Monday, October 5, 2015

Song of the Day #212 - The Mountain Goats - Moon Over Goldsboro

Empty lot the station faces, will probably be there forever

Okay it's not quite emoe (which I think I prefer over moemo for the "genre" name) but here's another sad sad song for today. Like all the songs on Get Lonely, the song is about ruminating about the end of a relationship, and it is brutally, bitterly sad. This album came out when I was 15 and I think it was a lifechanger. Even now, close to a decade later, I find the images of grief and despair are pulled from this album. This song especially: "I went down to the gas station for no particular reason", "I lay down in the weeds, it was a real cold night"... these are the movements you want to make when sad, right? It wasn't that Darnielle invented them, but he was the first who articulated them to me so directly, so memorably.

The famous verse from this song - rightfully so - is the falsetto part about 2:30... it sounds like he's both giving up, and giving it his all... "Remembered the day we moved into our small house/Till the vision got to vivid to bear". It has a Sun Kil Moon style innocence and obviousness about it, there's no bid for poeticism or anything... "Small house" is probably how they referred to it themselves. Wow, how brutal! The address of "our", the assumption that the one listening is his ex, that's brutal, man. I think this verse set up my thought process for all painful memories going forward: remember it until it's too vivid to bear. And then sometimes, like with a devastating chapter of Stretch I read today, the specific incident - remembering when you first moved into a place you're now leaving, which is a pretty OP sort of memory - brings it to mind. Oh MAN can you handle that? Are you crying right now reading this? If not it is a failure on my end.

Alright but the line that always stuck with me particularly is the "Empty lot the station faces, will probably be there forever"... I remember when I first started listening to this album a lot, I made my MSN display-message thing something about "will probably be there forever", and my older cousin messaged me to point out that no, nothing will really be there forever, looking for some sort of ontologically-based conversation, I guess, and I conceded it to him, but the key of the line is that it'll probably be there forever. Haven't you had that feeling? Now that I'm out in the country, I get it all the time. You drive by a farm and there's some rusted out tractor way in the back, with weeds growing up through it, and you think "that'll probably be there forever". Or even your own stuff - as I look in my childhood room, the wave of nostalgia leaves a residual feeling of... this stuff is prolly just gonna sit here forever. Well, it probably won't actually, but you know that for it to move, it would require your own efforts, and you can't quite imagine what that particular process would be right then, so hey, it'll probably be there forever.

What's weird is that somehow I really feel like I remember there being another line with the "probably be there forever"... when he says "moon in the sky", I can very distinctly remember there being another line about it ending in "probably be there forever", I can remember thinking about how neat it was that he compared the permanence of the empty lot and the moon... this is almost some sort of Mandela effect feeling.

Okay but the moon is an easy one: just look up at it, and think about how it'll prolly be there forever. There's nothing you can do about it. The inertia of the object overcomes any vague plans you can come up for it. It's a heavy feeling, you really feel the weight of the object, you brace yourself for having to physically move it, and you feel an equivalent emotional weight as you brace yourself for having to judge its usefulness, a new location for it, etc.

That's your homework for tonight. Wander around your house looking at stuff and thinking "What'll happen to this stuff? It'll probably be here forever". Then when you find something really sentimental, something that reminds you of a happier time, remember it until it's too vivid to bear. Then mope around, do whatever. Try to be moe about it.

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