Music Journal: “Seasons” by Future Islands

Most of my life has been a personal sort of arithmetic. A type of mathematics designed for a person who prefers imaginary numbers over integers. Consequently, I add postcards to the dashboard of my car and books to my shelves, while subtracting youth and failed loves from my memory. The results haven’t always been clear. But, reinvention is never clear. And who we are is never obvious. Nevertheless, there are moments when we recognize ourselves. The amputated parts and the nostalgia are there with our hazel eyes and our morning coffee. Sometimes, we can taste our own breath. We can hear our own voice. We can feel our name at the precise moment we pronounce it.

Most art, for better or worse, reveals the audience far more than it ever reveals the artist. And, so it is with Future Islands’ new single, “Seasons.” Right from the start, vocalist Samuel T. Herring offers a rain soaked haiku in the voice of a bengal tiger. The image of changing seasons is juxtaposed with Herring’s imploring to a lover. His moan is a sloppy mix of soul and Tom Waits, and completely his own. However, in spite of the first person song writing, the emotional urgency is frighteningly personal. As I listen, I lose sight of Herring, and instead, discover myself. I imagine my feet walking along cracked sidewalks. Dodging rain and my own reflection in windows. I recall every phone conversation that ended before I wanted it to. And the taste of the wet earth on my tongue. I can count every promise I made to myself. Each and every resolution made on New Year’s Eve. I can feel the bubble of champagne on my lips. Teasing me, the way hope often does.

It’s very likely that the “you” that Herring is singing to in “Seasons” is no one other than himself. Indeed, we all wait for ourselves to change. We “break” down. We give up. We “crave” what we once had, but it’s “gone away.” And that is the pain of this song. It’s the pain of  knowing who we are. But only a little bit at a time.

And that is the consequence of living in a world that changes. We can be happy. But only for a little while.

below is a link of a live version of the song:

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~ by Vince Bauters on March. 7. 2014.

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