The sky is bright and inviting in Brooklyn today. But the air is still bitter cold. Not the kind of place to be taking in a song like this.
Fading Listening is sun-kissed and dappled by the lights of the night in equal measure. It cruises along the boulevard, occupying the space between the low tide waves lapping along the coast to the left and the inviting neon signs of the bars and discotheques to the right. The last embers of the setting sun burn out in the middle distance just ahead.
The rich production adds layers on top of layers to the track; it’s warm, it’s deep, it bumps, and it gently pulls you along. You can tell that I don’t want to be around here while I’m writing this out right now. This is to be cranked while expectantly looking out the window towards the promise of the weekend or the night ahead. Preferably absorbed in the company of good friends and confidants, those with whom you’ve forged comfortable bonds.
It’s that feeling of familiarity that is really what takes this song to the next level. Shiny Toy Guns decided to imbue their track with a Fleetwood Mac vibe and the result is luxurious. The warm bass and the nimbly picked guitars are present while the traded-off vocals from Carah Faye Charnow and Chad Petree outline some half-remembered story. Their voices are in the here and now for only a moment before they decay into memory and the mix.
I’m all about the way
Of fading when I’m listening
Close enough to feel you
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down.”
I’m a sucker for little production tricks like that, when the story of the lyrics are echoed in the audio? Immense respect for acts like these who realize the emotional oomph they can pack in with a little turn of phrase and a few twisted knobs and slid faders. Amplify a signal, amplify an emotion.
So why is there sadness here? I guess they’re lamenting the times they’ve had that have passed. Or the times they won’t have together.
I can relate. By nature I find myself drawn to “What if?” and “What could have been?” questions, imagining where I could be now and who I might be with if I just done one little thing differently. (Of course, it’s not one little thing, but a host of little things over the years.) But the speculative isn’t worth anything. Memories and personal histories rest in our head and our hearts. They aren’t static; they bend, gather dust, and are worn out as time goes on. As inviting as those pops and hisses might be, only the here and now is real. I’m sure there’s something to make of this chilly day, even if I won’t be feeling any sand between my toes.