Of late, I’ve been pondering over these lyrics from The National’s “Looking for Astronauts (from their precursor to Boxer, Alligator.)
Take all your reasons and take them away
To the middle of nowhere, and on your way home
Throw from your window your record collection
They all run together and never make sense
But that’s how we like it, and that’s all we want
Something to cry for, and something to hunt
The thing that has always bothered me about loving music so much is having to think about, every once and now, whether that music will last – whether it will be, or can possibly be, as good five years from now as it is two days since I first heard it. This condition is, I believe, universally appreciated as the curse of all true music lovers.
Which is why those lyrics from “Looking for Astronauts” hold a lot of deep meaning. I don’t think I have, or even want to have, all the answers but what’s clear to me is that music is very much for the now. Which isn’t to say something can’t be great ten years after it’s come out or, more challengingly, ten years since you first heard it. Rather, there’s something you get out of a record when you listen to it that you might not be able to get ever again in the same way. There’s something about music that seems to come to you at just the right moment. Right now, that album’s name is Armchair Apocrypha, Andrew Bird’s pop masterpiece.
There’s something about a group of songs that seem to speak emotionally to what I’m feeling right now – I can’t help myself from thinking that the music will never be the same. I’ll never listen to it three times a day, sitting back in awe at how much of an expressive instrument Bird’s voice is, listening to “Heretics” and telling myself this music, and this life is just too good.
That moment’s passed and I’ll probably never quite the same tingly feeling (should I call it love?) for Armchair Apocrypha. But there are other albums. And I’ll always have the memories of the perfect night when I first heard . . . music.
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