Thursday, March 29, 2012

Motorcycle Drive-By / God of Wine.

This is it--the moment I officially forfeit any semblance of hipness or coolness on this blog. I don't know if you're quite ready for it, but I am going to talk about some serious Third Eye Blind, right now.

It is hard to even express how many times I listened to their 1997 self-titled album, how much the angst of that CD was the soundtrack to my very being for so many years. I love this album for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it is perhaps one of the best break-up albums of all time. Almost every single song is clearly devoted to the hyperbolic joy and pain of this one relationship, this one person; the focused, singular rage of Stephan Jenkins is really quite remarkable. Like. He really must have loved this girl.

There are so many great songs one could discuss, so much late-90s nostalgia to be had, but there are two distinct, recent-ish memories that I think of when I think of this album. Yes, I apparently have distinct, recent-ish Third Eye Blind memories. Deal with it.

One is when we were in Europe--which okay, wasn't really THAT recent, but who cares--and were on our way to London. While there are probably numerous other songs written about London that possess either more class or street cred, during our entire travels there as well as the whole time we were actually in the city, Sam and I obviously chose to sing "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO LONDON! I TOLD YOU I DON'T CAREEE!" repeatedly (even though we, in fact, really did want to go to London), over and over, along with any other random snippets of the song we could remember. Basically, we took any opportunity to yell "LOOOONDON!" in a loud Stephan Jenkins-ish way, and we never quite tired of it, an experience that our other roomate Kerri, as during many moments of our time in Europe together, had to silently suffer through.

The other is two summers ago when Kathy and I took the long trek to the Gorge Amphitheater in the middle of Washington State, one of the most ridiculously wonderful places I have ever been. It's a five hour or so drive from Portland, but such a worthy five hour drive, passing through so many mind-blowing, diverse landscapes. We were close to the amphitheater, in the fourth hour or so, when Kathy made the glorious and random decision of putting in this Third Eye Blind album, which I had not listened to in God knows how long. As happens when this occurs--when I hear an album I have not listened to in God knows how long that I used to listen to ALL THE TIME--I got disproportionately excited and was all, "Oh man. Oh man. You know I know pretty much every single word of this entire album, right? Right? Because I do. I literally do. I think you don't understand what you just started. Oh man."

By the time Motorcycle Drive-By came on, we had entered this area of hills where, as happens on road trips in the West, you suddenly realize the vastness of the landscape around you, the bigness of it all threatening to consume you, and you squeeze the steering wheel a little tighter and your driving adrenaline rushes into your brain a little bit as you struggle to take it all in while not driving off the road into the abyss and killing yourself. And amidst this rush of Western landscape adrenaline, this song, this song, this song came on!

And there's this burning
Like there's always been
I've never been so alone
And I've
never been so alive.

The combination of Motorcycle Drive-By and God of Wine at the end of this album used to crush my heart in a very wonderful and devastating way. Motorcycle Drive-By is so angry, in that really righteous, almost painfully joyous type of angry way. So defiant, so alive, so moving on. And then God of Wine is so sad, so accepting, so devastated, so letting-it-fall-apart. (I know, I know, I know, I can't keep it all together.) I could not hear these songs for another ten years and when I happened to hear them again, they would still make my heart pound and I would still know every word, and that was what happened on the drive to the Gorge. 

And there's things I would like to do
That you don't believe in
I would like to build something
But you'd never see it happen.

Most of Kathy's and my car-sing-alongs are a joint venture, but Kathy had clearly not suffered in Stephan Jenkin's break-up pain the way I had in my youth, so she stayed quiet while I yelled along and it felt like I was exposing this very vulnerable part of myself that I don't really normally show even to Kathy, and when I think about it I still feel almost shaky about it. Although what part of myself this actually is, I'm not quite sure, because Stephan Jenkin's pain was not actually my own, I had not experienced the things he had experienced, when I was in high school. But I absorbed it anyway. I felt like it was my own. Because that is what music does.

Where's the soul, I want to know
New York City is evil
The surface is everything
But I could never do that
Someone would see through that.

Every glamorous sunrise
Throws the planets out of line
A star sign out of whack
A fraudulent zodiac.

And there's a memory of a window
Looking through, I see you
Searching for something I could never give you
And there's someone who understands you more than I do
A sadness I can't erase
All alone on your face.

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