Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jukebox: Athletics - III

This song is on my playlists constantly, and I can't get it out of my head. It might be that it's from one of the best releases from this year, but I think it's something more than that. Our nature drives us towards things that feel appropriate for the time, and place - god only knows that we play Christmas music six weeks before December, but why is that? Because it makes us feel warm and fuzzy and nostalgic, which contrasts the massive piles of snow or drenching rain of the wintertime. Perhaps one of the reasons I can't stop listening to "III" is because, well, it's a song that fits the mood. It's powerful, it's emotional, and the lyrics line up fantastically with the season.

The song begins with warm synths, mirroring a heat inside that we all long to feel, empowered by the reminiscence of yesteryear. A sweet guitar plucks gently above the synth, eventually being caught up by effects, and swirls into a babbling brook of color above our warmth, the icing on the cake. To top it off, gentle words are whispered into the ear of the listener, bringing...wait. Sadness? But it feels so...good. The power of the song sneaks up on you from nowhere, and it brings passion and fierceness to a song that felt so calm a minute before. And once you really listen, even the lyrics match the season: "It hurts less over time, / but I'm not getting stronger. / I just leave pieces behind." In your warmth, or in your desire to feel warmth, you look out the window. Suddenly, you realize that the song could be mentioning the trees in the winter time, losing branches, and becoming frail with the season, but you also realize that human nature is the same way. We fade with the season, and the reason we need this warmth during the winter is to keep us human, to keep our relationships together, and to keep ourselves from falling apart. Suddenly, you feel sorry for the trees, as you hear "Now, my future and my past / are ending tragically the same" as you realize they will have to suffer through this year after year, enjoying the warmth of spring and summer but becoming a shadow of their former selves come autumn and winter. It lets you appreciate the fact that you can survive through winter after winter, that you can be with others - that you are not alone.

Realizing this made my walks much more dramatic and emotional than they should have been, and it's something that really helps me appreciate what I have and who I'm with. The music is absolutely gorgeous, incredibly deep, and constantly reminds me that I have others to keep me alive and sane. Athletics hit spot on with this album, and this song in particular. The lyrics are so beautifully powerful, but build up so well that you hardly know it's coming. It hits all emotional bases, and sends it home brilliantly by seguing into another fantastic piece. God, I love this band.

You can listen to or pick this release up for free on their Bandcamp. Or donate! For such a great piece of art, surely you could spare a dollar or two.

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