Pondering Surviving vs. Thriving: Patty Griffin “Chief”

Patty Griffin’s “Chief” is a portrait of someone who’s lived his life wishing he was doing something else.  It really gets to me in that bridge section when she unleashes the full extent of the character’s yearning: Well I wish that you could see me when I’m flying in my …

Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “Architect of the Ruin” and Our Role in That Demise

As a fan since the 90’s I still mourn the passing of the mysterious and abrasive Toad from the pre-hiatus days (“Amnesia” anyone?) but the post-hiatus Toad seems to make up for it with ample wisdom that they now infuse into their songs.  Their latest EP’s title track is no …

Considering the Value of Your Dream in R.E.M. “Losing My Religion”

Famously, R.E.M. never explained their lyrics — so of course, what I’m about to say is not their message, but my agenda, my propaganda, my secret scheme to use whatever music as an empowerment tool for people making changes in their lives for the better. This song comes across to …

Affirming Your Importance Listening to Radiohead “Airbag”

I realize that Radiohead likes to engage in their cynicism more often than optimism, so the megalomanic lyrics in “Airbag” is probably something we shouldn’t take for its face value.  But the underlying music is so heroic and expansive, I can’t help being more naïve than cynical. Religious cliché aside, …

Consider the Ticking of Time Listening to Dave Matthews Band “Ants Marching”

“Ants Marching” is such a deceptive song.  Beneath its upbeat, cheery surface lies a sobering cautionary tale about the cost of life spent without engaging in meaningful activities. We look at each other Wondering what the other is thinking But we never say a thing These crimes between us grow …