My friend Ally is really into indie folk music. We have characterized her music taste as "angry but emotional boy with guitar." She likes bringing me to concerts in the city even though most of the time I don't know the person who is playing.
This past Tuesday, for example, we saw this kid named Briston Maroney at a small venue in SoHo. Briston Maroney is a 21-year-old guitarist with long blond hair, a lot of pent up anger, and a troubled past. Part of why I enjoyed the concert so much was because of his lyrics, which are so full of color, life, and pain. You can tell that he's really lived, even though he hasn't been alive that long.
His lyrics apply to everything you're going through at that moment but at the same time apply to nothing at all; they're both concrete and abstract in all the right ways. They are simple but complex, knowing but mysterious, and make you question whether he was sitting in your living room listening to you rant to your best friend because every word is exactly what you need to hear. Suddenly, struck by the beauty of and truth to one of the songs called "Rose", I found myself in tears. Ally laughed.
All of the lyrics accurately sum up what it means to be young, to "never know what I'm feeling now". They all give off the impression that when we are young we are stuck, either with where we are or who we are with, or, rather, where we aren't and who we aren't with. Youth is about change, about getting out and going where we think we need or being who we think we should. It's not always fun; growing up means saying goodbye to people and places, of going "back to your gardens in Brooklyn" even though "I'm missing you here." Growing up means knowing people, "more than you could ever hope I would", and then all the sudden pretending you don't know them when you see them "from a distance". When you're young everything kind of sneaks up on you. First, you're meeting a friend at a college baseball game and next, you're talking "just like we will when we are old." And although "change is hard", "it will take you far" and even with "a cloud that hangs over our heads", "someday soon the sun will shine."
Here are some of my favorite lyrics:
Fear is just a part of love
and one thing I found
is love's what you deserve.
-Freakin' out on the interstate
Change is hard
but it's gonna take you far
pick up your guitar
and tell me why you're so frustrated
There's a light inside my car that won't turn off
no matter how hard I shut both the doors.
Ain't it funny how we just can't seem to shake
all the people we don't want to be no more.
Met an old friend at a college baseball game
And we talked just like we will when we are old
Someday soon the sun will shine
but until then I'll take my place in line
And tell me now
what your heart believes is true
and leave me behind
if that's what you need to do
And who knows where I'll go
I'll stick around this town
You'll be the big star
and have it figured out
I know I'll always need your love around
And when you go back
to your gardens in Brooklyn
I hope you know
that I'm missing you here
Oh it builds me up,
And it tears me down
to never know
what I'm feeling now
-I've been waiting
You cannot lie
Not what I expected to see
You shake at every simple question
I know you more than you could
ever hope I would
So take me up the stairs
saw you from a distance
With a cigarette
swore that you would quit
and what's this?
a cloud that hangs over our heads