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Mar 04

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS – “Cotton”

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THE MOUNTAIN GOATS – “Cotton”

I’m reading this and looking at this while listening to this (and perhaps, if you’re interested, you’ll want to check this out, if you haven’t already), and I realize A) I don’t click over to here often enough (which the steadfast impermanence of the internet lets me get away with) (FOR NOW) and B) I don’t listen to the Mountain Goats well. I own a few of their records, I play them every so often, and I enjoy the hell out of them when they’re on, but they’re there much in the same way white noise or a radio at a party or crowd noise is there – totally willing to be engaged and admired, if so desired, but otherwise plenty happy to stay in the background and stay discretely busy.

I enjoy the music from a safe, admirable distance, unwilling to get too dirty in the details for (possible) fear of getting it wrong. Bullshit, yeah, but it’s not a conscious choice for me to be standoffish; it just works out that way. Admiration as respectful cowardice / fear / passive-agressive ego stroking (because I KNOW that this is beyond me, and I should be proud to recognize that)? Oh, whatever – chalk it up to my ears being distracted by what the rest of me is doing.

But this new record – it seems to WANT me to pay attention. It’s not going to let me get distracted, not going to let me politely ignore it. And “Cotton”, with the muted strumming and the piano crossing paths like cool pillow cradling tired head – it is beautiful. “Let it all go,” he sings – yeah, sure, I’d love to do that, but what? What am I letting go? What’s going on? I feel some tears wanting to poke their way out. And I’m smiling? What’s going on?

I want to let this song go, that moment of untainted inexplicable beautiful sadness, just let it go and let it diffuse into the air and float on currents passing through drywall and budding leaves and car exhaust and smokestacks, maybe to risk the chance that someone else catches it and feels that, maybe to be selfish and keep this feeling to myself knowning only I’ll feel that way, maybe to be selfless and let the song be. Just some quiet. Just some regular noise now. Something to keep me grounded, keep me from floating away.

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