Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Clear History

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about man’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.


Black Zenith Promo picture. Go visit him on Bandcamp


And then, there are loves that feel like you have been struck by lightning; electrifying, potent, dumbfounding.

Sweet and sticky, like drowning in a pool of awesomeness.

Like this song - Clear History  - by Black Zenith.

I first heard the song on Radio Student and I dropped everything I was doing and went to see which song that is and where I can find MORE. It was such an experience I even got proof of my complete amazement.









It is an amazing song, one presenting the experience of complete immersion into emotions building a relationship, without the need to depict relationship and to overelaborate. Happenings described are here after perceived dissolution of the relationship, but dissolution is only formal (as they always are in this modus of experiencing the world). I love how Davey Oberlin - Black Zenith - presents things rationally, in steady rhythm, using the language of online communication as the norm. And I love how he shows he already knows that he’d been poisoned but still treads bravely through this experience:

I'm not open to say if it's always been this way
I keep looking at the screen
hoping that she'd ring for me, but she's bad for me.
She'd only be bad for me.

I'm not hoping to change
I know how I got this way
I keep freeing up my time, hoping that she'd ring for me but she's bad for me
She'd only be bad for me.

I love how the protagonist asks to be released from service, even if this plea is not actually communicated to the person in question (but more to his own toxic infatuation):

Cuz girl I'm not over you
Please let me get over you

Even though this is one costly experience I’d say that those who never tried this kind of love are missing out bigtime. It is hard to even imagine something so engaging and so motivating (or destructive if you’re that kind of person) without having felt it, at least once.

Our past comes back
I knew I would pay for that
I knew it would never last
I knew it went way to fast
All we got are memories, I start to forget you
Please let me forget you
Girl let me forget you.

I felt broken today
Felt the loneliness and pain
I need you like a needle needs a vein
Girl you're my sanity, I need my insanity

Cuz girl I'm not over you
Please let me get over you

It becomes so sweet to pine, so satisfying to yearn that the pain itself becomes more important than the person who started this chain of events. To overstretched endurance all experiences become so heightened you can live on crumbs of attention for ages, dream in color, use libido as bouncing board for space launch.

Our past comes back
I knew I would pay for that
I knew it would never last
I knew it went way to fast
All we got are memories, I start to forget you
Please let me forget you
Girl let me forget you.

I've never run from it, I've always chased it
I'll never be alone with empty spaces
It's never been enough, I just want to taste it
It wasn't long enough, and now I'm wasted.

And then, just as the song states, we emerge on the other side of pain, reborn. Memories linger a bit more, but it becomes harder and harder to discern your face in them, harder to remember color of your eyes or how it felt to shower together after sex.

Gone. Never to return.

Exactly like clearing history; This action cannot be undone.


Our past comes back
I knew I would pay for that
I knew it would never last
I knew it went way to fast
All we got are memories, I start to forget you
Please let me forget you
Girl let me forget you

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Heartattack In A Layby



Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about man’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.

Photo Credit - Naki Kouyioumtzis - Taken from Steven Wilson press page

 I’m a huge fan of Steven Wilson and all his projects and he is my most listened to artist with almost double number of scrobbles on last.fm then the runner up and three times as frequent than any other. Of all his projects I like Porcupine Tree most and my favorite song of his is  Heartattack in a Layby.  This is unavoidable song whilst on the subject on man’s relationship narratives and maybe just as unavoidable as a window into wonderful territory of musical hyperrealism. It is a song exquisitely imagined and polished  to perfection from both lyrical aspect and impeccably produced. I even spoke about it here on the blog before. That’s because I think about is so often I usually hear it my mind even when it is not playing in the vicinity.

