How It Is: Background

There are days, no matter who you are or how well your life is going, that you’re a little down. It’s an existential “trap” that even the best of us are subject to once in a while. Maybe the weather even has something to do with it. Some cloudy days are more than just a weather event; they’re a reflection of how we get down in the dumps. On these days, we’re suspended between how it is and how it ought to be. It’s just a part of the human condition. But, importantly, it’s just a moment in a person’s life. Eventually, we’ll move on, and things will go well, and they’ll also go bad, but they’ll move on, up and down. Then, at some point, we’ll once again be suspended between how it is and how it ought to be.

Musically, the piece oscillates between two extremes: a verse of power riffs that recall the Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash and then a soft chorus underpinned by acoustic guitar. Unlike the lyrics, which are all about suspension between two extremes, musically there is no mid-point. Rather, the verse expresses the unsettled feeling of being existentially untethered. The chorus expresses our resignation that only time will heal this wound. But it’s not just resignation; it’s resignation tinged with hope, an acknowledgement by us that we won’t always feel untethered like this.

The line “foot upon the stair, shoulder to the wheel” comes from a line in a Thomas Wolfe piece.

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~ by rvkeeper on January 12, 2011.

 
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