My whole life, I've been learning

Dear friends,

1. No frontin' here on Soft Communication, when Funeral came out, I didn't buy it. I read all the articles but promptly forgot most of what was in them (some things remembered: someone's name is Win, their live shows are supposed to be something else, The Two Davids want to have their babies, and they're from Montreal) but I did like the cover art so I asked The Monkey to get it for me for Christmas last year. I really loved it, but I find it hard to listen to as a whole. Don't misunderstand, it is absolutely an album and therefore, should be an album listening experience, but something about the feel of it makes me prefer single song examinations.

A few weeks ago, whilst enjoying being chauffered around the woods by my more coordinated half, In the Backseat came on. J thought it was Björk, I told him "No, it's the lady from The Arcade Fire." Sure, there is a similarity in timbre but Régine Chassagne's (for that is the lady's name) voice is breathier and less stable. Listening to her sing, you're not quite sure she's going to make the notes she does, so it's almost like you're running alongside her, willing her on, so when she finally takes off, the lift is more ecstatic.

In the Backseat reminds me of my childhood. I'm sure it reminds a lot of people of their childhood, but the specifics of it resonate with me. It becomes the soundtrack to a bittersweet, composite memory. I drift in and out of sleep in the backseat of a car driven by my long absent father. We go through the darkened streets of a country I no longer live in, can barely remember, that doesn't really exist anymore and that I don't understand. Shadows of summer leaves tremble over my face and I can hear my mother talking softly in Spanish as she plays with the radio. The piano goes up and down and the delicate pizzicato of violins gives way to full bowed crescendo as Regine's voice soars into one long ooooooh over the swell. Nostalgia, sadness and somewhere in there, resilience. The diminished plucking returns and the memory of that time in childhood before the irreparable reversals lingers around well after the song fades.

I need to learn to drive.

In the Backseat/The Arcade Fire (yousendit link)

2. Speaking of Björk, I was talking about her 2001 album Vespertine recently. I love it (a mini-suite about burrowing and falling in love, set to the skitter skatter of laptop beats) my friend, not so much ("Yeah...NO.") We both agreed though that the song Cocoon is choice, even if he has a harder time forgetting the subject matter than I do*.

The studio version is a whispered and wondrous admission of bliss and another love-caused feeling some people would rather ignore; gratitude. I say ignore because admitting gratitude in a situation like that is somehow tantamount to admitting you're not deserving of your good fortune. I don't think this is the case here however. It's more like now that I am with you, in this particular moment of post-sex dozing off, I am aware of what was missing and isn't it fabulous! Of course the way the Björk sings about it, either in her childlike sing song poetry about inhaling beards loaded with courage, or less obliquely, with direct sexual detail, it sounds more magical than clichéd. Which is, of course, the way it should be.

Cocoon (Live)/Björk (yousendit link)

3. A whiles back, Contributors Bryan and Mary went on a mission to take back the music, and thus their site, Ruined Music, was born! Go check out the latest stories of music gone very bad indeed and click here to see their brand spankin' new MTV appearance. I, for one, definitely want to see if the camera adds 10 pounds to Bryan's hair. Holla.

4. I was directed to this blog yesterday. I think this scribe needs to write more often. The Liza Minelli entry, for example, has more finely tuned detail and pathos than any throwaway comedic bit deserves to have. I love it. Kudos.

Love, D

* Sample conversation regarding song's subject:
Him - "But it is about fucking Matthew Barney."
Me - "Well...yeah, but it's so..."
Him - (Interrupting) "Yeah but it's about fucking Matthew Barney."
Me - "But you don't have to..."
Him - "It's about FUCKING Matthew Barney."
Me - (Sigh)

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