I’m challenging myself to get through a whole shuffle of my music collection on my iPod without skipping. Then I write about what I heard each week.
* Songs listened to this week: 102
* Completed: 58%
* Number of double shots: 3 (Franz Ferdinand, Genesis, Sting)
* Percentage of songs that came up during running that were so totally not helpful in motivating my running: Oops…didn’t run this week, meant to take my usual post-race three days off, but somehow that turned into six!
The title of the post this week comes from “Where Does The Time Go?” by the Innocence Mission. Dave introduced me to them after we met in college and I think he first heard them on the only station that matters.
The Innocence Mission is not like anything else I listen to and I love them so much because the lyrics speak to me and remind me of my own Catholic school upbringing in a climate with changing seasons (Karen Peris writes lyrics about living with snow that make me feel like I am standing in it, even though it doesn’t really snow here). She is able to evoke so much using so few words. A skill I admire and don’t have.
Overt references to God and religion in music ordinarily turn me off, and many of their songs are colored by their faith, although only some songs are explicitly about God. For any other band this would be enough for me to say thanks, but no thanks. But there is a familiarity in the way Karen writes about this topic that feels comfortable to me. It was my experience too. As heartily as I’ve rejected religion, I don’t really have anything bad to say about my Catholic school experience…well, except this.
All this talk of my 13 years (14 if you count preschool) in Catholic school has lodged an awesomely lame Catholic hymn in my head. There were a bunch of these goodies in the late 70s/80s and our music teacher taught us many of them. When I get one of these songs in my head, watch out! I’ll be singing this all day.
“Let us build the city of God
May our tears be turned into dancing
For the Lord, our light and our love
Has turned the night into day.”
Sorry about that. I typed that out without checking it first, so I was pretty impressed with myself that I got the words right after more than 20 years when I finally did look it up so I could attribute the song lyrics to someone (Dan Schutte). What greatness could I achieve, if my brain weren’t cluttered with such things?
Back to the Innocence Mission…even if you didn’t share a similar upbringing (the members met while attending Catholic school), I dare you to listen to their music and tell me it doesn’t make you feel like they’ve wrapped a warm blanket around you and brought you some hot chocolate to warm up after coming inside from building a snow fort. Or maybe like you’ve spent an afternoon thumbing through your old family photo albums, the smell of the old paper that holds the pictures reminding you of the stories your Mom told you of the days the pictures were taken. Or is that just me?
I read that much of the Birds of My Neighborhood album was inspired by the years it took Karen and Don Peris to have children (they now have two children). “Where Does The Time Go” certainly seems to speak to that topic. But Karen has a gift for writing lyrics that can resonate in different ways.
The melancholy and hope this song weaves together remind me of the six-year long distance phase of my relationship with Dave. We spent the first half only a 90-minute drive apart, but when I moved to D.C. for the second half, knowing that he still had several years of school left and that both he and my family would be hundreds of miles away, I felt like I was driving off the face of the Earth (even more so when I crossed the Mason-Dixon line, which gave me chills quite frankly).
Those years seemed to stretch out forever, and I felt like I was waiting for my life to start a lot of the time. Birds of My Neighborhood came out the year that Dave finally finished school and moved here, and Karen provided the words for what it felt like to finally get what I had waited for so long:
“We will walk on a hill
Red hats and blue coats, and everything still.
Snow will cover until
We can’t tell the sky from the ground.
Where are the buildings, the old wounds of mine?
Did I ever once cry?
Waiting for you to arrive…
Where does the time go?…
Friends have moved away,
One tree has come down, another one flowers and sways.
Miri was lost for five days.
From upstate at school one friend writes,
Everything is changing while the day sky stays blue.
Changing around him, and me without you.
Waiting for you to arrive…
Where does the time go?…”
Video is here. Sorry I can’t embed it, I have been trying to be better about not highlighting songs You Tube won’t let me embed, but what can you do?
There weren’t too many other songs I felt like highlighting this week, and I’ve never spent so much space on one song before, so I’m only going to do one more.
* Band I’ve wanted to highlight, but was waiting for the song with the live You Tube video to come up: Splashdown “Ironspy”
I first heard them on WBER, by this time I was listening over the internet since I didn’t live in Rochester anymore. So I missed them when they played the Lilac Festival and then their record company screwed them over and now they are no more and it makes me sad and pisses me off. We need more music that doesn’t suck.
Ooh, wait, one more:
* Song I’ll be saddest not to hear again until this is over: Asobi Seksu “Thursday”