April 1, 2010

Brendan Hilliard's Eternal Mixtape

I’m not quite comfortable with the fact that the work for this project is done. I’ve learned that it’s always going to remain unfinished, despite my best efforts. There are still songs out there that I have yet to hear. There’s still those songs that I’ve heard and have yet found a meaning for. That’s both exciting and frustrating.

Many of these stories I’ve never shared before with anyone. That was the real challenge of creating an Eternal Mixtape, committing these memories and feelings to words. There were difficulties translating the vision in my head to the final result you see here. I did my best to overcome that.

This project has been liberating. It represents for me is the end of an era in my life. I’m ready to close this chapter and start a new one.

Thanks for the support and encouragement of all the people who worked along with me on this project. It means more than you can imagine. Also, I wanted to give big thanks to those brave souls who helped me edit. For those just reading, I hope the littlest bit of something you see here inspires you to make your own Eternal Mixtape and share your stories.


Kokomo – Beach Boys (1988)

It’s the first song I remember. It’s the memory of the “Welcome to Chicago” sign at dusk while entering O’Hare for the first time. It’s an innocuous recollection of Alan Krashesky anchoring an ABC7 newscast. Also, it’s Luke Mycyk and I claiming we knew ‘every word’ when we were eight and then singing nothing but the chorus while on the swing set in my backyard.

Despite the fact that it’s not truly a Beach Boys song and I’m old enough to know better doesn’t really hold any weight. I’ve said many times before that “Kokomo” may be my favorite song of all time. I suspect it’s because of those memories that it conjures, not because I really appreciate how it sounds. There’s a lot of random images that come to mind when I hear this song, and none are about being on a beach. I like it that way.

Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison (1988)

I don’t think I’ll forgive myself for including anything that Jeff Lynne has put his stink on, but that’s what the idea of this whole project was: warts and all. When it comes down to it, this was a hell of a cover song. Also, It’s entirely successful at appealing to a toddler who can appreciate a good hook.

The second (and far superior) music video to this song features a stuffed squirrel playing a pipe as if it were a saxophone. If that is not meaningful to you, eat a dick.

Listen To The Music – Doobie Brothers (Summer 1991)

Misery. That’s what this one is. I must have been no older than five when I first heard this song, on one of the oldies stations during an excruciatingly long car ride to a lumber yard with my parents. That summer day was blazing hot, unfathomably bright, and made my head sweat something fierce. Zapped of every last ounce of energy, I laid my head back against the seat, my bare legs kept sticking to the hot vinyl seat, begging my parents to turn the air on even though all the windows were open. Through every moment, those soaring voices on the radio kept telling me to listen to the song. It was awful.

Karma Chameleon – Culture Club (1991-1993)

I remember listening to this album on the stereo system in our living room and staring at the cover of an effeminate looking Boy George, asking my parents frequently if he was “really a boy”. It was some time later that I learned that “Well, that’s just what some dudes do.”

Culture Club has left an elephantine impact on my musical consciousness, mainly because I heard them ALL THE TIME, and it’s one of the four groups I can guarantee that my dad will listen to. The others? Late 60’s Stones, AC/DC, and Hootie and the Blowfish. Why Culture Club? He doesn’t have even the slightest propensity towards new wave, or even any real knowledge of anything else that came out during the 1980’s. Why such a niche group? It’s one of life’s mysteries. Let me ask you this, though:

Does your dad make “Church of the Frozen Mind” jokes?

Don’t Speak – No Doubt (February 14, 1996)

The 1990’s were a musically-deficient decade in my life. I didn’t care at all, except for “Weird” Al Yankovic, The Beatles Anthology 3, and that week where I begged my mom to let me get Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrisette. (She said no.)

Oh, and No Doubt.

When I was ten, I loved Tragic Kingdom. I mean, at least the singles that everyone knew. I don’t think I still know anything else on it.

Every Saturday morning early in 1996, I’d go downstairs and sit in the kitchen watching VH1’s Top 20 countdown. “Don’t Speak” and “Lovefool” by the Cardigans would trade the top spot for what seemed like months. There was so much going on in the “Don’t Speak” video. It was a third “performing in a warehouse”, a third “doing a photo shoot where the dudes were cropped out in favor of Gwen” and a third of “performing in a club”. How these elements created an effective video is something I still wonder. Gwen was all over the place in the performance clip. She was mesmerizing, even to a little kid. The band seemed wild. Also, I really liked that song “Spiderwebs” because it had horns.

