learning love songs

est. 2008


May 2012


Tonight I feel kind of old and sad and worn and tired. I should probably be proud of myself, or feeling something that resembles satisfaction. I do a little, I guess. Things have been OK, in this new life I fell into, but it’s still foreign and weird. I miss ending the day with being held by someone I love, someone who cares about me separate from the tallies of successes and failures. That typically makes it easier to deal.

Master of metaphor Brian Fallon puts it nicely tonight, with something about lions and burying faith. Amazing how we can feel so much one day, be so full of passion and life and fire, and be so devoid of it so soon down the road. This is a chorus that’s hard not to relate to, and the build-up is perfect.

Amazing how I can second guess myself, even at this age, the same way I did a decade ago. Much like the love you lost, your demons never lose you.

“There are no reasons to believe

I buried my faith in an unmarked plot 
With your heart and your clothes 
When I find that I don’t feel you or recall
I’ll put your bones out in the yard 
Someone else to be called and called by

And I cannot hold a candle for every pretty girl 
We were strangers many hours
And I missed you for so long
When we were lions, lovers in combat
Faded like your name on those jeans that I burned 

But I am older now 
And we did it when we were young
~We Did it When We Were Young 
The Gaslight Anthem, American Slang
All I can really find solace in is music, and just like that, we are right where we started. 
I have to tell myself: You can run all you like, but you’ll never outrun those angels, or those demons.


One of my favorite tracks from Jimmy Eat World. One of those songs that makes me say, hey, life isn’t so bad, even when you’re alone and feeling older than you were a day, a week or a year before.

To me, this song says the best is always yet to come.

I don’t think I’ve ever spent a birthday alone before, I’ve always had really incredible friends to go out and play with. So this day has a host of opportunity that I probably shouldn’t waste. I should probably try to learn something new, or go on an outdoorsy adventure. I’ve never been horseback riding. That might be fun.

“Hey now, the past is told by those who win
My darling, what matters is what hasn’t been
Hey now, we’re wide awake and we’re thinking
My darling, believe your voice can mean something”
Jimmy Eat World, Futures


I am not in my hometown seeing this band right now.

If I was, you know I’d be singing my heart out to every word, entranced and blown away and in awe of how tight they probably sound during the bust at the end of “And Now I’m Nothing.”

The Wonder Years ignited a pop punk spark on a scene that, previously, was fragile and flickering after the establishment grew up, got off the labels and onto a real job or whatever. Pretty much everything else after sounded pathetic and poppy, then these guys came along with fierceness and smarts, and just enough pride to tell you being sad and sorry is not the end of the world.

Once again, it was a way of life.

These boys know how to tell a story, with passion and patience and perspective. Take a lyric from this song, “looking for pizza/all we found was complacency and somewhere to sleep”…that’s a poet’s line, right there, manipulating a verb like that inside a scene. Well done. Throughout their catalog, metaphors are visceral, biting, while guitar lines have a wonderful way of transitioning between assault-like attacks and heartbreaking solo melodies.

Only The Wonder Years could make touring in Europe sound like a drag. That takes talent. This song has a wonderful soothing quality in its desperation and drive, making me realize and remember that everything troubling, or wonderful, tends to pass as quickly as it showed up. Felt that way about this song even before I had a place to miss.

“So you found me on the floor split open at the seams

Lights are blurring and they’re right there in front of me
Tuesday we woke up at one
But it gets dark here at three
It’s getting hard to believe in anything

Tuesday I called up my dad
Said ‘I’m off balance and weak
Feeling homesick for things I know don’t think of me’

He said ‘It’s gonna get lighter, son
Just wait there and see
It’s getting hard to believe

Last night in Leeds
Al and I found ourselves running the city
Looking for pizza, only found was complacency
Seeing somewhere to sleep
I’m still waiting for the map to say
Home’s a week away

The boys are drowning in ?
I’m amazed they can breathe
Weebles just got caught stealing a Christmas tree
We drove all the way to Glasgow
Just to watch our defeat
But the floor against the bed last night was too heavy

