This one takes me back to younger days, driving like a bit of a maniac because I could, and because I told myself I had to. When you feel there's not much you're good at, you push yourself harder at the things you are good at (or think you're good at). I'd never really push myself around other drivers, but on an empty road late at night? Push it to the limit, listen for the squeal as the tires hit the limit of friction. Can I hold it, or do I back off? Surviving always meant you could have pushed it harder. What's the point in living if you can't taste death? The fear is how you know you're alive, etc. That whole line of old bullshit.
Most people know the Presidents for lighter fare like "Lump" and "Peaches." But when they decide to go dark, they do it really well.
"I've been thinkin' 'bout freaking out
if I can just find the time."
I've been in places like that, where I felt like I didn't even have the time for a nervous breakdown. You just want to drop out of the game.
The Police track has a verse about taking a bend too fast ("I'll be late," which is one way to put it). In this song, it's instead about just running out of room to run. "I would hit an ocean or a coast, and that would be the end. of. me."
And the deep breath between the 2nd and 3rd verses? Just perfect. I get chills every time. (If you don't hear it, turn up your volume or grab some headphones. It's at 1:50.) The Presidents have a very minimalist sound; they're famous for the 3-string guitar, 2-string bass, and 3-piece drum kit. And yet, they somehow manage to craft a song so viscerally evocative that it's almost painfully beautiful to listen to.
The title of this song always makes me think of the lead character from "They Live," but the storyline reminds me more of Ambrose Bierce, who disappeared into Mexico late in life and was never heard from again. In all honesty, I feel like that's the way I'd prefer to "go" when my time comes. No body, no funeral, just vanish.
These two images are just gut reactions, though. The actual storyline here postdates Bierce by some time (there's a truck, for one thing). The word "nada" translates to "nothing." The character has nothing but what we hear about in the song. He drives his truck until it runs out of gas. He crosses a river and leaves his boots behind. Yes, it's a dark, depressing song, but there's also something cathartic about it. We don't know what the narrator is fleeing, and he flat out says he won't tell us. And pacing the narrative all along is this threatening storm.
Something is driving him. Something is driving all of us. We keep moving, almost as if we don't know how to stop. And yet, down this perilous cliff so near at hand, is the abyss. Sometimes, we can't help but stare.
This is a bit of a dark topic. I hope I haven't caused anyone any distress in thinking about these sorts of things. I keep thinking about the Harry Crews interview that BOP linked to awhile back, though, and his words echo in my head. "The writer's job is to get naked, to hide nothing." Sometimes, visiting the dark places is a good thing. Sometimes it's important to talk about these things, so that others know that they're out there, that they're ok, that these thoughts occur to all of us at some point. To know you're not alone, to know it will be okay.
And though I've been struggling a bit this weekend, I know it will all be okay. Step by step, one by one.
from perhaps my fav Cure album. 'Wish', which briliantly encapsulates the beginning, the middle and the end of a relationship in 45 minutes. this is the darkest song on the album, but what makes the song for me is the underlying positivity of the doo doo doo doo doo doo doos