I cannot even begin to describe how absolutely awesome is to hear ambient sounds in the song (cars driving by, idling of the car motor, swishing sounds of air disturbed by passing traffic) and understand that they are there to further the reality of the situation described by the song.
I pull off the road
East of Baldock and Ashford
Feeling for my cell
In the light from the dashboard

Hissing from the road
The smell of rain in the air con
Maybe check the news
Or just put a tape on
And it all sounds so real and feels so intimately close. Creeping sickening feeling of overwhelm-ness, crushing pressure of procrastination long overdue, sensation of lingering sticky smoke bringing calmness to spirit and play to the hand.

Lighting up a smoke
I've got this feeling inside me
Don't feel too good

If I close my eyes
And fell asleep in this layby
Would it all subside
The fever pushing the day by

Motor window wind
I could do with some fresh air
Can't breathe too well
How much time escapes through our fingers while we deliberate if we should accept changes, especially changes we brought on ourselves? How long can we hide the truth from ourselves, deny it and make out stories to cover up for our fuckups? How long can we pretend we do not miss, do not hurt, do not yearn?

(She waits for me)
I guess I should go now
(Home waits for me)
She's waiting to make up
(She waits for me)
To tell me she's sorry
(Home waits for me)
And how much she missed me
(She waits for me)
I guess I'm just burnt out
(Home waits for me)
I really should slow down
(She waits for me)
I'm perfectly fine but
(Home waits for me)
I just need to lie down
I love this part. You should try listening to it through some quality headphones to see how meticulously this is mixed and how wonderfully orchestrated. I love it even though and because I always swallow tears listening to the words he wrote; words spelling waste of time and murder of love. I love how the song progresses into the rhythm of repetitive stroke we use when regressing, to make hurt less prominent, more silent and round-edged. I love how he uses less and less new information and more and more self-consoling.
I love how only the most cherished want disappears last, just as it always does.
(She waits for me)
We'll grow old together
(She waits for me)
We'll grow old together
(She waits for me)
We'll grow old together...
Regret is the true death, even when life formally continues.Stubborn insistence on your own side of the story against available evidence brings only stagnation and pain.

I love this song because it is like fine art painting in a museum; under lovely light source, kept out of harm's way, clean and in warm and dry place, marked with a title. And you read the title and you look at the painting and it is all so much present you also feel the pain, not only see it second-hand.

Heartattack in a layby.

Motor idling continues. Fade to black.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Happy Days



Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about man’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.
And now, let’s continue.

Not all paramount stories will be lengthy and enveloped in indie rock.

Often you can find both truth and sense beneath it all in a place not artificially distanced from emotion. I already wrote about punk and what it means to me, and to shortly summarize I highly appreciate its direct and vivacious nature. What I also often feel, especially listening to Kurve (Hookers), is pure genius of punk lyrics: simple and repetitive enough so even the weakest link can enjoy their energy - any yet filled with profound sense of how the world operates.

Official promotional photo of the first album "Su Bolje Majke"


My favorite Kurve song with relationship narrative is Happy days (Sretni dani) and I have translated it here to illustrate this point even though they sing it in Croatian.

I love how they captured the essence of both contemporary society using formally accepted indicators of politeness (“please, thank you, here you are, excuse me” is a part of school-age rhyme showcasing well brought up and polite person) and common relationship dynamics by which man may be the initiator but women are ones calling the shots and allowing things to progress.


please, thank you
here you are, excuse me
you allow me to gnaw on your
tired bones
they are the feast of this
mongrel dog
please, thank you
here you are, excuse me

It is awesome to see so much commonly overlooked truth displayed in such a short verse. Happy days are the ones propelled with candor and openness, before calculations take center stage in a relationship. Happiness stems from desire, from pleasure, from being able to approach and resolve interpersonal issues directly, without need to base relations on need and interdependence created by shortcomings.


happy days
when we're in heat
happy days
when we fuck
happy days
when we don't give ourselves
to need each other
to eat each other

Part of the second verse with “Happy days when we don’t give ourselves…” refers to later stages in progress of a relationship when people forget that the interdependence relationship rests upon is not obligatory part of a relationship, it is an optional part they themselves have chosen (to progress the relationship, no less!). So to act like a hostage is completely unnecessary and actually rude, especially if you force responsibilities onto someone before even discussing them. I love how they have summed up both pleasure and tedium in a few words, the right words, like an open-ended question that reveals one’s true intentions.

