Monday, September 16, 2013

Deep Soul and Okkervil River's "Silver Gymnasium"

This is the first Okkervil River tune I heard via Sirius Satellite Radio in 2007.
When I first heard it I didn't like it.
)
Perhaps part of it was it had so much competition that year: (Pitchfork's top 50 Albums of 2007)..and that is just  Pitchfork. My ears were saturated after ages of nothing on the radio-and I prefer to get my music via a broadcast. I want humans other than me to make a playlist, put it out, and justify it with their passion for it.
I am not sure exactly when I loved this song, but I am pretty sure it was the time I heard it while going through the drive-thru at Filiberto's at 1270 E. Apache Blvd. Tempe, AZ 85281 (next door to a charter school that used to be After the Gold Rush -one of the best small venues in the Southwest).
It was at that point I finally got it-though it took until tonight to figure out exactly why.
Deep Soul.
No, not a genre. A description.
After hearing xxx  from Silver Gymnasium tonight it got me thinking. People are often turned off by a certain level of honesty when it comes to emotion. I (apparently) am no different.
We all love to hear music. We all love to hear something that touches us emotionally in way we don't talk about with people very often. That is one of the reasons that we like music and like hearing it in groups. We get to share a deep emotional connection in an unspoken way. Much in the same way we would with someone we are intimate with-but without the messy personal stuff.
A shared experience beyond the mundane of the day-to-day.
It is exciting.
If it goes too far it can be an emotional challenge-especially if it goes into a place we don't want to go.
Will Sheff can go there. Not just with his sometimes wrenching vocal style, but with his lyrics.
There are times with his lyrics and vocal combination where he can go to places many people don't want to acknowledge or talk about. Times when we think about where we are and may (or may not) want to be-touching on the parts of life that confuse us...and at some point, most of us have these thoughts:
I am sick of this.
Is this right.
Do I really want to be here-in this place or with this person in this life?
Scary shit.
If this never happens to you you are lucky. You are to be respected and envied.
For the rest of us? Hearing someone cough their soul up in front of a microphone and being willing to take the risk of humiliation of mockery for saying it publicly can really help connect us to the Universe.
Walking down a street you have walked down for years in a bright, autumn afternoon, watching the leaves blow down the way...when something-maybe the first chill-edge of the coming cold stings your cheek and you mind jumps somewhere.
Sometimes it happens when you are young and you get the first stirrings of wanderlust or sometimes when you are grown and settled and it triggers an old dream or life you thought you might live.
But didn't.
That is the place Okkervil River can go.
They are great. It might not be your cup of tea, but before you dismiss them, ask your self if it because they go someplace you don't want to go with someone-else leading because you may be going there alone otherwise and maybe it is better to have some company.







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