Have you ever had a song that you found - that wasn't recommended by a friend or a DJ or some hipster playlist curator - but that you yourself sourced from some weird and unlikely place, and it's brilliant. It's the track that you love to introduce people to because it's that good - yeah - this is that track for me.
Songs are nothing without context - OK - maybe a little far reaching but - when you think of when you first fell in love with a track - there's going to be some life event attached to the memory. And because this is the Music to Grieve to playlist - the memories here are going to be pretty tough.
It was the autumn of '98 and my first marriage wasn't just falling apart, it was toast. My wife had left and I was on my own in our 300 year old cottage just outside London. I was numb - staying inside and drinking too much and losing myself in movies from the local blockbuster. One night I'm watching a British heist movie called Face and at some point this track comes on - and for whatever bizarre reason it gets me. I finish the movie and go back to the part where the track plays (I'm sure it was accompanying some poignant part of the story arc) and listen to it again - I scour the end credits to find out who it's by and write it down - (I'd never done this before!)
I then went to the record shop - no such thing as itunes or spotify in those days - and hunted for the band and album - no luck. But on a whim, I looked through the soundtracks section and lo and behold - Face soundtrack - score.
I pretty much wore that CD out.
But here's the thing - you listen to the lyric - or you can go and read them - and well - they don't exactly jibe with the experience I was having of the guy who's wife had left and who was wishing her back. I mean sure - I was all resonating with the idea that my love for her would go on and on and that I didn't want anybody else but her and all of that - but there's this additional part to the lyric where she hasn't left! And when you read it cold it just seems like some weird ass fucked up relationship where the love is actually damaging!
But that's songs - that's all songs. We take from them what we need and we ignore the bits that don't match our emotional requirements - and that's why music is so amazingly great. The quality of the underlying music - the melody, the harmonies, the organ the groove - it's all so beautifully done and uplifting and yet all I could do was sit and cry and believe that I'll never love another, that I'd never recover and yet...
It's 20 years later - I'm married 16 years with 3 amazing kids and life looks amazing.
Grief is transient for most people. Sure there are exceptions to the rule and there is clinical support for people who get afflicted by chronic grief - but for most of us, it's a journey we're forced into that does have an ending. It's tracks like this one that help us through - that let us know we're not alone - that allow us to cry & experience our darkest fears and worries - but the cool thing is - when you do come out the other side - eventually the songs become companions - they remind you of how you used to be and acknowledge that you're no longer like that - and that's a good thing.
A very good thing.
You can learn more about Longpigs here:
About the Curator - Andrew McCluskey
The first visual memory I have is that of the white upright piano in Singapore, Hell and the dark forces lived at the bottom, Heaven and the Angels at the top. They would play battles through my fingers and I was hooked.
Although I've always played, I haven't always been a musician. Most of my twenties were spent working with people, buying and selling and learning how the world works. It was in my thirties that I came to America and focused on music and began to develop music2work2.
Music to Grieve to is often sourced from entries at The Grief Directory. If you know of an organization or product that has helped you and you'd like to raise their visibility, then please tell us about them over at griefdirectory.org