Monday, August 22, 2005

I Believe In Symmetry

I know the statute of limitations for gushing about Bright Eyes may have passed long ago, but bear with me. Sometime last March, I think, I was helping the venerable Grady Weatherford move into his apartment when the saucy creative team of Fritzsky&Stiles, LLC plugged in I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. Now, my daily intake of new music is pretty pathetic -- especially in the digital age where there are no excuses to miss the latest flood of wicked 1's and 0's. But damn, I was struck by this group.

Funny thing is: I thought I was in on some insider, indie-rock phenomenon. So I scampered off to Juneau, bought everything they made, played it all the time (cut with heavy doses of whatever East European symphonic Renee Gier offers me), and became something of a missionary for this group. Then I get back to DC and find out that not only are they VERY well-known, but verging on over-exposure, according to the Washington Post!

So anyway. I'm behind the curve, but I'm getting better. Time was, I was a good eighteen months behind the pop. Now, I think I'm down to fourteen months, six days, nine hours, and twelve minutes. It's hard to keep up. But for those of you who may not have yet sampled Connor Oberst's music, I would hope the sheer brilliance of his lyrics can compel you ...

Some plans were made and rice was thrown
A house was built, a baby born
How time can move both fast and slow
Amazes me

And so I raise my glass to symmetry
To the second hand and its accuracy
To the actual size of everything
The desert is the sand
You can't hold it in your hand
It won't bow to your demands
There's no difference you can make
There's no difference you can make
And if it seems like an accident
A collage of senselessness
You aren't looking hard enough
I wasn't looking hard enough

An argument for consciousness
The instinct of the blind insect
Who makes love to the flower bed
And dies in the first freeze
Oh I want to learn such simple things
No politics, no history
Till what I want and what I need
Can finally be the same

I just got myself to blame
Leave everything up to fate
When there's choices I could make
When there's choices I could make
Yeah, my heart needs a polygraph
Always so eager to pack my bags
When I really wanna stay
When I really wanna stay

When I wanna stay (x4)

The arc of time, the stench of sex
The innocence you can't protect
Each quarter note, each marble step
Walk up and down that lonely treble clef
Each wanting the next one
Each wanting the next one to arrive
Each wanting the next one
Each wanting the next one to arrive

An argument for consciousness
The instinct of the blind insect
Who never thinks not to accept its fate
That's faith, there's happiness in death
You give to the next one
You give to the next on down the line
You give to the next one
You get to the next on down the line

The levity of longing that
Distills each dream inside my head
By morning watered down again
On silver stars I wish and wish and wish

Move on to the next one
Move on to the next one down the line
Move on to the next one
Move on to the next one down the line

You get to the next one
You get to the next on down the line
You get to the next one
You get to the next on down the line


Now check this out. In a song about succumbing to fate, instinct, chance, etc -- the writer has actually used the passive voice to sum up his life in the first stanza. Is that cool or what? The final strains do indeed "walk up and down that lonely treble clef," and the whole melody jaunts about from jingle to anthem so quickly that you can't tell if Connor's condemning or celebrating the "blind insect" for its faith. Amazing.

Anyway, I thought my posts of late were a little heavy on condemnation, so I went looking for something that makes me smile.

12 comments:

amy said...

You know Bright Eyes?! Sweet!

The Deceiver said...

The finest track from the (better of the two) new album(s).

Washington Cube said...

I've been reading a lot about Bright Eyes. I guess tomorrow I finally go to Tower, break down and buy the cd. Thanks for the good write-up on them.

mb said...

yeah, i felt like an ass. i thought i had just stumbled across a small article and found a new band all on my own. it felt like some secret thing that i hoped wouldn't get out. and then, at rehearsal one day, i mentioned the name bright eyes, and mr. strain set me straight about how he (conor) is begrudgingly becoming main-stream. ah well. i felt so indie for about 5 minutes.

SimplyKJ said...

Random Bright Eyes spotting...

I was dropping of some film to the editing lab at USC, and the lab monitor had on a Bright Eyes shirt.

Reminded me of you.
And this blog.

jordan said...

is the title a sly reference to hot chocolate's "you sexy thing"?...because every time i see [the title] i fit it into the song, and i have the sounds of a friend singing it and visions of homer simpson dancing to it, and as amusing as it may be, it's somewhat disconcerting...

arcticactor said...

I doubt the "you sexy thing" song is at all related. Veeeeeeeeery different sounds. Shit. Now I can't get it out of my head! Do the rest of the lyrics match up? Ever tried singing "Amazing Grace" to the tune of the "Gilligan's Island" jingle?

-->k

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Russ said...

This song deserves a spot in the rock-n-roll hall of fame.

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