Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Quiet- vocals like a hymn in the chapel at my high school, echoing off the vaulted ceilings, but not restful; the sort of edge that you got when one of the younger kids was trying to stumble through their first reading, watching a 14 year old suddenly unable to read out loud through their nervousness. Then the insistent guitar picking up... I'm really at a loss to describe why these songs are more powerful and vital than anything else I've been listening to. When one comes on the radio in the morning it washes out the previous ones just by sheer force. I sat for a while with headphones on this afternoon, trying to free associate myself to words that describe the 3 short minutes of Hands Away or the other songs on Turn on the Bright Lights, and the chapel image is the best I came up with. Sitting in the back row, breathing in musty cold marble air, I used to fidget around & stare out the cracked open stained glass windows. Displacement, but a crazy kind of enchantment... the uncomfortable pews in that chapel forced you to sit up straight at the same time as the repeating drone of a priest's voice pushed your mind off to things outside. Here the headphones are clamped too tighly over my ears for the taut pulling under the songs, but I haven't slipped them off around my neck. It's a nice counterpart to the heat, the fan shoving warm air towards my arms, and the thickness of a late afternoon. I can hear the rush hour picking up outside, suburbanites fleeing their office parking garages across the street and running through the yellow lights to sit in the intersections, a few feet closer to the onramp home. When I first heard NYC, I remembered an article that I'd read a few years ago, gushing praise that kids these days were turning their backs on the suburban rings to cities & revitalizing the downtowns. From anywhere here you can watch condos slowly hoisted in the air by construction cranes, and I thought about how the lines "now you supported me..." fit with the akward teenager phase of the city that the cranes bring out. Harsh- in the way it winds you up and leaves your stomach twisted more from your own daily stress- the album is like fighting your way home through the sidewalks, not to a big lawn and trees but more concrete. I stay here because I can't imagine what cost missing all this would have, even if I don't know what else keeps me boxed in here.

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