The last 10 days or so, most of which I spent living in a van amongst musicians cruising the Gulf Coast, I’ve been inundated with music – new and old, both familiar and undiscovered,  whether comfortable or intriguing. Traveling solo means lots of iPod and Pandora, traveling in a group means CDs on for all to hear and sing to. These travels had both, plus nightly live metal shows.

Among these many, many songs and albums, one that’s really sticking with me back at home is Thrice’s “Beggars.” I’ve always been a huge fan of Dustin Kensure’s songwriting, and I attended a concert of  theirs back home once and their musicianship blew me away. Absolutely stellar performers who really knew how to make their work shine, completely resonating with a crowd beyond any scenester borders despite whatever label may have been pasted upon them at the time. “The Artist and The Ambulance” was a pretty ubiquitous record in high school, and I saw them right on the cusp of the four-album, two-part release of The Alchemy Index, which is arguably among the most complex, artistic endeavors as you’ll find in rock music these days. Dustin’s solo work since then has been  beautiful.

Yet, as I am ashamed to admit, I sort of abandoned Thrice listening, for reasons I don’t really know. Their earlier discography has sat in digital and physical forms in my home, my car and my hard drive, as I hungrily search for something new and inspiring. Their latest releases have sort of passed me by, as Alchemy and Vheissu showed a departure from the heavier sound that drew me to them back when. So over these last 10 days, when good new friends blasted “Beggars” in a busted up van I happened to be traveling in and everyone sang along, I was absolutely smitten to find the Thrice I’d once loved, that had once spoken to me, had never gone away, and had only grown better with age, with time. This album was exactly what I’d needed to hear, haunting and heartfelt and full of stories…some songs felt familiar in passing, I didn’t know if that was because I’d heard them before or because Thrice has such a recognizable sound with a heavy rhythm core and Dustin’s emotive blend of soft and visceral vocals

I think I actually appreciate this album more now than I may have if I got this into it back when it was released. My ears are much better attuned to hearing guitar riffs, cymbal crashes or nuances in a bass line, and observing  that confluence of parts Thrice so excels at. Beyond the notes, whatever maturity I’ve managed to hone since high school – hell even since I graduated college -only makes me appreciate their depth more. And of course, album love is a circumstantial thing — it’s quite natural of anyone to attach music to memories and it’s actually a pretty frequent habit/hobby/obsession of mine, so there is that.

So when Dustin sings so raw, so righteously, about love and what it means, I think I get it. I may not have got in 2009 when this album came out. Or maybe I would have. All I know is I’ve grown since then and I’m glad I’m hearing it now.

“There’s many who’ll tell you they’ll give you their love,
But when they say “give” they mean “take.”
They”ll hang ’round just like vultures till push comes to shove.
They’ll take flight when the earth starts to shake.

Someone may say that they’ll always be true,
Then slip out the door ‘fore the dawn.
But I won’t leave you hanging on.  

Another may stay till they find someone new,
Then before you know they’ll be gone.
But I won’t leave you hanging on;
No, I won’t be that someone.

And come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
And come what may, I will be standing right here by your side;
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

Some talk of destiny, others of fate,
But soon they’ll be saying goodbye.
But I won’t leave you high and dry.
Because a ring don’t mean nothing
If you can’t haul the weight,

And some of them won’t even try,
But I won’t leave you high and dry;
I won’t leave you wondering why.

And come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
And come what may, I will be standing right here by your side;
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

And storms will surely come,
But true love is a choice you must make
And you’re the one that I have set my heart to choose.
As long as I live, I swear I’ll see this through.

~The Weight
Thrice, Beggars