning, attuned precision with which the band played. We all had a huge crush on each other. I mean, I was drinking dregs from a stack of 5 cashed beer cups during the third encore, and I still felt it.
Tweedy's face is heartbreaking. It's boyish and hurt and fierce and doughy. A heart laid bare.
The soaring and aching of sex and the crashing and burning of love. The delicacy of a rose petal. A mosaic of sound created with almost painterly detail, layer after layer, each brush on the high-hat and feedback howl deliberate--and free.
Picking apples for the kings and queens of things I've never seen
Oh, distance has no way of making love understandable
How can this not score my daily walks and thoughts?