6 March, 2007, 644 am
Filed under: Music

Neon Bible is tomorrow. I want to read the novel that the title is based on. I can’t concentrate. I don’t have money to buy it, and I won’t be able to buy it tomorrow, but I want to. I know it’s already leaked. And I don’t care. I’m going to buy it.

I feel the way about the Arcade Fire as Ashleigh from “Miss Misery” does about Brand New.

“But when Brand New came on I stopped worrying about what anyone else was thinking and just felt the music. It started in my ears but, like, MELTED into my sternum, into my waist, until I could feel every chorus in the bottom of my feet. …I’ve listened to their albums approximately 1000 times in the last few months alone, but I felt like I was hearing every lyric, every note like it was – oh god bad pun – brand new.”

And then there’s the way she describes Jimmy Eat World, and David Gould’s realization about the song Ashleigh had him listen to.

“They’re a lot better than OK.”

“And why is that?”

“Because they, like, get it. You know? There aren’t that many bands that do.”

I thought about that for a while, about the bands I loved and whether I would ever give “getting it” as a reason for allowing their songs to jam themselves in my head as the soundtrack for my increasingly convoluted life. I didn’t think that I would. I tended to let my life dictate my music, not the other way around. And ever since I had started writing about records professionally, I tended to listen exclusively to new releases. Despite the giant bookshelves of CDs in my apartment, the only ones that had gotten play in the last few desperate months had been recent discoveries, advance copies, and pirated downloads. I craved the freshness more than the message. The songs I had on my iPod kept me company, but they didn’t keep me going.

“Here.” Ashleigh lifted her headphones over my head like she was knighting me. “See what you think.”

…Then the chorus hit me like a brass-knuckled punch to the heart, and my throat went dry and I closed my eyes. It was technicolor and it was big and it was shameless. …I had to get outside of myself to really hear it, really hear it.

…”Did you like it?”

“I liked it,” I said. “You were right. They get it.”

Ashleigh grinned. “I told you.”

“Yeah, I just didn’t listen.”

Really, I’m telling you to read that book. Not only does it have mounds of indie and emo references, but it’s a lesson well learned, not overdone, captivating, young…And it wrenched your heart at the end when David has to choose between, well, Cath, Miss Misery, and Amy. I wish there was more. I wish I could know more about Amy. Andy Greenwald did good, though, in literary ways, anyway, in leaving so much mystery and ending the book in such a manner.

But that wasn’t my point. When someone asks me about the music I listen to, the first thing that pours out of my mouth is something to do with the Arcade Fire. And when it does come out, a look of unfamiliarity crawls slowly over most people’s faces, and it’s a bittersweet feeling. I have the secret all to myself, and if they start listening, then I changed their lives. I feel satisfaction at not blending in with my school’s mainstream. And I feel pride in loving such an indisputably excellent band. What’s not fair is that they’re inaccessible, and some people’s eyes haven’t been opened. It frustrates me when people don’t see the brilliance put into making their music. The painstaking. The variety. The lyrics. For me, the Arcade Fire is an experience. And maybe you have to adapt a little, because they’re new (or at least a little New Wave). But if you adjust enough, you will know, and you’ll feel that pride when you can sing along with the mourning that is “Funeral” (even though it’s relatively cheery).  (BASS PLAYER LOOKS MORE LIKE NAPOLEON DYNAMITE EVERY DAY)

And so, like Ashleigh does at the Brand New show, every time I hear an Arcade Fire chanson building up, my own adrenaline builds, and new tears form in my eyes, and I don’t know if it’s of Win’s frustration, or joy at the hopeful tone of the song, or just a feeling of impending doom, but these tears won’t pour out. And I can’t stop tapping and it takes a lot to restrain myself from humming along. They’re brilliant masterpieces, and I can’t convey it, and I want everyone to hear, because I’m so proud for them.

