Comfort Songs

All in all, my headspace has been increasingly negative nothing seemingly positive occurs in different spheres of life around me. Originally, I wanted to make some comment about how today’s final shuttle launch and our lack of a next stage marks the end in American greatness and exceptionalism. I might come back to that later once I’ve chilled out.

Instead, I just want to shut out the world and seek a better mindset. Being a musically minded person,  I do it with music. I’ve always had a group of songs that I listen to when I need to be brought out of a funk and raised into another state of mind. I won’t necessarily call it “happy,” but they certainly keep me from deciding it is better to just rot away on the couch for someone to find me a couple years later. Movement into action is always a better than doing nothing when doing nothing hurts you just as much.

Over the years, I’ve always had one song I’ve turned the most. It might seem like a cliché, but for a long time it worked: Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” Lyrically, the song is a journey starting with absolute despair. It might not end well for the protagonist, but it carries the listener over soared heights through the guitar solo. There’s a damned good reason why it is played at the top of The Wall staging.

The song served me well through the later end of my teen years as well into the difficult early part of my twenties. I’ve listened to damned near all versions of the song and like most of them (even the Scissor Sisters version). But it was around that era where its angst and hopelessness began to where a bit thin. Still, my ear bends to it whenever I hear it come on Pandora or on FM radio.

There’s been a few other songs to have this affect on me as well: Mars Volta’s “The Widow,” The Smashing Pumpkin’s “Zero,” Massive Attack’s “Teardrop,” The Pixies “Where is My Mind,” The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes”  all stand out. But the song I’ve been turning to in recent years is “Dark Matter” by Porcupine Tree.

It’s a long song, usually clocking in around 8:54. It is long enough to be a true journey of a song. Vaguely, its about changing life and when something loved suddenly became work. That is my take away from it, at least. I’m probably wrong about that. Musically, it is quiet and contemplative that builds and builds like watching the scenery change between two cities in different parts of the country. It forces me to stop, listen, and breathe.

It’s from the Signify album and always comes off a little different than the rest of the album, like the song was tacked on at the end of recording. It’s almost like a hidden track, but perfect cap off to the album.

In the meantime, here’s some videos from YouTube.

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