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Uneasy Quiet

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The Best [Dec. 10th, 2009|03:40 pm]
Uneasy Quiet

Listening to my "Loved Tracks" station on last.fm, I heard this one and remembered why i put the little heart next to it.

The back story goes like this: my boyfriend left me, and I left on a trip I'd had planned for months with my dad to ride our motorcycles all over central/southern CA, camping out and not drinking even CLOSE to enough. Just before pops and i took off, my friend Gary gave me a DVD full of music he thought I'd like to hear. Worlds Apart by ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead was on there, and before I gave any of it a really judicious listen, I scraped it onto my iPod with the intent of checking it out while I was riding.

This idea was both marvelous and terrible. Marvelous insofar as hearing something new while I ride is a fantastic feeling, it really heightens the sense of meditation that I get from both activities. Terrible because I must have heard this song ten times over the course of five days, and given that I was a little busy, I couldn't exactly take a peek at my iPod screen to make a note of the artist/title. It positively haunted me as a result.

I'm a sucker for the pacing of this song. Trail of Dead's sound is so BIG, and the halting rhythm gives a sense of muscles tensed, of raw power barely controlled with an iron fist. The inflections and tone of the vocals invoke a sense of pleading desperation. When Conrad Keely insists that things "couldn't be better," that they are "the best," I get the sense of a lie so gigantic and ominous that he's given up trying to convince anyone and has moved on to begging for help.

These elements combine to convey an existence on the brink, of a person trying to hold it together in spite of the blood and broken bones. The listener begs for some kind of resolution, for some musical release in the form of volume or chords that resolve... Just.. SOMETHING. Instead, there's a period of orchestral quiet followed by a woman screaming and sobbing as though she's just watched her child die in front of her.

My heart was freshly broken, and I knew exactly how she felt. I fancied she knew how i felt, too. As unsettling as it was, i took a very perverse comfort in hearing those chilling last few seconds many times over my period of mourning.