I went emo at first, just to be sure I really scraped the meaty depths of my soul. Holding onto the handle of the J train I stared mysteriously out into a foggy San Francisco morning, playing Radiohead’s Weird Fishes over and over again. I avoided other songs – returning to the same sad refrain, proudly wondering how down-trodden I looked to other passengers who sat, neck-bent over Candy Crush.
I hit the repeat button that literally no one uses unless you’re depressed and you want to fill your head with the same sad melody, looking through Reddit for a loose interpretation of Weird Fishes. One commenter wrote “Weird Fishes –> Feared Wishes” to much Reddit fanfare; another argued the closing lyric of the song alluded to suicide. No one was really sure – summed up best by a popular user, amishuis: “if you want Radiohead songs to be ABOUT things, you’re gonna have a bad time.”
I moved on, needing sturdier ground to stand on, turning to the closing song of High Maintenance Season 3. Never would I describe myself as a fan of 1980’s goth pop, but Do Your Best by John Maus evokes some greater need – a desire to connect on the most basic human level. The swelling in my chest lasted about a day, but the lyric, “someone’s alone…in the city… tonight” which gets repeated over and over again, felt a little too perfect, like someone whispering in my ear.
DOPE LEMON’S Marinade was a no brainer. Straight from the source of all this moping about, the lyrics are wonderfully intelligible: “she used to draw rainbow faces in the sand, but the rainbow made the face sad,” a truly lovely thing when rationality feels offensive. Buzzed and singing out of the side of his mouth, Marinade belongs inside a jukebox discovered on a drunken, unforgettable night – recalled in the ugly light of day, over and over again.
So that’s where I stayed, for awhile, shifting through this make-shift playlist like said jukebox if it was stripped down to just a few buttons, and then a new moment appeared, one that I wasn’t really prepared for – silence. A dead battery left me defenseless, up against the void. So I started writing about music, hoping it would conjure up the same magical spell of being able to put words to something that feels truly wordless.