Sound of Silver
I woke up this morning with that familiar, sad feeling at the back of my throat.
I downloaded Sound of Silver when it first came out, but didn’t really listen to it. Consequently, I heard “Someone Great” for the first time at the Musée d’Art Contemporain last September. I thought the museum was a bit of a write-off and was about to leave when I decided I might as well check out a music video exhibit in the museum’s basement. The exhibit consisted of folding chairs set up in front of a huge screen in a very dark, velvet-curtained room.
The videos were shown on a continuous loop, so people were constantly coming and going. I walked in to a video-in-progress. Nature shots. A country song. Snow melting off leafless branches. Next a video featuring Robert Downey Jr. singing straight into the camera. An awkward teenage girl lip-synching ‘NSYNC’s “I Want You Back.”
And then “Someone Great.” When the song started, it felt like my heart was waking up; like it was thumping in time to the pulsing beats that open the song. I like how that beat steadily throbs throughout the entire song. The little electronic blips and beeps that eventually join in make me think of a hospital; of the beating heart and the machines that track its rhythm. There is something sterile about these sounds, and yet, they bring something up; some vague, sad feeling from the pit of my stomach. The video is beautiful. A two-dimensional shadow-girl weaves her way through a grocery store, runs her fingers over the spines of LPs in a used record shop, greets friends at a roof-top party. The combination of the words being sung and the images in the video made me shift in my seat; made my eyes well up.
I never notice that this song is over six minutes long. I’m carried by the music—floating over the sound of a child’s toy xylophone, the scratching of a record, the lyrics delivered in that calm, melodic monotone. Towards the end, that repeated “and it keeps coming/till the day it stops” makes me feel nauseous, and anxious, and hopeful. I love the “safe for the moment/saved for the moment” too. It’s like being inside of this song—feeling it trickle into my ears from my headphones—makes me feel safe for a moment; like I can kind of lose myself in the song’s beauty and forget about everything else.
The worst is all the lovely weather,
I'm stunned, it's not raining.
The coffee isn't even bitter,
Because, what's the difference?