Saturday, July 22, 2006

Song of the Week 7/21/06

Nada Surf - "Inside of Love"

So please forgive me for one more week of this musical self-pity party. Next week we'll get back to something lighter, like this or this. Anyways, it's not like I'm worried about turning off or depressing my readership, as 96% of the time I am my own readership. (How egotistical of me, eh?)

Throughout my adult life (for our purposes, let's say since the time I went off to college at age 17) I've always identified with those depressing, "My girl doesn't like me anymore/my girl left me/my love for that girl will always remain unrequited"-type songs. These songs run the gamut from hard rock (The Gentlemen's "When We Broke in Two") to wuss rock (any Coldplay song I ever liked) to somewhere in between (much of the Old 97's catalog). During the past two decades I've never had a song a) strike me as so perfect for my life years after I initially heard it and b) have the lyric pretty much describe the entire story of my romantic life exactly right in just a few verses. This week I discovered just such a song, recorded by three talented guys that live in my borough.

While doing laundry on Monday night I was listening to Nada Surf's great 2005 The Weight is a Gift album (it's well worth buying, trust me). I took a little walk up the hill past Green-Wood Cemetery rocking out to "Do It Again" and "Always Love" and then headed back down when the album hit "Blankest Year." Weight was done long before I got back to the laundromat, so I decided to stay in the Nada section of the iPod and started Let Go. As I got about 10 feet away, "Inside of Love" came on and the first two lines stopped me dead in my tracks. And right there, in front of the Clean Rite on McDonald Ave in Kensington, Brooklyn, the lyrics to "Inside of Love" acted like krazy glue on the bottom of my Chuck Taylors. I couldn't move, I could only listen and be stunned that I had never gotten, never grasped, never sensed, never knew that these five year old lyrics from singer-guitarist Matthew Caws encapsulated my life in the 21st century.

At that moment I couldn't think, felt like I couldn't breath and--perhaps most importantly--couldn't even remember which washer had my clothes. I had to sit down, it was just too much for what was left of my brain and tangled emotions. After a few moments, I gathered myself, put the clothes in the dryer and waited anxiously so I could get home and check the CD booklet just so I could confirm I wasn't insane. (Or better yet, more insane than I already am.)

So now dear reader, I present to you the lyrics that, well, I think were written about me, with my in depth analysis about them:

"Watching terrible T.V.
It kills all thought
Getting spacier than
An astronaut"

In the past three months I've had people (well, these people were mostly bartenders, but not all of them) ask me where I've been hiding on weekends. I've used a combination of spring allergies and being poor as my excuses (and yes, I have been battling both), but that's not the whole truth. Sometimes I would come home from work on a Friday, turn on the T.V., not even eat dinner and curl up on my futon and try to find the stupidest program or movie on to numb my brain so I wouldn't think about how bad I had messed things up, how I would never get certain chances back and how I was going to be eating meals alone until I was 80 (if I was fortunate to live that long). And when Caws sings "It kills all thought," he ain't kidding. I mean, I watched Hitch, Herbie: Fully Loaded and The Pacifier multiple times on these weekends at home. Only Mets games kept a sliver of thought going.

"Making out with people
I hardly know or like
I can't believe what I do
Late at night"

Um, yeah, got this one covered. By my rough estimate, since this century began I have made out with at least 15 (could be more) women after midnight at various bars in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and 75% of them are people I didn't really like, or didn't recall their name, or didn't even care if I ever got their name to try to remember. And yes, there have been too many things that I can't believe I did late at night (sometimes even early in the morning too). I believed that this was just a good way of making up for the lost time I had in college and working upstate. Now, I'm not so sure--I think I just wanted to be a whore for the hell of it. (And the great stories to tell the kids later on in life.)

Then the chorus rolls around:

"I wanna know what it's like
On the inside of love
I'm standing at the gates
I see the beauty above"

Yup. Always on the outside, looking at other folks relationships. Now this part isn't always bad. I have been lucky enough to be there when some great people I know have met and ended up falling deeply in love, and I like seeing people I like be happy. I guess that's the whole beauty line right there.

Onto the second verse:

"Only when we get to see
The aerial view
Will the patterns show
We'll know what to do"

Well, I'm doubtful I'd know what to do. I have done some amazing self-sabotage of potential relationships with that 800 pound monkey on my back. (His name is Mr. Commitment-Phobe, and he likes washing cats for some reason.) Someday I will write a book compiling my greatest hits in this regard, and then I will hit myself over the head repeatedly with this book until I beat some sense into my skull.

"I know the last page so well
I can't read the first
So I just don't start
It's getting worse."

Exactly. I know how this is going to end, how it's ALWAYS going to end, so its just easier making out with or sleeping with the girl whose name I have to get the next day from a bartending friend of mine.

(Not that that has ever happened.)

(Okay, not that it's happened more than once.)

After one more go around on the first chorus, we head to this chorus:

"I wanna know what it's like
On the inside of love
I can't find my way in
I try again and again"

Indeed, I haven't found my way, but that's not for actually trying once in a great while.

"I'm on the outside of love
Always under or above
I can't find my way in
I try again and again"

Yeah, you're right again Mr. Caws. And then a killer change comes in this chorus:

"I'm on the outside of love
Always under or above
Must be a different view
To be a me with a you"

Ah yes, that's what it boils down to--the ability to change. To take those parts of yourself that are emotionally unattractive (or make you look emotionally unstable) to others and either hide them (not the best course of action) or change them because you think that will help deepen a bond with someone. Of course that's a crock--change is only good if you're doing it for yourself, not because it might get you some nookie down the road. And as for someone who can be quite resistant to change, this is most likely my inherent fatal flaw.

"I wanna know what it's like
On the inside of love
I'm standing at the gates
I see the beauty above."

Why is the beauty always above? Does he like 6' 4" women or something?

And then, the kicker:

"I wanna know what it's like
On the inside of love
Of course I'll be alright
I just had a bad night.
I had a bad night."

I have said "I had a bad night" to myself the next day and to others multiple times after various hook-ups. And a bad night doesn't always mean those things "I can't believe what I do late at night"--it also means those times spent babbling about how this girl or that girl of my dreams just doesn't feel the same way. Oh yeah, everybody loves hearing those stories. They can't get enough of them!

So there you go--Steve Reynolds, ages 31 to 36, summed up in song in just four minutes and 58 seconds. Amazing. When I first listened to this album Monday night in front of the Clean-Rite, the play count in my Ipod was 2. After the past 6 days it's up to 26. This may be the first time a Song of the Week has actually helped my mental state and set me on a better path of life.

(Or perhaps send me down a path of stalking the singer of Nada Surf, who knows?)

I swear, next week I will be writing about something like Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time." Or perhaps Paper Lace. It's summer, and these Songs of the Week should be a little more fun.

Damn you brain and feelings!


Anonymous said...

sigh. i just hope they know how wonderful and dead-on they are.


Anonymous said...

i will be there watching tv, eating hot dogs and loving you forever.