Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a moment's not something you keep...

So i'm taking a break from listening to Ghostface Killah and doing data entry at my temp job to interrupt my year end countdown and write some thoughts down on the newest song from Greensboro's own Giant, or as I understand they are now called Oh Brave Young because some 80's band with the same name threatened to sue them. But I think I might be wrong about this, will someone please clarify this for me?

A few weeks ago, these fellas posted a new sixteen minute song they recorded to their myspace account. The song, called "The Days That Sat In Front Of Everything," can be heard here. From what I understand, this track is one of several new songs that are thematically arranged around the concept of growing older, and aging. As the title indicates, this song comes off as a sort of funeral dirge to youth, innocence, days where there wasn't much else to do but ride your skateboard around all day and break into pools at night, or whatever sort of punk rock activities one can find themselves engaged in. It comes with a great sense of perspective, of staring deeply into the past and searching for meaning, context, and inspiration to a life now lived in limbo, where one has to face adult challenges of every day life, ie jobs, money, school, and the ever constant threat to those involved in DIY punk of becoming jaded and giving up hope. I don't know if it's what these guys were thinking when they wrote this, but it's what comes to my mind when I listen to this.

People have criticized this song and other new ones like it for being too long and building up without ever culminating or reaching a climax, leaving you hanging and waiting for a moment that won't come. I was beginning to agree with a friend of mine who was relaying this thought to me when I suddenly realized, maybe that's the entire point of this song!

The track spends sixteen minutes floating through ethereal space, eventually locking into a groove of sorts about 12 minutes into it. With my pre-conceived expectations of what post-rock bands such as Envy, Explosions In The Sky, Mogwai, etc. all do, you're usually waiting for some kind of explosion that is supposed to melt your face off. With this song, you get that explosion, but it only seems to last about 30 seconds, and upon first listen I was left wanting and expecting more of a climax until suddenly, the song ends before it seems appropriate. You can't spend sixteen minutes building up to a point that only lasts 30 seconds, right! I kind of felt cheated. But then I realized that, Giant had ingeniously tricked me. It was this truncated ending that left me coming back for more, and more, and more, until I realized I had listened to the song about 10 times in a week, which is a lot for a sixteen minute track. The listener is left wondering what's next, what would have come afterward, why they stopped before it seems like they were finished...and then I thought, these thoughts are similar to the patterns that seem to have flooded my mind over the last two years as I contemplate becoming an adult, aging, getting older, facing real life decisions and real life consequences.

The song seems to build up to something that will never come, much like many people spend their lives waiting for some enlightenment that will also never come. The fact that I even expected there to be some grand culmination is perhaps a reflection of the typical western viewpoint that our means our irrelevant as long as we can achieve some satisfying form of ends, of results. After asking myself why I was continuously drawn back to listening to this song, I realized that, the appeal is in the journey this band takes to get to the end point. The goal is the process, just like it should be for a life well lived. And once they do get there for a brief, fleeting moment of crashing cymbals and crushing guitars, it;s over before you know it even hit you. Much life the more perfect moments in your life. Gone before you can even appreciate them, most of the time. These are all things that I've been thinking about as I get older, and having a song like this has given me a piece of art onto which I can transfer this energy and process these emotions. Isn't that exactly what great art is supposed to do?

I don't know of what their intentions were, but this song has done a lot for me in the last few weeks, and has come along at a pretty appropriate time in my life. They are really nice guys, and a fantastic band, whose dedication and professionalism not only to their art but to their hometown of Greensboro, is impressive and something to admire. I highly suggest you check these guys out if you haven't already!!

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