Review Summary: Always on my mind...
I know, as much as anyone, that people talking about how music relates to them and speaks the emotions they feel gets empty and dull after a while. Last year I made the mistake, as I’m sure many of us have, of listening to Nirvana and feeling like there were comparisons between Kurt Cobain and I. But nobody truly ever has, least of all me.
So with a truly painful, real album like August and Everything After, the point really has to be made about how one can truly connect with what is being said. That wonderful line on Round Here: “Then she looks up at the building and says she’s thinking of jumping/She says she’s tired of life; she must be tired of something,” just makes sense. It isn’t forced or clichéd, so what is said is really felt. “Try to keep myself away from me,” from Perfect Blue Buildings? Well, who doesn’t sometimes?
What is particularly astonishing about August is that we current day teenagers can really listen and empathise with its messages-and this is an album that was made nearly two decades ago by some blokes who were nearly thirty at the time! Take Mr Jones’ “She’s perfect for you, man, there’s gotta be somebody for me”. Cut and paste and take it forward to now. That message is as true for every teenager who has to struggle with the ups and downs and uncertainties of society, sometimes feeling like a wrong piece in the puzzle in the life, as it is for anyone else. The wistfulness of looking up to fame and wanting it has been felt by many people. One of my friends, one of the happiest people I know, could get himself down by wanting to be more and not looking around to see how many people liked him. The torment in such songs, as well as the grey heartbreak of Raining In Baltimore, reaches out to people on all walks of life.
The torment of unrequited love in Sullivan Street and Anna Begins is so perfectly placed. Who hasn’t loved someone with every bit of their being, yet felt that they are just so untouchable that it can never be? The shallowness of loving someone simply because they are beautiful is everything when you’re a teenager, and remains as you age. It is torturous to let go of, yet even more painful to hang onto.
August and Everything After is a beautiful, unhappy testimony to life. Sometimes life can really get you down. And music is never going to pull you up and out of the darkness overnight. But when you feel like certain songs are a candle in your miserable depression, that feeling can give you something to smile about. And that can make all the difference.