We are presently preparing to leave the apartment we called home for two years and the city we called home for three. This means we have to clean the apartment, erase the stains we have made on the tiles, and generally remove all evidence we have been here. Then we will live in our own feigned absence, showing the home to other people as the date of our departure draws near and nearer. I would be less Plath about this if it weren't for the fact I don't know where we'll live next -- I know where we will likely stay next, as we stop briefly to visit our parents, but I do not know where we will come to live or what we will do there.
If you are in this same position or one like it -- and I am sure that many students read this blog, so there are decent odds you are -- here are two albums you can listen to while you clean, depending on how you feel or want to feel about what what you are doing, what is happening to you.
Fleet Foxes : Helplessness Blues
You should listen to this album while you throw away old student papers and workshop notes from colleagues (perhaps preserving a few favorites). Listen to this album if you feel or want to feel a sort of hard-won optimism, the sort of confidence that things will be basically fine that comes from knowing how very wrong they could have been. You are young, you are talented, you are bright. People say that you will go places. You will not disappoint them.
Listen to this album if you have detractors: if you have not always believed in yourself, but you mean to commit to it now. Listen to this album if you are only capable of real happiness in the knowledge of sadness. Listen to this album if you want to hear gorgeously rendered, perfectly produced music from another time and place you personally cannot name, though you are sure there is a name. This is not a blues record. It is a beautiful record. Its singer sings about the honest, earnest desire to be a cog in some fine, large machine, and maybe you are hoping for the same. Maybe you would like to be a cog somewhere too.
Son Lux : We Are Rising
You should listen to this album while you mop the floor. Your wife mixed ammonia and vinegar with water in a bucket because she read that was what the cleaning ladies do. You are on your knees because when I say mop I mean you will use a blue rag. You are on your knees because it feels good to be close to the ground. If it feels good to be close to the ground this is your album. Listen to this album if you want to remember the things you are not done remembering. Listen to it if you do not believe your singing voice is beautiful.
Listen to this album if you most want to dance when you are very happy or very sad. If you are not sure that life will be what you want it to be, but if you want to learn to accept your own unimportance, then listen to this album. Listen to this album if you want immaculately prepared, awkward, strange, composed, painful music. Listen to it if you like to see strange shapes in your iTunes visualizer. Listen to it if you are in a battle with shame. Listen to it if you want the high and low ends of your ears tickled. Listen to it if you will soon no longer live in the same place as any of your friends. Listen to it if these people are your only friends -- if your side at the wedding was practically empty, if you wish it had been full.
Listen to these albums. Whyever, however, whenever. Our emotions are excuses for the things we always already wanted. We will feel what we are called on to feel.