It is possible to stay in this blessed time, in the happy days of fucking and pleasure and good relations indefinitely if your interrelation is based on trust (you can even patch up broken ones if you don’t spare the effort), but only if you preserve and cultivate trust and agree to carry your own responsibility. It boggles my mind to see so few people abiding to these simple rules of conduct.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rainy Taxy

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about man’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.

Not all men’s relationship narratives are vanilla, like one would suspect from slew of fear centered stories in previous posts here. That’s because not all men are vanilla (what a boring world that would be).

Far away on the other end of the spectrum some men are rocky road… and they write entirely different stories. It is difficult and sometimes downright useless to try to differentiate between man and his narrator, between creator and character that speaks to the audience. One work of art is never enough to ponder upon where this line can be and sometimes a hundred are also too few. And then, some just keep on recreating same character in every story they write. It may also be that this one is not the creators' doppelganger or even kin, but this is a fact that speaks just as much information as creating a mirror image would.

However it might be I find this completely endearing - to see the consistency layout of some authors.




This is a man with astonishing quantity of wonderful, fierce and full-blooded consistency in lyrics he writes for himself, even when playing in different projects with different people, and yet… consistency does not diminish quality of his work nor it makes his stories predictable. To return to the topic of relationship narratives consider this list (just an example, not opus overview):

Believing Is Art (Girls Can Tell, 2001)
Stay Don’t Go (Kill The Moonlight, 2002)
I Turn My Camera On (Gimme Fiction, 2005)
The Ghost Of You Lingers (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, 2007)
Got Nuffin (Transference, 2010)
Flaggin’ A Ride (A Thing Called Divine Fits, 2012)
Rainy Taxi (They Want My Soul, 2014)

All of those stories speak of affection and intimacy in such a way it is clear there are no rose-colored glasses anywhere in the scene (note: “Things everybody should know / The end will come slow / And love breaks your heart” in Believing is art back when Daniel was 29 yo) but that does not mean that protagonist does not dive quite passionately into full-blown, not only engaging but also commitment based relationships  (like:” When I'm with you, all my brothers, oh, I feel like a king, It feels like I'm dreaming / When that blood goes rattling through my veins, My ears start to ring, I notice what matters /And I got nothing to lose but darkness and shadows, Got nothing to lose but bitterness and patterns” from Got Nuffin’). There is a noticeable pattern of growth and maturing of the storyteller, but fundamentally - nothing changes. He takes bitter with the sweet and builds as much on his weaknesses as he does on his strengths.

Now, in 2014. 43-year-old Spoon frontman writes stories like Rainy Taxy, cornucopia of emotion, unyielding and luscious stage set for one person to come to all conclusions without even contacting the other side:

You catch everything I never could
You believed when I gave up for good
And when you stand beside me, I could tell I was stronger than I've ever been
But if you're gone, you know you don't come back

That other person is always existing, important and yet the song has a particular feel of trial in absentia. I do not say this as an accusation but more as a familiar, thoroughly and intimately known chain of events that I have seen (myself do) and have felt unfold a million times. I cannot sincerely say I feel any blame or resentment toward this modus operandi, even acknowledging there may be better ways of resolving real-life situations. That being said, in my humble opinion, not many better ways of narrating those situations exist.
I came home last night, I had no good news
I came home last night, I had no good news
And you've been sleeping through the brightest flash of apocalyptic ruin
And if you leave, I'll never sing another tune

There is always this passion, this sex under a thin veil of what “gentleman does not reveal” and this is what I love most in his lyrics; this promise that intimacy present does not stream out of purely spiritual connection. Fuck spiritual connections if there is no butt cheek to grasp behind that spirituality.
Put on your red shoes, sing it to me, lover-girl
When you do, my love, I forget the world
And if you say "run," I may run with you
I've got nothing else, I've got nowhere else

