Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review: "If I stay here, I'll never leave."

I watched a bit of The Shawshank Redemption last night -- turned it on when Andy was telling Red about what he left under that oak tree, and his dream of finding Zihuatanejo. "Get busy living, or get busy dying," he said.

It made me think back to the day when I heard The National's "Sea of Love," from their 2013 album, Trouble Will Find Me, for the first time. Specifically when Matt Berninger sings: "If I stay here, trouble will find me / If I stay here, I'll never leave."

Many of the songs on Trouble Will Find Me deal with this cold realization: leave, or stay forever. Sometimes there is no in between, no matter how much we're striving for solid ground, hoping that it will all fall in place on its own -- that somehow the best decision is to do nothing and wait. And if you stay, will you always wonder what the other side looks like? Life is difficult. Life is drastic.

I wrote about this last month, but I'll say it again: Three months ago, right or wrong, I packed up my house and left. It took absolutely everything I had, but I did it for myself, and for the first time in many months, I'm at peace and I'm happy. Because as Berninger also sings on Trouble Will Find Me, "There's a science to walking through windows without you." Staying would have meant holding on for months, possibly forever -- never walking through those windows. No one will move on for you. No one.

I often get asked why I write about music, and the only answer I'll ever have is because it's the only thing that keeps moving me to no end. It's a constant journey, and since I'm a "lyrics guy," I'm going to leave you with some of my favorite lines from this year. Thanks for reading.

Jason Gonulsen
December 31st, 2013

I don't need any help to be breakable, believe me
I know nobody else who can laugh along to any kind of joke
I won't need any help to be lonely when you leave me

It'll be easy to cover
Gather my skeletons far inside
It'll be summer in Dallas
Before I realize

I don't want you to grieve
But I want you to sympathize (alright)
I can't blame you for losing
Your mind for a little while (so did I)
I don't want you to change
But I want you to recognize (that I)

It'll be easy to cover
Gather your skeletons far inside
It'll be summer in Dallas
Before you realize

That I'll never be
Anything you ever want me to be

So some say love is a burning thing
That it makes a fiery ring
Oh but I know love as a caging thing
Just a killer come to call from some awful dream
O and all you folks, you come to see
You just stand there in the glass looking at me
But my heart is wild. And my bones are steam
And I could kill you with my bare hands if I was free

She said, "Andy you crack me up,"
Seagram’s in a coffee cup,
Sharecropper eyes and her hair almost all gone.
When she was drunk she made cancer jokes,
She made up her own doctor’s notes,
Surrounded by her family, I saw that she was dying alone.

Then she went away and she took all her love
And I could now believe how little there was
I stood in the cold kitchen with nothing to say
Who’d keep the whole world spinning whens he went away
She kept telling me ’bout the good things I deserved
That I wanted somebody I’d mistaken for her
But one look in my eyes and she’d know she was wrong
So she wouldn’t look back at me until she was gone
How many times did you give all your love
Just to find out it was so far from far from enough
I followed her out into the street in the rain
And the whole world stopped spinning and just went up in flames.

It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead
If I think too much, I can get over-
Whelmed by the grace, by which we live our lives with death over our shoulders
Want you to know, that should I go

I always loved you, held you high above, true
I study your face, and the fear goes away.