2011 is the year that just won’t let up. I was reminded of this last night when I was listening to Feist‘s latest album, Metals, for the first time, with the album’s second track “Graveyard.” It’s a somber song that fits with the mood of Metals perfectly, with a pleading refrain of “Bring ‘em all back to life.” When I heard it, I immediately wished the song had come out eight months earlier because I knew that I could’ve used a song like that when my dad died. I didn’t know that the next day, I’d find out my friend Glandorf had died in his sleep. Instantly, “Graveyard” took on a new meaning for me.
Death is a strange thing. When someone you love dies, the only thing you want to do is talk to that person. You pour over old text messages. You reread e-mails that you just got days before. You listen to sad songs and you want so desperately to hear that person’s voice again. Nothing cushions the initial shock of hearing the news that your friend is gone and it’s strange how you can still hear their voice in your head. I can’t stop thinking of drunk-dialing Glandorf on my friend’s back porch and hearing him scream “Valentine, you are drunk!” as I slurred nonsense at him.
Glandorf was a remarkable guy. I know everyone says that about someone when they die but honestly, Glandorf was great. He loved Rush and he went to high school with Matt Berninger, of The National. Just knowing that gives you an idea of what a cool motherfucker Glandorf was but above that, Glandorf was smart, funny, and one of the nicest, kindest people I’d ever met. 2011 has taken a lot of things from me but losing someone I considered a peer so shockingly and unexpectedly has left me shaken, functioning on autopilot, wondering if I should be listening to Rush because that’s how Glandorf would want people to remember him. He’d want to be remembered as we all rocked out to some classic Rush. I don’t have any Rush records though. And it seems that the only thing that’s making me feel better is Feist.
Every landmark in my life has a song. I remember when I moved to Chicago and couldn’t stop listening to Feist’s “Mushaboom.” The perfectly cute tune was the perfect soundtrack to the nerve-wracking optimism of watching my dream life unfold in front of me. Now, Feist is orchestrating another life-changing event only this time, the emotion couldn’t possibly be more different.
“Graveyard” is every bit as dark and affecting as its subject matter would have you believe. The guitar cuts in mournful keys. The verses lilt, reflecting on “sorrow” and how the present so easily becomes history. The horn section is so heartbreaking that it’d make Jeff Mangum shed a tear. It’s the anthemic, choral end of “Graveyard,” though, that really shines. Thanks to a beautiful array of harmonies, Feist’s grief stricken plea (“Bring ‘em all back to life”) becomes a powerful demand, a fervent need. And it’s just the song I needed right now.