Music · Wonderings

Don’t Forget Our Yellow Bird

The thing I shouldn’t do alone in winter is listen to sad songs. But I can’t help it some times, when I accidentally start listening to one and get wrapped up in it.

When I cook, I pop in a CD that I haven’t listened to in a while (or very intently ever) to refresh my memory about what good music I have. This time it was I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning by Bright Eyes. I hadn’t ever really listened to it, but own it because Bright Eyes is from Omaha and I’ve been really impressed by Conor Oberst at the two non-Bright Eyes shows of his that I’ve been to.

It’s the second track on this album, We’re Nowhere and It’s Now, that is what moved me so much at those shows. It’s such a beautiful song that conveys such a feeling of being lost between stages of your life, the cynicism and defeatism of not having meaning, love or anything you think you want, and trying to move on from something you can never go back to. And submitting to addiction.

The most moving lyric to me is “Did you forget that yellow bird?” Asking not to forget the proverbial canary in the coal mine – that person who was lost to the same lifestyle you’re subjecting yourself to, when you know the consequences and can do something to change it. If you have ever lost someone you love to alcohol or drugs, you might know that pain. You know that feeling, that anger that things should be different, that sadness at knowing your memories are all you’ll ever have. And if it’s a loss you experience at a time in your life when you don’t know what’s in store for you or what you want… it’s being nowhere, now.

And knowing someone who is stuck, who doesn’t know where to go or what to do, who doesn’t know how to make any of it different and so sits in the quicksand of excuses, looking to lose control… it’s so real.

(Lyrics after the jump)

We Are Nowhere and It’s Now by Bright Eyes Lyrics

If you hate the taste of wine

Why do you drink it till you’re blind?

And if you swear that there’s no truth and who cares

How come you say it like you’re right?

Why are you scared to dream of God

When it’s salvation that you want?

You see stars that clear have been dead for years

But the idea just lives on…

In our wheels that roll around

As we move over the ground

And all day it seems we’ve been in between

A past and future town

We are nowhere and it’s now

We are nowhere and it’s now

And like a ten minute dream in the passenger’s seat

While the world was flying by

I haven’t been gone very long

But it feels like a lifetime

I’ve been sleeping so strange at night

Side effects they don’t advertise

I’ve been sleeping so strange

With a head full of pesticide

I’ve got no plans and too much time

I feel too restless to unwind

I’m always lost in thought as I walk a block

To my favorite neon sign

Where the waitress looks concerned

But she never says a word

Just turns the jukebox on and we hum along

And I smile back at her

And my friend comes after work

When the features start to blur

She says these bars are filled with things that kill

By now you probably should have learned

Did you forget that yellow bird?

But how could you forget your yellow bird?

She took a small silver wreath and pinned it onto me

She said this one will bring you love

And I don’t know if it’s true

But I keep it for good luck

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