My original intention for this blog was to to talk about my love of music, my family, and my family's love of music. My path has veered, so here is my correction. This one was tough one to write. A heavier subject only aided by music and having the happy ending we all wanted.
To be clear from the get-go, this is NOT about how a song "saved" me or my family or anyone in my family. This is about how words and music can help change a perspectve, lift a spirit, give you a needed boost if not for a few days, a few hours.
In February of 2011 my wife and I were lucky enough to be blessed with a baby boy. Despite troubles that started early in the preganncy, he is great, healthy and one of three people that make everything I do worth it, tenfold.
Rewinding some: October 2010 was a rough month. I think I purchased Bon Iver's album "For Emma, Forever Ago" in early 2009, so I had already embraced most of the tracks and developed an unhealthy love for Mr. Vernon's voice. At that time, I just enjoyed the music and wasn't really focused on lyrics and meaning (which I think is really the way music should be consumed). That month we learned far too much about far too many things that no one but a medicial professional should feel compelled to know and researched many topics looking for answers we did not want. Guessing, agonizing, confused, helpless. One of the few moments in my life I have experienced despair and surreality.
It was on one of those research nights that I was playing this album. Many tracks talked to me. I know this is common; music hits different people, at different times, at different stages of life. While many tracks resonated with me, like "Blindsided" (which I was), "For Emma" and "Wisconsin" (probably the best bonus track I have ever heard on any album, ever (I will take that challenge)), none hit me the way "Re: Stacks" did.
Catchy, certainly. Overplayed, possibly. Near perfect, yes.
The music itself was cathartic. Sounds lame, but it was slightly healing.....actually..... looking back, no, it really wasn't, but it made me feel better and matched what I was feeling at that time. Setting aside any other purported song meaning, to me it seemed to be, in part, about putting so much love and energy into something, investmenting emotionally and physcially, and suffering a great crushing blow despite everything. For us, that crushing blow was the very real probability (not possibility) that our baby boy would not make it full term, and if he did, he likely would not survive long thereafter. While this certainly lyrically emotional song gives you (gave me) that calm, sad yet serene feeling, it also gives you (gave me) a point of strenght. While we (my wife and I) were faced with tough questions and put in unthinkable situations, we pushed through (we had to).
The other part of the song seems to be about the other side of the emotional investment (i.e. what the Stacks of chips are being waged on). It was the last verse of the song that stuck with me the most on this point. It didn't give me the answers or even attempt to try, but it gave me a bump; that things are going to happen in life, things that range from fucking awesome to puke-your-brains-out shit bad. It let me take a deep (deep as hell) breath, and say that regardless of what happens, I will protect him, them, my family, and keep them safe from as much as I possibly can.
Here is that final verse. Its bold and hits hard:
"This is not the song of a new man
or a crispy realization.
Its the song of the unlocking and lift away
your love will be safe with me."
Well, I put it out there. Feeling a bit more on track, despite the depth of this post. Promising, for now, that other posts won't be as hard to write or read.........join me next time where I promise to keep my promise from my last "join me next time" statement.