It’s been a strange 24 hours, friends:
Finally saw my favorite band live.
Saw a friend who’s marrying her high school sweetheart in June.
Strolled the frigid Plaza and then watched Blue Valentine.
Discovered the saddest song ever on the drive home.
A plethora of emotions. Which have continued to pour out of me since I got home. For tonight I’ll just talk about the saddest song ever. Here’s how it happened:
I love long drives by myself. It’s true. I rarely get bored. It’s a nice break. Gives me time to think, listen to podcasts, write, cry, dance. All of the above. (Yes, write. Sloppily but carefully, of course. Road trip ideas are sometimes the best ideas.)
This time I listened to my best-of Decemberists mix (naturally) and then NPR All Songs Considered ’10 Valentine’s show all about breakup songs. Overall, the show is entertaining. The hosts take turns sharing song picks and anecdotes. You’ve got variety from Justin Timberlake to Roy Orbison to Flight of the Conchords, plus this singer-songwriter named Sarah Siskind.
All Songs producer Robin Hilton had heard Bon Iver cover Siskind’s “Lovin’s For Fools” and loved it. Then he found her original version and said it was even better—perfect.
So they play it, and it’s this really simple song, just a guitar and her voice. And I literally sobbed. Yes, sobbed in my car.
I don’t have a problem admitting I cried today. It’s almost as common for me to say I had lunch. But I don’t often SOB. And that’s what this was. Tears & tears & tears. I almost thought I might have to pull over. It’s such a simple song. It really snuck up on me. (On the NPR page linked above, you can hear the version they played on the show. I couldn’t find a video for it, but this live video below is pretty close.)
Once the song finished, everybody was silent for a second. Then Robin goes, “If you could weaponize the wounded self-pity of that song, you could blow up the SUN!” And it’s so true. There’s something pure and restorative in that depth of emotion. I wouldn’t want to feel it every day, but there’s power in it. Grief > boredom. Feeling > numbness.
I imagine you won’t have the strong reaction that I did. Something about seeing The Decemberists & seeing them in Kansas City & watching Blue Valentine (which, good god, yikes, lord almighty) & looming Valentine’s Day… Perfect storm of relationship melancholy. But still, be warned, you may well up just a bit.
(Right? ps–have you noticed this is becoming a video blog? Love is a visual, musical subject I guess.)