Review Summary: TL;DR: It's an incredible album that just got better with time and context.
I'm sitting in my new Providence apartment alone without my shirt on. It's been raining on and off all day and the sky is a swirl of gray. I feel unmoored, mostly because I am. I don't know if I'll be able to have writing as a major part of my life. I don't know what career I'll ultimately have. I have a job as a medical scribe for Providence's three busiest Emergency Departments, which is engaging, but horrifying, and beyond that I have no idea where life will take me next. I miss school for its freedom and certainty. I miss home for its warmth and kindness. The city around me has a baseline of boredom and cynicism that gets more annoying and unforgivable by the day. I cannot wait to move.
I guess I feel lost without the work that I like to do at my core, and writing was what I considered my main work for the last 8 years. I haven't gotten far with my writing, though, have I? Who cares about what I do with my words? No one that can compensate me for it. I haven't gotten a recommendation, an award, any sort of commendation for my time spent making up stories and typing up half-baked analyses for others' enjoyment. I can keep it as a hobby, sure, but beyond that where does it lead? Should I even keep it as that? Where would my energy be most useful to the world? What would make me happy? What would make me complete?
Birds and bats collide in the evening sky. I feel alone in my passions.
Where does satisfaction lie, then? Is it in other people? Is that sustainable? I have seen the brightest minds in my school crumple at the mere mention of rejection due to their addiction to authoritarian validation, men and women so heavily judged by those that raised them that they can no longer see themselves as inherently valuable just by being living human beings, only so important insofar as they constantly advance down the path of their chosen profession. I have also seen men and women so brilliant become total assholes as they realize how unbinding social ties truly are, become wholly mentally unmoored, and then lose all sense of civility and social responsibility due to the privileges of money and time they have on their sides due to their birth as they pursue their misguided, malformed dreams of happy sameness, forever consuming, never taking the time to give back to society, or to even think of that as an option.
I keep hoping things will get easier as I get closer to death, whenever that may be. “It's all downhill from here”, right? It's one of the greatest and most meaningful double entendre's Homme has ever written. From the great changing point that is depression, life gets sadder, or, life gets easier, or both! Perhaps being aware of the futility of existence, of the sameness and constant sacrifice leading up to death, allows one to live easier, to maybe find a way back to happy shores. Perhaps there's a perverse sort of security in knowing everyone alive has the same endpoint, that we all only have this one chance to make our mark on the world we live in before we leave it for good. Or maybe it's the reverse, that as we make life easier for ourselves, our sense of satisfaction with living fades. Perhaps we need to fight daily to feel alive. Perhaps money, Facebook, credit-card swipes on vending machines, automated factory assembly lines, cars, Instagram-- maybe all of these things that are supposed to make life easier remove some fundamental part of ourselves, the human experience, along the way. Perhaps we're creatures of our own desperate struggles in life, and to forget that is to forget what it means to be human.
I don't know. Who can? It's going to be a forever-open question until humanity all kills each other or the sun swallows us whole. All I can tell, and all that ...Like Clockwork knows, is that we're all sliding down the same slope and that we'll all one day fall into the river Styx at its bottom. It'll get easier as the void gets closer. As the void gets closer it's easier to accept it. It's the “one thing that is clear,” Homme promises. “It's all downhill from here”.
I can only hope that, for each of us, for all of you reading this, that the slide is more happy than desperate.
And as I close my laptop now to go on a run, I know what I'll be listening to.
I'll see you real soon.