Friday, November 06, 2009

Useful Desires

Been pretty unmotivated about hearing new music lately. It's such a chore. This year, I've been paying attention to mostly major releases. Very good stuff from Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Bill Callahan, The Dirty Projectors, David Bazan, Kings of Convenience. Instead, I've been revisiting music I used to love years ago. The wonderful thing about some songs is that they are acutely tied to memories. Mostly good, for me. College days with so much free time to do crafts, walk around the neighborhood, stay up late and watch movies, and go camping with roommates and friends. Not that I can't ever do those activities again, but I'll never be able to go back to that special time. One song that we really loved was Patty Griffin's "Useless Desires." In fact, Patty lived a block away from our Duval house at the time. We would sometimes walk by her little green house off 45th, trying to catch her standing at an open window or working in her yard. (We never saw her.) KK, who probably loved her music the most, even once peeked inside her parked car to see what stuff was in there. And one year, we were dressing up for a friend's "100" birthday party- which meant you had to wear 100 of an item. Erin had spent the last few weeks collecting beer bottle labels from her job at the Cactus and on our way out of the house, red-headed Patty Griffin walked by and complimented Erin on her impressive get-up. I have no idea what she is up to now, and she also has moved from Hyde Park.
The lyrics to this song are so, so sad. I think I have a sick inclination of deeply enjoying very sad and depressing songs. It must be really entertaining to me, since my life isn't really sad at all. I used to say that the most beautiful things in the world are sad. Not so sure how true that is, but I would say that the hopelessness in the lyrics couples with the lovely guitar melodies very well. It could also serve as a soundtrack to your pity party of one when you are feeling particularly lonely.

Play the song on Rhapsody

Say goodbye to the old street that never cared much for you anyway
And the different colored doorways you thought would let you in one day
Goodbye to the old bus stop frozen and waiting
The weekend addition has this town over-rated
You walk across the baseball green
The grass has turned to straw
A flock of birds tries to fly away from where you are
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye old friend
I can't make you stay
I can't spend another ten years wishing you would anyway

How the sky turns to fire
Against the telephone wire
And even I'm getting tired of useless desires

Everyday I take a bitter pill
It gets me on my way
For the little aches and pains
The ones I have from day to day
To help me think a little less about the things I miss
To help me not to wonder how I ended up like this
Walk down to the railroad track and ride a rusty train
With a million other faces I shoot through the city veins
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye old friend
You wanted to be free
And somewhere beyond the bitter end is where I wanna be

How the sky turns to fire
Against the telephone wire
And even I'm getting tired of useless desires

Say goodbye to the old building that never tried to know your name
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye old friend
You won't be seeing me again
Goodbye to all the window panes shining in the sun
Like diamonds on a winter day
Goodbye, goodbye to everyone

How the sky turns to fire
Against the telephone wire
It burns the last of the day down
And I'm the last one hanging around waiting
On a train track and the train never comes back
And even I'm getting tired of useless desires

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