I've been trying to wait to write about songs that really mean a lot to me until my head is a little bit more clear. Maybe that's just an excuse, being busy, when in reality I'm only a little scared. How do you write about something you've loved so intensely and for so long? How do you convey, really, what a piece of music means to you? How do you put into words the way a few chords can make you feel so so much? I'm not saying that I don't adore the music I've written about thus far, because I do. I'm just saying that I've tried to avoid writing about the music that's most important to me.. because I've been feeling rather vulnerable. I'm afraid of exposing myself, and people I love, and not being able to undo it. And, also, because I'm afraid that I'll fall short and won't do it justice. The music I love is deserving of some epic praise and I'm not entirely sure that I'm up to the task right now.
So, we're going to go slow. Today's song is "That's the Way (My Love Is)" by the Smashing Pumpkins. On Zeitgeist. I've chosen this song, well, a.) because it's what I was listening to when I parked at work today, b.) because I have a lot of things and people associated with the song on my mind and c.) because it's time. Time to put it all out there.
I, unlike many Smashing Pumpkins fans, actually really loved Zeitgeist. Or, at least, a good healthy 2/3 portions of the music on there. I think it's always difficult whenever a band is so well loved and haven't made music in a while and then begin again. Often, their music has become practically canonized by that point and fans don't appreciate the band wanting to break out of that mold. There's always that dilemma- experimenting with something new or producing the same thing they always have. Finding a balance between the two is obviously ideal, but frequently difficult. I really think that this is where SP did a great thing with Zeitgeist.
I also know that there will be arguments about Smashing Pumpkins not really being the original Smashing Pumpkins.. and I missed D'Arcy and Iha as much as anyone, but honestly, could you tell that they were missing? No. Corgan (and Chamberlin) did a fantastic job of making this album sound like classic SP. The first half of the album has clear connections to Siamese Dream. At the same time, he also keeps true to the influences that created Machina. It's clearly SP and yet, it doesn't sound like a refurbished version of something they've already done.
With that all being said, by far, my favorite song on this album is "That's the Way". Though patently my obsession with drums has something to do with that, I also think that it's the song that sounds the most complete. I do enjoy songs that tell a story, even if it's only a snapshot or a moment in one. This song.. about relationships and doubters and love. It tells a story. This past summer when I was going to hell and back for someone.. it really spoke to me. I kept believing and waiting and telling everyone else who doubted me or him or us that they just didn't know how it was. I don't think I've ever had faith in anything like that and even though it didn't progress the way I thought it would, I have enough perspective now to appreciate being able to feel that way at all. Those are, of course, just my very personal associations with this song.. it's not really what the song is about at all, but I can't help but to think of it every time I hear it.
Which is a lot. This is the kind of song I keep hitting repeat on, listening to it four or five times in a row. It flows really well with the rest of the album, but I can't seem to make it through the whole thing and just let it lie. After hearing it once, I've got to hear it again. And every time I do, I hear something different. Sometimes I'm waiting for a particular lyric, often I just want to hear the opening beats again, and there are times when I just want to feel it. Experience it. It's one of those songs that I will sit in the car and wait for it to finish. It's the sort that wakes something up in me. Those first few beats resonate in my chest, in my heart. At times, depending on the outside world, it'll evoke anger, or often tears. But, sometimes it's just this totally pure joy. It makes me happiest on sunny, hazy days with all the windows down. Which really isn't surprising at all.