Last night in Leeds
Joe was talking to some barmaid
Trying to get lucky
I think it almost worked until he ran into Bobby
Kid pulled the cockblock of the century

I’m still waiting for the map to say
Home’s a week away

Unless Great Britain comes to me and says
‘It’s not so bad if you don’t look at it that way’

Last night in Leeds
The world collapsed all around me
Along with the shelf in the basement of Liv’s house
By two or three, I thought we’d lost Josh and Mikey
They were skyhooking cans they hadn’t emptied out

Last night in Leeds
I know we woke all the neighbors
I don’t think anybody slept that night

Last night in Leeds
Things got a bit lighter
I guess my dad was right

I’m still waiting for the map to say
Home’s a week away
Unless Great Britain comes to me and says
‘It’s not so bad if you don’t look at it that way'”

~Hostels and Brothels

The Wonder Years, The Upsides


One great song, three great versions. Ordered in a progression of increasing sadness factor.

“Won’t you let me walk you home from school?
Won’t you let me meet you at the pool?
Maybe Friday I can
Get tickets for the dance
And I’ll take you

Won’t you tell your dad to get off my back?
Tell him what we said about “Paint It Black”
Rock and roll is here to stay
Come inside now, it’s ok
And I’ll shake you

Won’t you tell me what you’re thinking of?
Would you be an outlaw for my love?
If it’s so then let me know
If it’s no then I can go

And I won’t make you”

Big Star,#1 Record

Is there a better feeling than falling in love when you’re too innocent to know the trouble you’re getting yourself into? 


“And after all my plans
They melt into the sand
Yeah you will be there on my mind through all
Dont want to understand why you never get older”

Band of Horses, Infinite Arms 
I’m lonely, this song exacerbates it. 
Someone come over and sing this with me. These harmonies are great.
Oh, wait. Forgot I’m lonely because of that I’m-all-alone-in-this-state thing. 
It’s bad enough I have to wait for my landlord’s son to come back from his fishing trip to help me move my new dressers and desk upstairs to my apartment. Don’t even have someone to enjoy this beautiful day and some music with. Sad songs for sad times, then.

Everything will change when it should. In time.

“I’m fixing a drink in the morning

With the way things are,
You may have stayed too long
It’s splitting apart at the seam
From the hospital call

You’ve known him so long

If there’s a God up in the air
Someone looking over everyone

At least you’ve got something to fall back on

Deep in the heart of the country
Was a house I built from logs
A raven and a lady hawk

Quiet and calm through the day
See the sun burn through the fog
Approaching was a yellow dog

If there’s a God up in the air
Someone looking over everyone
At least you got something to fall back on

And what are people really for?
Does any body even care?
I’ll bet you get a lot of compliments down there
Band of Horses, Infinite Arms


“Trying to calculate, rearrange in my head for a little bit.
Well, I’m not the best at saying anything and so now,
Well so what, I can make it fit.
I’m gonna need a bigger bag of attention baby, yeah.

They said ‘we’ll make you right into a star, into a star.’

They said ‘we’ll make you right into a star ’cause it’s what you are.’
I’m like a timebomb rushing around, rushing around, 
I’m like a timebomb rushing around
They said ‘we’ll make you right into a star cause that’s what you are.'”
States, Room to Run

This was a great week to listen to States. Weather was good, I woke up pumped to go to work, then pumped to go home at the end of multiple ten-hour days. I wanted to hear Mindy White’s sassy, beautiful voice in my head as I told myself  “You got this, chill out.” The more I listen to this album, the more I fall for her lyrical style, full of comebacks and calling out commentary without loosing the kind of vulnerable realness indie rock has come to know and embrace and love. So it’s fitting with the scene, I suppose, but wrapped up in its whole own sound, and I’m totally sold on it.
This song, “Timebomb,” the opening track on their completely kickass and delightful “Room to Run,” is particularly great at getting stuck in my head. What a chorus to run through your head all day, it takes ahold of a great metaphor and gives great momentum with zany synth sounds and those real playful guitar licks in the chorus. What I especially love about this song is it exudes confidence with a fierce actualization without being totally devoid of perspective, there’s a birds-eye view going on here that’s ever-so-important to remember…