I never understood why anyone liked “Lovefool”. The video was stupid and their singer looked really bored. She probably was.

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (October 1999)

You never forget your first time.

You’ve got butterflies. You’re nervous, but there’s an energy that keeps you going farther. You’ve been waiting for this moment your entire life, prepared as much as you can, and constantly daydreamed what it would be like.

Then it comes in one big rush.

This is what it was like when I purchased Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix.

Until then, music was incidental. I actively tried not to find anything to listen to. All it took to change was an episode of WCW Monday Nitro.

Yeah. Pro wrestling.

“Voodoo Child” was Hulk Hogan’s theme music. I thought the way the guitar sounded was something that no one would ever be able to duplicate. There was so much noise coming out of one instrument. It was colossal. Hendrix experimented with so many styles in a short period of time, and the disc is a great sampler of that. It’s the one that opened the door and showed me the real possibilities of music.

Dear Prudence – The Beatles (Fall 2000, Winter 2001)

Any true music fan I’ve ever known has gone through a very serious and very crucial Beatles phase. This happened at a big moment: when I switched from St. Edward Central Catholic High School to Dundee-Crown High School.

St. Ed’s was a miserable experience. I entered the school as a public school kid for life, and with only eight other kids from my middle school attending. I was awkward, very shy, and completely destroyed that I wasn’t going to school with the rest of my friends. To add to this, I resented the fact that most of the kids I was going to school with were mostly rich kids or were part of a long family lineage.

Without provocation, these kids obviously were not chill with the fact that I had a bowlcut and bad posture. This got me the nickname “Quazi”, after the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I remember the really hot girl turning to me in History class and calling me it for no real good reason. Balls.

I cried for weeks and pleaded with my parents to leave the school. For a while, it didn’t work, and the Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers I was listening to wasn’t giving me a lot of comfort. During one of my regular Best Buy trips (my record store of choice as a kid, gross, I know), I picked up the Beatles 1 compilation on a whim. From “Love Me Do” to “The Long and Winding Road”, I had found myself playing in an entirely new ballgame.

Whatever bad vibes I had from the school day were gone them moment I came home and put one of their records on. I left St. Ed’s for Dundee-Crown a few months later. While that another set of changes, they stayed the same. At fifteen, The Beatles were my salvation.

Sorrow – Bad Religion (Fall 2001)

It’s not so much that September 11 didn’t have a tangible impact on me (I don’t think I realized the gravity of what had happened until many years later) but geographically, I was so far away and lived a life where I couldn’t possibly imagine something that catastrophic happening so close to home. It was another image of a far away place on TV.

For quite some time, MTV played music videos about songs full of hope (a hastily put together video for “Freedom” by Paul McCartney, U2’s “One”, and the stark and stellar “Gone” by *N’Sync). But it wasn’t until the dust had settled (both figuratively and literally) did a song pop out of the woodwork that I understood: the entirely understated “Sorrow” by Bad Religion. Perhaps it’s not entirely about the tragedy, but it’s the song I immediately attribute to the time period. Simply, It’s a beautiful little power ballad by a band that doesn’t usually make beautiful little power ballads.

When The Stars Go Blue – Ryan Adams (November 23, 2001)

There is nothing more stigmatizing to the idiot music listener than this phrase: “I really like everything, except for country.”

Dirty, dirty words.

I was that idiot. The idiot who stood at Best Buy under the section titled RYAN ADAMS, praying that no one would see me pick Gold up out of the rack, and take it to the cash register. The idiot who was buying a New Order greatest hits album along with it so he didn’t feel so goddamn embarrassed.

I was doing this because Rolling Stone told me to. I’ve harbored a not-so-secret ambition for many years to write a music review for the publication. I used to love scrutinizing the pages of each issue, listening to the bands based on the recommendations of the writers. I was dazzled by the wordiness of some, and frustrated by the brevity of others. This was something I wanted to do, I told myself.

Listening to Nirvana and Lucky Boys Confusion wouldn’t cut it if I ever wanted to make it big.

“Sixteen-year-old boys don’t listen to country, much less ‘alt-country’,” I thought.

I took a step back.

“But Elton John really loved ‘Heartbreaker’…”

I took two steps forward.

“Widen your horizons.”

I snapped it up and beelined to the register.

