“Parentheses” by The Blow — Evolution in Two Years

I’ve been posting updates through the BoxSpeaker Music Blog Facebook page. I’ll do a review of the various theme days’ songs including but no limited to the MONDAY MORNINGwoods, Wednesday Hump Day Songs, Music to Bone To songs, Friday I’m in Love Songs, and Rilo Kiley Saturday Mornings.

As for now, I present  my blog post “‘Parentheses’ by The Blow — Evolution in Two Years”:

In a few days, it will have been exactly two years since I was lying in a bed in New York crying. It was my 20th birthday, and the very first thing I did upon waking was cry about how “nothing matters.” Very Camus-Absurdist, right?

One of the things I remember most about that morning was how the girl I was dating at the time just swooped in and held me, sheltering me from the world and showing me that I was safe.

We talked about feeling like nothing matters, advice her dad gave her, and a couple other topics that I can’t remember. The point is: I felt safe in her arms.

When I heard “Parentheses” by The Blow, the part “And when you’re holding me, / We make a pair of parentheses / There’s plenty space to encase / Whatever weird way my mind goes / I know I’ll be safe in these arms,” it reminded me exactly of that moment. No one had ever made me feel that safe before. “Safe” — It’s such a soft word to say, but the feeling itself has strength beyond anything I can even imagine.

Fast-forward over a year later to January 30, 2011. San Francisco. The Great American Music Hall.

The girl I was dating at the time (not the same as the one in New York) and I went to the Blow’s concert there. As usual, we were late to the show. Upon arriving, the girl I was dating mentioned that it was almost all women and that it was “such a lesbian event” and that every event I take her to is a “gay thing” or so. (Note: As much as I love The Blow, I actually didn’t even know that The Blow was having a concert in SF until the girl I was dating at the time told me to sign up for those tickets for her when I was grabbing some free concert tickets. Also, when we were at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, she was the one who wanted to see the Indigo Girls — I’d never actually listened to them before then. The only show I really pushed her to go to with me was Passion Pit, but I digress…)

Anyway… I was glad that I got to see The Blow (which is actually now just one person) perform “True Affection” but was almost completely devastated that I missed “Parentheses.” [I know, a lot of adverbs…]

Fast-forward to today, Wednesday, January 4, 2012.

Almost two years since the absurdist crying incident.

And I’m wondering where “Parentheses” fits into my life now.

I’m listening to my iPod that I haven’t used in over a year. Not only am I re-experiencing all the emotions associated with these songs I haven’t listened to in ages, but I am also tacking on my new emotions, interpretations, and life experiences with these songs, creating an even newer overall meaning to me. I can’t remember if it was Barthes or Benjamin (or maybe someone else completely?), but one of the critics we studied extensively in my Media Studies classes mentioned something about how the meanings of pieces of media are dynamic because we, ourselves, are ever-changing, so the way we experience that piece of media always changes.

This song, in conjunction with the set of songs I’ve been listening to, my New Year’s emotional breakdown, neuroticisms brought upon me by my cold-induced self-quarantine, and insomnia among other possible causes, has led me to thinking that maybe at this point in my life, I’m not the person being safe in someone else’s arms but rather am the person who tries to make sure others feel safe. With further analysis and “soul-searching,” that interpretation may change.

For now, I hope that I can successfully make people feel safe in my arms even if one of my arms is decommissioned due to a severely and stupidly pulled muscle.

So here’s to hopefully reassessing how I feel about “Parentheses” next year and the year after.

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