This kind of leads me to talk about the bones of Jesus and of his family.  I’m going to be honest.  Maybe this whole situation has made me more open-minded than I would have supposed I am, to the point of being on the verge of agnosticism.  This means that I’m all ears.  I’m not going to argue whether or not they really are his bones.  Statistics show that there’s only one chance in many that they aren’t his family’s bones.  I do not think that Christians should be involved in uncovering this mystery, because they’re so damn biased, and they don’t want the roots of their religion to be dug up because it’s such a lucrative and widespread religion.  If they come down to be his bones, then we’re all fucked.  And my religious equilibrium will be seriously fucked.  It’s starting to get fucked now, actually.

See, if this is the truth, if they can prove it, then to me, that means that all religion is folklore.  Someone once brought up the point to me that suppose the Bible is one great story that someone actually took seriously, created a fanbase around, and then started a great religious following around it?  Suppose it wasn’t meant to be like this.  Well, supposing this is true, that’s what all religions are to me.  And maybe other Catholics and Christians will accuse me of being one of those “doubters,” such a scornful word, but at least then I won’t be tied down by lies created by a fanatical fanbase.

And it’s really horrible that I’m afraid of freaking out people because of my hunger for answers because I think they will think I’m the Catholic Avenger ready to swoop down on them and bat them with the New Testament.  I’m not the Catholic Avenger.  I’m not fanatical, and I should probably be ashamed rather than relieved.

Anyhow, this sounds like I’m on the verge of atheism.  Au contraire, I am one of those people who lives in fear.  Fear of death.  Fear of letting go.  Fear of life after death.  I want there to be something for me after life, where I can see everyone I loved.  I want that…so badly.  It’s a painful yearning that constricts me.  It’s depressing to think that maybe this existence is heaven.  That maybe living under the authority of others, being anxious, maybe it’s all just the gift of life, and maybe there is no reward for getting through to the end of the maze.  Maybe there isn’t anything after this.  And that idea is awfully depressing.

I’ll never know.  While you’re alive, you’ll never know.  But suicides (I’m speaking rather pointedly to Elliott Smith, unless it was murder as is speculated by some hardcore followers) would be in vain, and all my pre-established possible beliefs in reincarnation would crumble.  And existence would be pointless.   But the meaning in my life, I suppose, is to get over anxiety and fear.

By the way, Win Butler got a haircut and, thanks to Erika, I now know that Conor Oberst didn’t, which gives him an eerie resemblance to Win Butler.  It’s a look that I guess works on Win but doesn’t on Conor.


4 Comments so far
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“I am one of those people who lives in fear. Fear of death. Fear of letting go. Fear of life after death. I want there to be something for me after life, where I can see everyone I loved. I want that…so badly. It’s a painful yearning that constricts me. It’s depressing to think that maybe this existence is heaven.”

The good news is this isn’t it. The bad news is you’re so afraid that you stop yourself from enjoying the good here.

While you do think a lot (you’re an intellectual) the most incredible thing about God/Jesus/The Bible is that even a child can understand it.

It doesn’t mean we’re idiots or not capable of thinking on a higher plane, it simply means we stopped wrestling with all the “how’s” and “why’s” and put our trust in the Highest Power in existence. God. The Creator. Jesus. The Sacrifice. The Holy Spirit. God’s presence in this earth.

If you really want to know, let the words of John 1 wash over your mind. Pull them apart. Analyze them. It will tilt your intellectual brain and stretch your imagination. Check it out. It has the power to silence the confusion and stop the pain.

Keep on!

Comment by augustrose

Actually, I am in the same boat as you as far as the third to last paragraph goes. What if we’re all believeing a lie? I guess that’s where the whole “You gotta have faith” thing comes in, I guess


Comment by Laura

ohhhhhhhhhhh my god, that is a CRAZY LOOKING BASS.

i can see what you’re saying about the story thing. because there’s so many stories in my religion that there is NO WAY they’re true, they’re just meant metaphorically, but some people actually think they are meant to be taken word for word. don’t get me wrong, they are good stories and i love them, but the only thing meant to be taken literally in those is the MORALS. i think in the end, that’s all religion really is— morals and rules for people to follow to be “good” people, so that we aren’t totally messed up for whatever it is that happens after death.

if you need more philosophical/theological discussion, just call or email or something.

Comment by divya


Comment by Andy

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