Hurricane – Something Corporate (Spring 2002)

Immediately with that acoustic guitar noodling, I’m transformed back into that pimply, metal-mouthed, bowlcutted sixteen year old. We’re riding in Jordan’s brown 1988 Taurus, expounding on our love for our these pop songs, belting out the lyrics with complete earnestness. We’d comment on how amazing this song was and played our favorite songs off the newest albums by Incubus and Red Hot Chili Peppers. These were the red-and-khaki Target days, the Steak N’ Shake-after-work nights, swimming-in-Luke’s-pool-with-an-Aspen-t-shirt summers. No bills to pay, no real big responsibilities, no one had babies yet – in fact, very few of us had even seriously kissed a girl.

Falling For You – Weezer (July 11, 2002)

Weezer were my Hold Steady before The Hold Steady was my Hold Steady.

My love/hate relationship with Weezer over the years has been well documented – so much so, I’m tired of writing about them, so I’ll keep it brief. Here’s where I’m at now: I feel like a parent who’s child quit medical school to become a garbage man.

That said, Pinkerton is still magic. It’s holding as my favorite record of all time (tied with Boys and Girls in America, of course.) I don’t think I’ve ever dissected a piece of music so intensely as that. Eight years and hundreds of listens later, I’m still finding things on it that I’ve never heard before. Way to set the bar and give up trying, dudes.

Echo – Incubus (August 27, 2002)

On August 27, 2002, my friend Luke fell off the back of a moving automobile and fractured his skull in two places. When we found him, he was unconscious, facing the opposite direction from which he fell, and bleeding from his head. It was horrifying. After being admitted to the hospital, he was put in a six-day medically induced coma to reduce the impact of swelling on his brain. No one knew if he’d really come out of it.

I was walking to a mutual friend’s house the next day when I passed his house. This song was playing in my ears as I glanced at his emerald green Jeep Cherokee. It was in the driveway where it always was, but he wasn’t. We didn’t know if he was ever going to be there again. It finally seeped in: This is real. This is actually happening. No one I knew had ever been sick before. No one had died. My world was a big bubble. “Echo” is the sound of it popping.

Big In Japan – Tom Waits (Fall 2002)

Mike Pearson, my English teacher during my junior year of high school, was one of the coolest teachers I ever had. I can’t speak for my classmates, but I looked forward to his class every day, partially because I enjoyed the class, and because we had something in common.


Before teaching, Mike was the guitar player in the legendary Chicago punk band the Blue Meanies. It wasn’t long after that I started asking him a bunch of questions and we got to trading music. I have no idea what I possibly could have made him copies of, but I still have the small collection of albums he gave to me. Some of these albums have changed my life. Others, I’m still trying to understand. Records like Talking Heads Remain In Light. Gang of Four’s Entertainment/Yellow EP, Frank Zappa’s Lumpy Gravy and We’re Only In It For The Money. Brainiac’s bizzare Hissing Prigs in Static Couture and finally, Mule Variations by Tom Waits, which I’m not sure I even get now. Regardless, I absolutely loved this song. I’d never heard anything like the albums he gave me. They changed my listening experience permanently. For that, I’m eternally grateful to him.

Ressurection – The Misfits (Fall 2002)

My familiarity with the Misfits begins with “Last Caress,” makes a pit stop with “Die, Die My Darling,” and ends with this, a tossed off cut from their 1997 American Psycho album with Michale Graves, who’s probably known more for his conservative political views than being Danzig’s replacement.

I have fond memories of the fall of 2002, riding around with Ty Lederer in his little beater car, talking about punk rock, (what we thought were) cool jams from Phish records and most importantly, his steadfast view that “Civil War” by Guns N’ Roses was one of the best songs they’d ever recorded. I still don’t understand that one.

He’d play this song for me on those car rides, doing his best to convince me that this was even better than one of the Danzig compositions. He may be right, for all I know. I liked the song a lot and I still do. At that time, I was just glad that I had a friend who loved music just as passionately as I did.

This Time – Smashing Pumpkins (July 22, 2003)

If 2003 had a sound, this was it. (Well, this and Justin Timberlake. Many sweaty car rides were to “Senorita”. Rightfully so. That track is HOT.) This dewey-eyed little number was really about the first breakup of the Pumpkins, when Billy still had some goodwill to spread – but for me, I’ve re-appropriated it to soundtrack my first kiss, my first heartbreak, and a really good time with some really good new friends.

