Friday, March 28, 2014
Notebook (March 2014)
How many times has this happened? I'm out in a restaurant somewhere, hanging out with friends, and suddenly a song I've never heard before comes on in the background and even though I'm only hearing scraps of the lyrics there's such heartbreak and dignity there that all at once I know that those five or six minutes of music are offering me an answer, a key, the vindication of meaning over the absurd, the proof that against all evidence matter and spirit aren't condemned to incompatible, mutually exclusive destinies. The way the voice is laying down the words across the melody is so perfect, so inevitable, because if there was a revelation, a reconciliation, it would have to be inevitable and complete and final, it couldn't have conditions or qualifications, it couldn't be perfect when seen from one angle but not when seen from another.
And of course later I'm never able to track the song down, even if I know the singer's name, I can't remember the lyrics at all, or if I do track it down it turns out to be just one more hackneyed, hollowed-out artifice, agreeable enough in its way like any number of other things one savors for a moment and then allows to dissipate, gnawing away at the meaning in them until nothing is left, but as its to being an answer to anything, nothing could be more ridiculous.
But what if it was an answer — but only in that moment?