18.3.13

A little goodbye to sweet Jason Molina

Jason Molina from Songs: Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co. died over the weekend. I didn't know his music all that well, but the album Magnolia Electric Co. came out just before I moved to Los Angeles and I reviewed it for a magazine and fell deep in love with "Farewell Transmission." Along with Elephant by the White Stripes, that song was my leaving-Boston-for-L.A. soundtrack; I'm sure I played it a thousand times while driving home along the Mass Pike, from my office on the Charles River to my parents' house where I was living for the summer. Massachusetts in summer is so hot and green and when I hear "Farewell Transmission" now I can feel the nasty/perfect July air exactly as it felt in my little red Honda with no air conditioning in the summer of 2003. It feels good and it makes me sad.

Moving to Los Angeles is possibly the bravest thing I've ever done in my life but at the time I had almost no fear about it: I just knew it was going to be really good. But even though I wasn't scared I was heartbroken to leave behind everyone I loved. Listening to "Farewell Transmission" intensified the heartbreak, but the lyric "I will be gone but not forever" made it all right. That's my second favorite line from the song, and my first favorite is the part that goes:



"The real truth about is, no one gets it right/The real truth about is, we're all supposed to try" 

I like music because you can use it to turn all the little things you feel into something big and important and beautiful in an incorruptible sort of way. One of my favorite kinds of music is the kind that pulls off earnestness with zero fear of coming off all hokey and sentimental; it's just totally unembarrassed about its big messy heart. I woke up in a rotten mood this morning and then I read about Jason Molina and then I listened to "Farewell Transmission" for the first time in maybe five years and it felt good and made me sad all over again. So I just wanted to say thank you to Jason Molina here, for being sweet and earnest and so completely brave. Here's that beautiful song:




xo Liz

6 comments:

  1. "I like music because you can use it to turn all the little things you feel into something big and important and beautiful in an incorruptible sort of way. One of my favorite kinds of music is the kind that pulls off earnestness with zero fear of coming off all hokey and sentimental; it's just totally unembarrassed about its big messy heart."

    I'm not familiar with Jason Molina's music, but hoo boy do I understand this nowadays. I used to... not run screaming from unembarrassed music like this, but I definitely preferred the songs that couched their emotional content in a few well-worn clichés: "I love my mom," "I love my hood," "I love my girl, but I'm only saying this because I want to marry her and I'm no longer allowed to say how attracted I am to anyone else." Those are safe ways to express things, right? I kept myself to that stuff as a teenager because going further was emotionally risky.

    But I get this now, and it's Frank Ocean that made me realize that I grew out of that silliness. So many of his songs are types of songs that I wouldn't have liked as a kid -- I liked complexity to the point of obfuscation sometimes, and cleverness over almost everything but especially over emotional content -- but they click so hard, with their simple metaphors and barely-disguised or outright bald emotional content. I grew up and grew out of being afraid of being earnest and appearing hokey, and it's nice that I found an artist (several, honestly -- Damon Albarn has a similar flavor) that I can relate to on a deeper and different level than most of the music I was into when I was younger. Like, "Oh, this is what it sounds like to be a bastard. I needed this."

    Music's great.

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    1. thank you for reading, david! i should go back to frank ocean - i bought the album when it first came out and got into it but then i got sick of everyone talking about him all the time and stopped listening. but i can see what you're saying. also i've been reading a book about 'why we need storytelling' (like, how reading stories helps us figure out how to live) and your point about 'Oh, this is what it sounds like to be a bastard. I needed this' is cool to think about in that context.

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  2. thank you for this <3 magnolia electric company means more to me than most albums.

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    1. you're very welcome <3 <3

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  3. gorgeous. the way you girls write about music is so refreshing. thanks for keeping your blog going - it's my total fave.

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    1. thanks so much! xoxoxo

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