It never was really easy for me with girls in high school, which I’m sure was the case for a lot of dudes at seventeen, so the first time a girl really liked me, or gave me the idea that maybe she liked me was a pretty big deal. “This Time” is the nonsensical moments hanging out doing nothing that crystalize and feel pure and perfect, and replay endlessly through your head for years. It’s the sound of going to Six Flags Great America and riding my first rollercoaster. It’s the sound of watching Some Like It Hot, Kramer vs. Kramer and The Bridge on the River Kwai all in a row leading up to the first big kiss. It’s also the sound of the girl abruptly leaving, crying after she kissed me because she thought she made a mistake.*

I said dewey-eyed, didn’t I?

*It’s cool. We made out a couple days later.

Train In Vain (Stand By Me) – The Clash (November 19-23, 2003)

File London Calling under “should be issued at birth”. (Along with Journey’s Greatest Hits, a DVD copy of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, as well as, um…a Chipotle gift card?) It’s that essential.

The Clash exist in a precipice between the easy and accessible, and the intelligent and complex. No matter what type of music fan you are, you can find something to like about their sound. At seventeen, any semi-serious listener is undergoing this transformation.

“Train In Vain” is the story of my trip to Washington D.C. with my Journalism class. I was a senior in high school, had never been away from home without my family, and I was faced with the prospect of being my own boss for five days.

It was awesome. I got to know my classmates better, took the Metro pretty much everywhere, stood where Reagan was shot, and even got the opportunity to tour the Pentagon. (It’s huge and has a Sbarro. Sold.)

The best part? Anonymity. During my free time, I’d take off down the streets, wander into restaurants and record stores, completely faceless and unrecognizable to residents. It was intoxicating being in a new city with a whole new set of possibilities. I’ve never forgotten that, and I’ve been in love with that feeling ever since.

Float On – Modest Mouse (Summer 2004)

Just a few words: Graduating high school. First girlfriend. Getting ready for college. Saying goodbye to the past and most things familiar. A new set of challenges. “We’ll all float on, all right.”

We did.

Somebody Got Murdered – The Clash (December 28, 2005)

To you, for that moment of infamy. I have and always will admire you. I’ve never stopped asking, “Well, why the hell not?”

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel (January 20, 2006)

I’ve suffered from a combination of anxiety and depression for most of my life. Which consequently has lead to some pretty bleak moments. But if I had to pinpoint the lowest of the lows, January 2006 would be the part where it all broke. It was less than a month from my first real breakup and a falling out with longtime friends. Obviously, I was devastated. I spent a lot of time watching this brand new thing called YouTube. One of my favorites were watching re-cut movie trailers.One in particular was a comedic re-invention of The Shining with this Peter Gabriel song. Funny? Certainly. But the middle verse was magnetic:

“So I went from day to day / though my life was in a rut / until I thought of what I’d say /which connection I should cut / I was feeling part of the scenery / I walked right out of the machinery / my heart going boom boom boom/ “Hey” he said, “Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home.”

It’s funny, because the most important words seemed frivolously tossed right in the middle. No. It was a a rallying cry. Those words weren’t his anymore. They were mine. With that in mind, the sun started to rise again over a very dark hill.

Maggie May – Rod Stewart (February 2006)

If “Solsbury Hill” were the motorcycle riding into the sunset of my bad times, “Maggie May” would be in the sidecar. Rod Stewart’s pretty much done two earnest things with his career:

1) The Faces.
2) This song.

Other than that, it’s just a bunch of crappy Great American Songbooks, and an unforgivable desecration of a Tom Waits classic. Not with “Maggie May”. The dude sounds miserable, but you can’t help but hear a tinge of hopefulness in his rasp. The message is simple: “This sucks right now, but I’ll get through.”

I take comfort in the bowing guitars, and the way it builds like a wave before cresting with that sublime mandolin solo. If you listen closely, it’ll make you feel infinite.

Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye (March 2006)

I always feel like the over-the-top vibe of this jam is what often derides it. People really tend to forget how perfect of a song it really is. It’s hilarious and serious all at once. Example: who doesn’t need sexual healing? On the other side, I really think I just like this song because my friend Andy and I thought it was really funny to sing along to in the car. You can follow that impenetrable groove the entire four minutes. It never gets old.

