Three people I follow have already reblogged this, so I wasn’t going to, but this song has helped me power through on pretty much every run I’ve gone on for the past two weeks. It’s stirring and heartfelt and Andrew’s insights were just too good for any of my followers to miss them. Enjoy!
unless it’s kicks by okkervil river
I feel like I post this song and gush hyperbole about it several times a year, but it’s appropriate. It remains one of the most emotionally affecting songs to me.
Some artists seem to pretend that they don’t care about their fans, whether to give them a certain attitude or an air of authenticity. What Will Sheff addresses here is the fact that the whole give-and-take between a “mid-level band” and their fans is not a concrete economy; it’s an unstable, uneven relationship, but, in truth, neither would exist without the other. And this often goes unrecognized.
Will Sheff is an absolute nobody to the bank teller and the checkout clerk. He’s just a guy. He’s his parents’ son. He’s just another one of his landlord’s tenants, and he has to pay rent on time. What he does on stage and on a record doesn’t matter to most people in this world, but it means everything to some people, and that’s what he’ll leave behind when he leaves this earth.
and I know it’s a lie
but I’ll still give my love
hey, my heart’s on the line
for your hands to pluck off
Sheff understands that art is about making something that resonates with other people, and that’s his legacy. He also understands that these people might be relatively few and scattered, but that only makes it more meaningful. He understands that the people who love his music the most also have plenty of people in their lives who won’t get it.
what breaks this heart the most is the ghost of some rock and roll fan
exploding up from the stands
with her heart opened up
and I want to tell her, “your love isn’t lost”
say, “my heart is still crossed”
scream, “you’re so wonderful”
what a dream in the dark!
about working so hard
about glowing, so stoned
trying not to turn off
trying not to believe in that lie all on your own
And it’s a little depressing (and sort of liberating) to think of it that way - the “lie” that all of this music we love is actually important. It’s just faith that these things have some greater consequence. I love the schism that exists here - the sheer amount of commerce we have around something that isn’t tangibly important, something that doesn’t even place in our “hierarchy of human needs.” I love it because it reminds me of faith, or at least in the way that I believe in God.
Can I prove empirically the existence of God? Can I make a compelling case as to why music matters so much to me? No. Neither make even a little bit of sense on paper, but I’m trying not to believe in the “lie” all on my own.