I will be waiting for you here
You’re gone, gone
No matter how long
You’re gone, gone.”
I don’t know how best to begin this post so I am just going to let my thoughts flow. I’m at a loss of how to describe where I am, what’s going on, and how I feel. Music has been my medicine, my side-kick, and my crutch this week more than it has ever been before. I lost one of my very good friends on Monday and have been floating through time and space since the news broke. Nothing seems real but the sounds and words I’ve poured into my head. I’m not going to ramble and philosophize about death and dying; that’s not why you’re here or what you want to read, I get that. But I feel like it necessary to wonder and reflect on the power of music in times of pure, raw emotion and confusion.
Why is it that when we’re feeling down (not just melancholy, but an honest sadness) that we turn to down songs? I’ve tried listening to upbeat jams, some house and pop, but they resonate the wrong way in my head. Perhaps we turn these tracks up because we want to know that someone else has felt the same way; we want to feel what they’re feeling because it parallels what we’re feeling at the time. It’s not to bring ourselves further down, it’s a coping method. It’s okay to feel this because this artist has felt this – I am not alone.
One of the songs I’ve had on repeat this week is the title track from Philadelphia band Vacationer’s first release of the same title. The light sounds paired with lyrics that mix hope and longing seem right. The sounds simply fit together nicely. There isn’t a trace of sadness or anger. The lyrics are matter-of-fact. The repetition of “gone” is a means of accepting that this person it out of their life – at first it doesn’t feel real, but the more he repeats it the more he comes to understand his situation and begins to move on. Simple instrument play and an easy bass line keep the song upright and lends to the band’s goal in creating music that acoustically resembles a vacation (see their mini manifesto on their Facebook page). It’s easy to dive into the track and leaving its sonic space is not something you may want to do, but – like a vacation – you know it must end sooner or later. As the weekend quickly approaches and the week’s happenings are beginning to wind down, Vacationer is good company to kick-back with.
And so, here’s to music and its healing abilities. Here’s to sounds for their visceral qualities. Here’s to the community music generates. And here’s to my friend whose life was as amazing as your favorite track – inspirational, motivating, and powerful enough to resonate with you for years after you’ve listened to it.