Some Songs You Have To Be Careful

I’d had the song “You Are My Joy” from this album in my head since I heard it on the radio about a week ago. I am playing it right now as I begin this entry. It’s by some sort of Scottish indie supergroup, which I’m all for, and it came out about two years ago. Friday I was early for my date with Sundry and I happened to be in an establishment that sells music and this establishment that sells music happened to have a copy of the CD, so, as I happened to have money in my checking account, I went and bought it right then and there, instead of passive-aggressively putting it on my wishlist and waiting for someone to love me enough to buy it for me.

I listened to the CD maybe eight or nine (hundred) times on Saturday, and another six or seven (million) times on Sunday. I can’t remember the last time I did that with a CD. At first I went straight to the song I’d heard on the radio and confirmed it was just as good as I thought it’d been, and then I listened to the whole thing and confirmed that though I did like some songs better than others, I did not hate any song at all. I pressed Play again.

I walked around the house and maybe even twirled around a little in the living room during some of the power chords in the abovementioned song, and I sat on the floor of my newly cleaned room. I considered making a new breakup CD, but shelved that idea when I realized that three of the projected twelve songs would be from this album, and I may as well just listen to it, right, if I’m in breakup-CD-y mood, which I haven’t been in, incidentally, for the past couple of days but you never know so I compiled a playlist just in case. I lay on the bed and looked up at the ceiling fan and listened to the words creep into my heart.

It’s one of those context-heavy CDs, I am finding. I tried playing it at work yesterday and today, and while the songs are all still good, I found I had to fast forward through one of my favorites, “Your Sweet Voice” when I was eating my lunch and idly devouring Mimi Smartypants’ archives. I like lunch and I like archives and I like “Your Sweet Voice” and you’d think I’d like the combination thereof but somehow it didn’t work. It was jarring somehow. There are some songs you have to be careful with.

I realized I’d found the right way to listen to that song over the weekend: it’s to sit on your bed that’s been freshly made up with your new sheets, and to let the sun fall on your knee through the cherry tree outside your window. You have to stare off into space and imagine the cameras in the movie they’re making about your life, starring you as yourself. Your character is sitting on the bed with the sun on her knee, listening to music and thinking about her life in a self-focused way. She’s thinking about various decisions she’s made and about lies and truth and love and hate. She’s remembering all the good things about the relationship and missing him very much. She’s thinking about how much she cried on the phone and said all the things you’re not supposed to say to the ex: I miss you; I can’t ever come back, can I; you don’t love me, do you; no, I knew you didn’t. She’s thinking about the sun on his shoulder blades in the early morning in the room that faced east. She’s thinking of words spoken over long distances in the dark.

The scene cuts to him going about his business, whatever that may be. He’s just fine. The song plays on and the cameras are back on her, she closes and opens her eyes and thinks about time, time, time. The guitars soak her up and the words wring her out and the scene switches to something else, but later after you exit the theater that was playing the movie they made about your life, starring you as yourself, you’ll think about that moment in the clean room with the song playing under your breastbone, and realize that regardless of the denouement, that one part was the center of it all, the part where it all came together or fell apart.

So you can see why you have to be careful with a song like that.

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