Close your eyes to corral a virtue

There is nothing like moving to take you back in time one or two decades. Daughter #1 has a tradition of watching old DVDs of The O.C. before the internet connects; DN and I end putting the iPod on “Shuffle All” while we unpack boxes. Such non-streaming media inevitably originates in an older era — cue nostalgia!

At one point this weekend after a song by The Shins came on shuffle, I decided to listen to the full albums that I know, from 2003 and 2007. Now for me, those years are squarely in the ripest age range for reminiscing — 13 to 17! This was a time in our family when the boy would make mix CDs, we all did a lot of driving to and from school, taking road trips to visit colleges, and what have you. It was also high school, so you know — feelings. The Shins were a favorite.

I enjoyed listening to Chutes Too Narrow (2003) and Phantom Limb (2007) a lot and figured I’d blog about them. But when I went to look up some lyrics to find a good title for the post, I was shocked to realize they were all terribly dark!

You can fake it for a while
Bite your tongue and smile
Like every mother does her ugly child
But the stars are leaking out,
Like spittle from a cloud,
Amassed resentment pelting ounce and pound.

Since I don’t have the time nor mind to figure out
The nursery rhymes that helped us out in making sense of our lives
The cruel uneventful state of apathy releases me
I value them but I won’t cry every time one’s wiped out

Close your eyes to corral a virtue
Is this fooling anyone else?
Never worked so long and hard
To cement a failure
Still to come
The worst part and you know it
There is a numbness
In your heart and it’s growing

Only the last song sounds sad, right? What I remembered was the sound of The Shins and not the content, I suppose. As a person who can’t hear well, lyrics are not something I naturally notice and absorb — unlike DN, who seems to pick up words immediately and cares deeply about them in songs. I always have to look up song lyrics if I want to know them. (Or if it’s a radio hit and the words are “booty” and “dance floor” over and over again.) Well, lesson learned! The Shins are dark.

I did remember one verse of “Phantom Limb,” since one of my best friends used them as her “Senior Last Words.”

And we’ll no longer memorize or rhyme
Too far along in our crime
Stepping over what now towers to the sky

I laughed out loud when I looked up the full song this morning. It’s literally about high school. The line prior to her chosen excerpt is “This town seems hardly worth our time.” Pretty on the nose, eh? I can’t remember exactly which Bob Dylan lyrics I chose for mine, but they were probably pretty on the nose, too.