Anti-Climacus


"Thou shalt not extinguish thine anger, but shall master it, that thy conscience may not be blunted by adjustment to wrong causes."
-The Dutch Ten Commandments to Foil the Nazis

16.3.10

THE CRYING OF LOT G/DEEPER INTO MOVIES: (NB: this is just a song I happened to listen to yesterday)



I've had two really transcendent concert experiences in my life, and both of them were provided by Yo La Tengo. The second came in 2007, in what remains the only show I've seen at Cat's Cradle in Carborro. I'd never particularly noticed or cared about "The Crying of Lot G," as it was one of the less interesting-sounding songs from ...and then nothing turned itself inside-out. I had, however, just recently gone through a traumatic break-up, and it was this song that crystallized much of what I had been thinking and feeling.

Yo La Tengo are an odd form of a band, an indie husband-and-wife team. Marriage is unusual in rock music, and songs about marriage are even more unusual. There are songs about the exhilaration of lust, new love, and a number of very excellent albums about breakups (Blood on the Tracks, Shoot Out the Lights, Sea Change, 13, Rumors, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space), but few or none about marriage. (I have only recently come around to Rob Sheffield's opinion that Nirvana's In Utero explores male insecurities within marriage) But marriage is a frequent topic in Yo La Tengo's songs.

"The Crying of Lot G" is not much more than Ira Kaplan speaking and singing about an argument he's just had with his wife. He feels bad about it, he feels the need to stand his ground, he worries that he's being unfair to her, he just wants her to be happy again, and it ends with an affirmation that they are linked together: when she's happy, he's happy; when she's sad, it makes him sad. It made such a powerful impression on me in January of 2007 because of its assurance that there is no esoteric knowledge about marriage: Kaplan's worries were exactly the same as mine had been, and he had no particularly better answers, but he had been married for a very long time. I sometimes think when we grow up we tend to believe that the answers are out there and possessed, in some form, by the people who are older than us, and that adulthood and maturity are just the realization that you are now one of those people in the eyes of someone else.

"Deeper Into Movies" will have to wait.


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