Yesterday, dripping wet from running to my car in the pouring rain, I turned the heater to full blast and put on Okkervil River’s Down the River of Golden Dreams. As the music started to get going the sounds, the wet hair and clothes and the smell of the heater all sort of combined nostalgically reminding me of the rain, space heaters and most importantly, listening to a lot of Okkervil River when I lived in Santa Cruz.
As I listened to the whole album, and then some other songs of theirs, most of the songs reminded me of a specific event, person, time or feeling.
It Ends With a Fall reminds me of walking down a brightly lit and decorated Pacific Avenue after work, on cold but dry December evenings, working my way through the Christmas shoppers and then down to a dark Laurel street and a lonely walk home alone.
Blanket and Crib – a housemate who didn’t like me much and never really gave me a chance.
The War Criminal Rises and Speaks– The smell of fresh baked bread coming from the Subway on Pacific Avenue.
The Velocity of Saul at the Time of His Conversion– This memory is much more recent. Standing on the deck at a friend’s apartment, winded from running, drunk from drinking, tired from not sleeping, a phone call and a conversation, Ryan playing this song for me as the night quietly winded down.
Song About a Star- New Years Eve with a German anarchist, staring up at the stars in the cold night just before midnight.
Red – drunkenly slow dancing, waltzing even at times when my feet would remember thats what they were supposed to do, in the common room.
Kansas City – Sunday afternoons and cooking with Elena, making and drinking vin brulé. Pretending like we knew what we were doing in the kitchen while talking about freedom and autonomy.
Westfall – Megan playing it on the guitar and the unexpected looks on people’s faces as she sang the lyrics.
Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas – A cold December night spent drinking room temperature Guinness at the Poet with a new friend. Talking about the past and the future.
No Key, No Plan – Scrawling the lyrics out on the shower wall with special shower crayons.
A Favor – Lying in bed in silence with a friend, this song blaring from speakers, but neither of us with the energy to get up and turn the volume down. Finding out the next day that she was sure we were dying and our lifeless bodies would be found the next morning.