I Want You Back – Jackson 5 (March 2006)

So many of these songs come from the spring and summer of 2006, where I essentially spent most of my waking moments either:

a) Alone in my room.
b) With my friend Andy Wyslotsky.

Andy was the best friend I had at the worst possible time in my life. I wasn’t making much sense to anyone in those days. I was socially awkward, beaten down and generally unconfident, and he was there providing support and being a true friend when he could have been doing plenty of better things with his time. I’ll never forget that.

We listened to a lot of kitschy songs in car rides back and forth to Woodman’s to buy Raspberry-flavored canned peaches and Minute Maid Cherry Limeade. So many of these car jams have been playlist regulars over the intervening years. Especially ones with a monster hook like “I Want You Back”. Where do you start and end with a song like this? The killer piano bounce, strutting baseline, and that vocal by a young Michael Jackson. There’s something magical about it. For exactly three minutes, you forget it’s a kid singing a song of such intense longing. He feels it. You believe it.

Dear Yoko – John Lennon (April 2006)

I once said that this song makes me want to fall in love. Still true. But really, it’s one of two things.

1) It makes you want to fall in love if you aren’t.
2) If you are, it makes you glad you are.

Stuck Between Stations – The Hold Steady (October 26, 2006)

What else can I say about these dudes that I haven’t yet touched on?

Okay: Pressing ‘play’ to start Boys and Girls in America burned the roadmap for the rest of my life. Frankly, if I had not decided to give these guys a second listen (I hated them at first), I probably wouldn’t know most of you reading, and frankly, wouldn’t be having nearly as much fun in life right now.

My love for this group has followed me to 35 shows in eight states and two countries in a shade under four (!?) years. I’ve made countless, lasting friendships, a few girlfriends, and some remarkable acquaintances. I’ve found myself in places on the map that I’ve had no business being in. All the better. I’ll quit with the qualifying statements there, because there’s the music to write about.

I’ve never been a ‘lyrics guy’, don’t drink and have never done drugs. I’m engrossed in more of an overall sound, and that makes The Hold Steady a very odd choice for a favorite band.

I can’t quite pinpoint it. Maybe it’s the riffs. Maybe it’s Craig Finn’s wordplay. Maybe it’s the sing-a-long choruses. Maybe it’s the fact that every time I hear these songs live, there’s the guarantee that there’ll be a moment where it all boils over. It’s feeling completely in tune with the music and the people around you experiencing something so overwhelming and awesome that you can’t put into words, but you know when it’s happening.

Regardless, The Hold Steady aren’t just a band to me. They’re my heartbeat.

Storms – Fleetwood Mac (October 29, 2006)

I’m an idiot. Until two weeks ago, I thought this song was sung by Christine McVie. Definitely not. I had this phase for about a week my junior year of college while living at the University Center in Chicago where I was really into Tusk. Not surprisingly, this is really the only jam from that coke-rock masterpiece that’s stuck long term. Totally beautiful melody.

The Magic Position – Patrick Wolf (February 23, 2007)

I’m almost embarrassed to have a song this dopey to remember such a profound turning point. However, it’s REALLY GOOD. I often forget it came out only a few years ago because the melody has been floating out in the cosmos forever. While I’m sure this is probably some over-the-top song about boning, it’s the farthest thing from what it reminds me of.

In the Spring of 2007, I was a junior in college. I’d made a really stupid decision changing my major from Journalism to Interactive Arts and Media (I corrected this nearly a year later), had very few close friends in my building, and was generally, well, bored.

Around this time period, I was introduced to a friend of a friend I’d met while visiting with a classmate in another building. It was apparent that we’d hit it off, so I we decided to meet up at the dingy, disgusting South Loop Club and hang out.

My new friend – a few years older than me – immediately took me to task for not drinking. That’s fine, because I’d made my mind up long ago about how I’d felt about that. It wasn’t my thing. But there was something else I drew from the conversation. She drove the point home that I was more or less denying myself certain experiences and not really getting the most out of my life. This may sound like an attack on my person, but it didn’t feel like that. Quite the opposite.

She was right. I think that was the night where I stopped being totally naive to the world around me. I was a really lucky guy from a good family and I had a good group of friends that cared about me. Most importantly, I had something entirely valuable: time.

