I had a friend listen to me today.

We started talking before I realized I needed someone to listen to me and hear what I had to say about something I hadn’t intended on speaking about. Before I knew it, she helped me understand what I knew was the answer to the questions I was struggling with all along, the kind of answers I was too afraid to confront myself.

Self-sabotage is not always an intentional thing, but when you catch yourself doing it, or when someone else helps you notice, you can avoid a world of destruction, or at the very least, trotting down a hurt-trimmed path. I think that’s what this song is about, I think it’s very clear. What a classic.

OLP may not have sent many shockwaves with their most recent work (did you know they released an album in 2012? Because until about five minutes ago, I did not), but man, was some of their earlier stuff on the money. “Gravity” was likely the most commercially successful in 2002, what with the singles and the critical praise (“Made of Steel” completely crumbles me), but “Clumsy” always spoke to me a little more as an entire album. I loved how it was aggressive but not too angry, self-aware and smart but unpretentious. Especially when I got into their discography, early 2000s amid an emo-tinged alt rock scene, something about OLP felt far grungier and spacier; it’s in the distortion and the swung tempos and their ability to take it down a notch without losing depth, and the just-this-side-of-insane overlay on the vocals. Raine Maida almost always sounds like he just about to lose it – and he occasionally does, in the form of yelling – and I love how he makes you hear that edge so much you can practically feel yourself balancing on it.

“throw away the radio suitcase
that keeps you awake
hide the telephone, 

the telephone in case, 
you realize that sometimes 
you’re not okay
you level off but its not all right now
you need to understand
there’s nothing strange about this
you need to know your friends.
I’ll be waving my hand watching you drown,
watching you scream,
quiet or loud.
maybe you should sleep,
maybe you just need a friend.
as clumsy as you’ve been,
there’s no one laughing,

you will be safe in here.

Throw away this very old shoelace
that tripped you again
try and shrug it off
it’s only skin now.

you need to understand
there’s nothing fake about this
you need to let me in
I’m watching you 

I’ll be waving my hand watching you drown
watching you scream
no one’s around.
and maybe you should sleep
and maybe you just need a friend.

as clumsy as you’ve been,
there’s no one laughing,
you will be safe in here.” 

~Clumsy,
Our Lady Peace, Clumsy