Song for the Moment: Trusty and True by Damien Rice

Our relationship with music is an intimate thing. I don't have much connection to classical music. I don't like country and I despise most top-40 pop music. I like songs with interesting lyrics and with rhythm, melodies, and movements that are unusual. I like a lot of different songs, but at the same time I'm fairly picky about what I like. And to find songs that I love requires a perfect meshing of lyrics, sound, and the emotional temperament of my life at the moment. 

I think this has been true since I was 14 or 15 and just becoming enthralled with alternative music. The music I was discovering then—Alphaville and Depeche Mode and Erasure, Xymox and The Church and Dead Can Dance, The Smiths and Bauhaus and The Cure—became so deeply embedded with my sense of self as to be inseparable. One of the music experiences I loved the most was finding lyrics that captured exactly what I was feeling, or explained in lovely worlds something I knew but didn't understand, or made me feel better about a thing that was hurting. 

At a certain point, this stopped happening so often. Partly because I discovered that poetry does the same thing, quite often. And because I grew up and started to know my identity better, and learned that it is based on many things, not only music. 

But I still love that experience: finding a song that resonates in an intimate way with something important in my life right now. It doesn't happen every day anymore, like it did when I was a teenager dressed all in black, sitting in front of my stereo as if it were an alter. But the rarity makes the experience mean that much more now, when it does happen.

Which makes me wonder why I haven't blogged about it. About songs that are influencing me right now. So I'm starting tonight with a song I only paid half-attention to, until I found myself driving and weeping and then thinking, wait, what made me cry? and then realizing oh, this song did.

The Song: "Trusty and True"

The Musician: Damien Rice

The Album: My Favourite Faded Fantasy

This song is about living with regret. About being kind to yourself as you live with regret, even. And about taking a deep breath and moving forward anyway.

And oh my, is this the center of my life right now. I find myself looking back at the choices I made as a parent and doubting so many things. Not sure how I could have done things differently, because if I pick a single decision, it is connected to so many other decisions and everything gets traced back to so many early, primal, life-changing choices that, if I question, make me doubt my entire adult life. There is only so much picking one can do over twenty years' worth of decisions before extreme heartsoreness kicks in.

So I was driving, home from the hospital in Salt Lake where my mom was recuperating from her surgery, and I had my phone plugged into the car's audio. I was driving and just thinking, in that easy way that driving by yourself brings on, and sort-of singing along to a song I only-sort-of knew.

Until I was crying.

So I restarted the song (aren't steering-wheel audio controls the best invention?) and really listened:

"We can't take back what is done, what is past, so let us start from here."

That was good. That was such a tidy summation of something someone needed to tell me. That I needed to hear someone else say so that I could say it to myself. But then the song got to the part that brought on those tears.  The song isn't built in a traditional way, with verses and a chorus. Instead the verses build up to the last stanza (I know, that's a poetry term, but I can't think of a better way to explain it), which is a sort of plea to someone who is "not all you desire," and then it asks that person to come along:

come with fears, come with love,
come however you are 
come with fear, come with love
Come however you are
Just come, come alone
Come with friends, come with foes
Come however you are
Just come, come alone
Come with me, then let go
Come however you are
Just come, come alone
Come so carefully closed
Come however you are
Just come…
Come, come along
Come with sorrows and songs
Come however you are
Just come, come along
Come, let yourself be wrong
Come however you are
Just come…

I don't know where that place is. The place I could go to where I could be wrong and sorrowing and yes, very carefully closed. However I am. Probably nowhere. But it brought me, in that moment, such solace to be invited.
Now I can't stop listening to this song because it makes me feel peaceful. Not repaired. Not even bandaged. But just...comforted. Because I can't change what is past, even if I knew how, because when would I stop undoing? stop remaking? If I went backward to find where it changed and went wrong, I'm not sure I could find it, ever. So all I can do is move forward, trying to make better choices for the place I find myself in.
What song are you loving right now?