The opportunity to do something was there, and I just wasn’t taking it. I had to do something about it. Almost immediately, I started making decisions on the fly. It’s that impatience that’s gotten me to travel. It’s why I’ve followed the same band around the country and into Canada. I don’t want any regrets. Now is the time to milk every free moment I have.

Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show (September 17-22, 2008)

There’s a certain level of insularity in upstate New York – very hard to believe that this is the same state that harbors the world’s grandest city. It’s quaint, very quiet and completely beautiful.

“Wagon Wheel” is the adventure to the small college town of Potsdam. It’s the homemade sound that defined the thirteen-hour-train, plus three-hour-car ride that I endured to see my friend Kim. It’s all of the sleepless and breathless moments that followed. It’s the drive to Montreal the Saturday I first left American soil. It’s the anxiety and culture shock of being in a province that didn’t speak English and left me not knowing how to order a ham sandwich for lunch. The overwhelming disbelief I felt as I watched one of my favorite musicians play this song on Kim’s dorm room bed with a ukelele (mind you – an instrument he allegedly didn’t know how to play). It’s Emilyn Brodsky spitting out olive pits and then doing the worm on them. It’s the bookstore built into a barn. It’s the diminutiveness of the town that felt like a warm blanket. I may have been far, but I’ve never felt so at home.

July 4, 2004 – Jason Anderson (December 3, 2008 – Winter 2009 & February 6, 2010)

It’s me falling in love with Kim, deconstructing the notion that I’d ever fall in love with a girl so hopelessly again after my first, soul crushing heartbreak when I turned 20. It’s the early days in her apartment, following the patterns of her children’s IKEA moose blanket, huddling under any extra cloth we had to keep warm when the heat was off. She was exciting, entirely different than anyone I’d ever met before. I was amazed.

It’s also the song that reminds me of our final goodbye, at the Megabus station outside the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Crystalized in my memory; she stood in the parking lot to wave me off, texting me the numbers ‘7404′ as I sat looking out the window, alone, clawing at every shred to keep it together in front of a group of strangers. Even at the end, it reminds you there’s always another beginning.

Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) – Bruce Springsteen (June 10, 2009)

The intensity of Bruce Springsteen’s early material relieves me of my inhibitions the way that alcohol does for the rest of you. There’s something about those songs – especially rollicking numbers like Rosalita – starting off feeling a little a buzz – but as they sashay and shimmy, you’re powerless to not follow suit.

This song does everything right. The brave, earnest vocal, petrol-powered horns, venereal bass, the handclap breakdown, and Clarence Clemons’s sax up front, kicking everyone in the nuts before the troops roll in. Words only go so far to explain. To understand the true power of this song, watch this video. Over and over.

Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill – Hüsker Dü (February 3, 2010)

Dear you,

You’re taking the blame why i can’t comfortably listen to this band. Especially after I heard your stories – those ones, awkward and ugly, half-truths and not entirely put together.

I really don’t think about you all that often (or as much as you’d like to think I do), but as I sit here and write these stories, I can’t help but think about what’s going through your head if you’re reading them. I’d imagine you’ll probably smirk and scoff at the poor word choices and roll your eyes at the (sometimes) trite descriptions. Maybe you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt on the stronger ones. I’m not counting on that, though.

Also, I imagine you’ll think about how in love you were with your own writing, which more or less is hazy, melodramatic teenage wordplay that looks pretty – if you’re seventeen.

I hope you’re happy. I mean that. You have every right to be, I guess. I pray for the next person who goes through the Play-Doh mold with you. They’ve got their work cut out for them.

Oh, and one more thing. “The one whose heart I broke”? Darling, you didn’t break my heart. You just pushed too hard for me to care anymore.


It’s All Gonna Break – Broken Social Scene (March 2, 2010)

Since this project began, I knew I wanted to include this song. I’ve played it countless times since I started writing and I don’t know what to say other than it’s a life cycle. There’s an ebb and flow that gets the blood pumping.

Its ability to move from being tense and meditative to carnal and urgent, while repeating the miserable phrase, “Why are you always fucking up?” is arresting. (A note to singer Kevin Drew: I know what you mean. I ask myself that quite often.)

One recent evening during a long walk home through Lakeview, I put in my earbuds and blasted this song. For those ten minutes, we were fused together. I felt those shifts. They were as incongruent as I am. At nine minutes, they reached euphoric heights. Those horns – monolithic and walloping, overwhelmed my head and heart. It was cathartic. After that, anything feels possible.

It really is.