Sometimes I find myself in these moods of restless discomfort and I know the songs to play to either exacerbate this feeling or the songs that will give comfort and make the day and my mood manageable. Jolie Holland’s “Damn Shame” of her album Escondida is a song that has the ability to do both of those things. It’s quiet, almost lullaby tune drifts along while Jolie sings along, there is the sense of anger and sadness. A song that speaks of wanting and loneliness. Wishing to be with someone who is twelve hours ahead, which seems planets away. She seems resigned and accepting but there’s hints of anger every time she says “Its a god damn shame”
It is wistful tinted with this repeated line of “its a nothing but a god damned shame’ which adds this element of anger to this wanting she sends to someone far around the world. “The smell of burnt exhaust drifts into the bar.” a line that sums up something that is toxic that seeps into a place of escape. I think part of the reason why I am enamored with this song is the fact that I can’t share it. As a radio dj in compliance with FCC standards there is a profanity law, that makes “Damn Shame” a song that will never be on the airwaves. Which really is a shame because I cant shake its sad sweeping lyrics from my mind. I think this song particular speaks to ones own internal battle. Trying to go along and be accepting but having the urge to shake one’s fist in anger. At the lover half way around the world, at the time spent thinking alone, with the damn shame of not sharing music with others.
I can think of no other way to begin this blog than with a song that speaks to what it means to begin. To begin this idea that I’ve had for more then a while. This beginning of something that, will evolve and change into who knows what, but for today it begins with The Decemberists. Their song “A Beginning Song” off their new album What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World speaks to what it means to be in a beginning stage. A place of whether to start, to let go, to give up, to wander.
The chorus specifically is what makes this song so poignant. This idea of waiting and wanting, right now is something I have been grappling with for months. For a while I kept thinking that I’ve been in this place of change before. And then I realized, that I’ve never been in this place before, a series of events have made a complete circle around me and I am at a place of so many choices and freedoms that I have become immobilized. At a point where I am restless and ready to begin, I am also afraid. Whether it be in letting go of everything that I know and staying comfortable or to just let go of everything. I’m sure this is a struggle we all face, what is it that makes us begin to think “I’m ready to try something new” “I’m ready to leave” “I’m ready to begin to write again.” All of these ideas that I talk myself into and out of. I think this song makes me feel less afraid. Its ok to feel so restless that I just need to begin. Its ok to start a blog. Its ok to listen the same Decemberists song over and over. And with that, is how I’m going to begin.