Cloud Cult “No Hell” and What We Bottle Up Inside

Cloud Cult is a local hero here in Minnesota, and for a good reason.  Started 20 years ago as Craig Minowa’s humble solo music outlet, it’s now a bona fide movement, a force to be reckoned with, the pride of Twin Cities that we get to brag about to the rest of the world.  I don’t care what famous acts came from your city.  We have Cloud Cult.

This is a band whose flag we can wave proudly because they care.  They care so much.  About the earth, about us, about all our well-being.  Their latest, The Seeker is a cynicism-free story of yearning and healing, and coming in around the middle, “No Hell” is the catalytic moment of things starting to unravel after years of getting bottled up.

And sometimes I can’t help but admit that that’s what we are: bottles, containers, and boxes, all with pretty tight lids.  We spend life time collecting stuff, and these are not good stuff, for the good stuff we don’t have to keep bottled up inside.  We can freely share the good stuff.  The bad sh*t is what we keep inside, for fear that we can’t be accepted, understood, nor loved for letting out the negatives.

But that stuff festers and is dying to get out.  So things may get particularly ugly when you find someone or some occasion where it’s OK to open the lid and start pouring out.  “Please excuse the lights shooting out of my head/ I keep them in a cage, but they come out when they see a friend (you must be a friend)” Craig sings, and I know I’ve been there, spewing out more shame and yearning than I really should, when I perceive that there may be someone on the other end willing to receive it all.  “I’m a happy man, but there are some things I need to get out.”  Indeed.

So if I channel to the climactic chorus I can’t help but feel taken over by emotions.  I want this music to beat into my head that what I need is purging and spilling, not collecting more junk to store.  I need to be real, I need to be vulnerable, I need to show up and reveal who I really am to the world, as scary as it is.  Because bottling up leads to rotting inside.  It’s like cancer, or may be it is cancer, quite literally.  I’m a good person here, loved and needed, even on days when I feel neither.  I need to continue to exist.  Rotting inside isn’t going to help me or anybody else.

And there’s no use in running unless you run like heck
And the best things we’ve learned, we learned from the wreck
Jesus coming back as woman this time
Giving out hugs in the clinic line
Someone tell the devil we don’t need no hell
We’re all pretty good at beating up ourselves

Yep, if we have a lot bottled up, spilling out is going to look like a wreck.  A few years ago I had precisely that, episodes of severe vertigo, which I interpret as the deep-set fear finally coming up to the surface.  I had never experienced that before, and it felt like hell.  But I had 3-4 episodes of it, each time the symptoms getting lighter, and now it appears to be done.  I can also tell you that after the first, most severe one I felt different.  A little lighter.

There may be more graceful ways to heal, I don’t know.  But if a wreck is what it’s going to take, I’ll still choose it over stewing with my toxins.  Days of collecting are over.


  1. I just heard a Cloud Cult song today on The Current, and I was struck by its lyrics! Don’t know which one, just that I was struck (in a good way) by listening to it. 🙂 I thought to myself, I want to listen to more.

    1. Hey Lorie, if they said it was from the new one then it’s either No Hell, or Through the Ages, or Days to Remember off of The Seeker album. If not — they have 8 albums for you to enjoy. Chances are that it’s a relatively recent song.

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