Albumwise, “Room to Run” is loaded with those little rock moments, and lots of killer hooks….when I heard the singles I wasn’t sure it was going to hold up to “Line Em Up” because it seemed like a departure and I loved that so much, but now that I’ve purchased the album and given it loads of listens it’s been in heavy rotation. Mindy White is truly an amazing singer, full of jazzy influences but a great punk-inspired belt….I belt she’s killer live. Lyrically, she’s straight and to the point, reflective and great with rhymes and wordplay inside a phrase…basically, I want to pick her brain and probably her closet.

“Room to Run” definitely tells a story, and the best albums always should.


And the award for my favorite meme goes to…

Although, given the lyrics, wouldn’t it make more sense if the arrows were pointing to the two circles? Whatever.


This is a song that makes me want to write every feeling in the world ten times over, while simultaneously feeling like I will never come close to being half as beautiful about it.

Probably one of my favorite songs about growing up. Also one of my favorite songs from The Weakerthans, which is a tough list to make. Definitely some of my favorite lyrical phrases. Dusty school yards, elegant plumage, wet cement….phrases I should know enough to be able to emulate in my own writerly way. All I can tell myself is these things take time, practice, and getting up each morning to try again.

“We emerged from youth all wide-eyed like the rest/Shedding skin faster than skin can grow/and armed with hammers, feathers, blunt knives words, to meet and to define and to but you must know/the same games that we played in dirt, in dusty school yards has found a higher pitch and broader scale than we feared possible and someone must be picked last, and one must bruise and one must fail./And that still twitching bird was so deceived by a window, so we eulogized fondly, we dug deep and threw its elegant plumage and frantic black eyes in a hole, and rushed out to kill something new, so we could bury that, too.

The first chapters of lives almost made us give up altogether. /Pushed towards tired forms of self immolation that seemed so original, I must, we must never stop/watching the sky with our hands in our pockets, stop peering in windows when we know doors are shut. /Stop yelling small stories and bad jokes and sorrows, and my voice will scratch to yell many more,/but before I spill the things I mean to hide away, or gouge my eyes with platitudes of sentiment/I’ll drown the urge for permanence and certainty; crouch down and scrawl my name with yours in wet cement.”~Sounds Familiar
The Weakerthans, Fallow


One of the prettiest songs about one of the worst feelings. I’ve felt it before. I hope I never feel it again.

Maybe I’m just in a haze lately, but all that seems to stir me is loud pop punk, mixes from high school or really sad folk. Or maybe that’s just how I always am, and I’m trying to flatter myself. But yeah, this song, cut and dry. The pangs of moving on, emphasized in chromatic notes, gorgeous harmony and the wavering-just-so,  barely-there-vibrato of the amazing Joy Williams. Her voice after the second chorus sends chills through my entire body that just make me want to make music, or collapse and never get up until someone I love picks me up. Maybe both.

“Haven’t you seen me sleep walking?
‘Cause I’ve been holding your hand
Haven’t you noticed me drifting?
Oh, let me tell you, I am

Tell me it’s nothing
Try to convince me
That I’m not drowning
Oh let me tell you, I am

Please, please tell me you know
I’ve got to let you go
I can’t help falling
Out of love with you

Why am I feeling so guilty?
Why am I holding my breath?
Worry ’bout everyone but me
I just keep losing myself

Tell me it’s nothing
Try to convince me
That I’m not drowning
Oh let me tell you, I am

Please, please tell me you know
I’ve got to let you go
I can’t help falling
Out of love with you

Won’t you read my mind?
Don’t you make me lie here
And die here
Please, please tell me you know
I’ve got to let you go
I can’t help falling
Out of love with you”
The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow

I don’t want to give up the best love I’ve ever had. But do you have to give up something you love to get the rest of the world? How do you know what’s worth holding onto? I don’t think you ever do…rather I think that’s a decision you make for yourself…but, sometimes, what you’re holding onto is slipping away and there’s nothing you can do but let it happen, and feel the pain as you feel your heart change.

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