After this orgasmic climax, this promise-turned-carnal-gratification (because this is what both the lyrics and music tell us) story goes on to reemerge in real life, life of pros and cons, of floods and ebbs happening inside people as well as between them.
As the sun goes fading in the west
There's an army east that's rising still
And when you stand beside me, I feel something stronger than I ever could
But if you leave, you better run away for good
Leave, you better run away for good
Leave, you better run, run, run
Leave, you better run away for good
Ooh, run, run, run away
Ooh, run, run, run, run, run

They Want My Soul has a lot of truly excellent songs with great lyrics but I love Rainy Taxi best because it contains this essence of “another flavor” relationship narratives. It is at the same time restrained and passionate, desperate and hopeful, guided by reason and by hormones and it does not turn away from either gentleness or violence of passion. I like that. I like to think that emotion and experience is valuable and that sometimes getting hurt is fair payback for getting emotion and experience. Not putting yourself in a position of vulnerability, of possibility to get hurt, means not putting yourself in a position to be rewarded either.

And I do love my rewards.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What Makes a Hero?

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about man’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.

Sometimes there is no need to invent the wheel again, so I can just share this wonderful story of how cool and simple is to be a hero.



With today's post so quickly out of the way let me just go back to dragonslaying ;)


Monday, November 17, 2014

Kryptonite



Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about man’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”. 

And now, let’s continue.




My very favorite man’s story about fear of failure was written by Brad Arnold, one of my favorite lyricists and vocals of all times.

I first heard it long, long time ago, 3 short term partners and a husband ago, when it was released in 1999. I remember loving the beginning; the war drum and the ominous feel of something important about to happen. I remember pervasive feeling of doom I felt and still feel as he sings that first verse:


I took a walk around the world
To ease my troubled mind
I left my body lying somewhere
In the sands of time
But I watched the world float
To the dark side of the moon

I feel there is nothing I can do, yeah


Being both comic enthusiast and person quite fond of pop-cultural references I’ve always felt that I would love this song even if it did not draw out such intimate doubts. But it does. And those intimate doubts are perfectly interwoven with iconography so great and so male it would be completely understandable to go too far into theatrics and pathos. And yet it doesn’t.


If I go crazy then will you still
Call me Superman
If I’m alive and well, will you be
There a-holding my hand
I’ll keep you by my side
With my superhuman might
Kryptonite


It is so rare to see mark of a true hero - humility - being a part of the western narration. Rarer still to see it presented as an understandable and everyday part of human relations.


You called me strong, you called me weak,
But still your secrets I will keep
You took for granted all the times
I never let you down
You stumbled in and bumped your head,
If not for me then you'd be dead
I picked you up and put you back on solid ground


I love how he shows commitment as strength and shows power as a tool, not an end in itself - and he does this through accepting vulnerability, through continuing and building his relationship with - no less than! - Kryptonite.

There’s a short quote on Wikipedia of Brad commenting the lyrics and he says:

"That song seems like it's really just kind of like asking a question. Its question is kind of a strange one. It's not just asking, “If I fall down, will you be there for me?” Because it's easy to be there for someone when they're down. But it's not always easy to be there for somebody when they're doing good. And that's the question it's asking. It's like, “If I go crazy, will you still call me Superman?” It's asking, “If I'm down, will you still be there for me?” But at the same time, “If I'm alive and well, will you be there holding my hand?”

There are a lot of unknowns in a man’s (not necessarily a male man) life - a lot of “dark side of the moon”s that present themselves with randomness we cannot exert our control over. Additionally, they are not always outside of ourselves either. Some unknowns even aren’t inherently bad things, but even they can introduce lot of disruption into relationships, sometimes much more than bad things.

To keep one’s head up and choose to be a hero against certainties and not odds, in my book that is what makes the difference between man and scenery. Person and still life.

And it’s never too late to become a hero.