Monday, October 26, 2015


I don't know if it's me, if it's the time of year, if it's the fact that my job is stressing me out, or that I'm just getting older and turning more and more into an old grouch.

My heart feels heavy. I feel the weight of gravity, of our Earth's atmosphere, pressing down on me, making me want to lie down and close my eyes, make the world go away. Breathing in has become a great labour, my own lungs resisting the intake of cool, fresh air.

I am fatigued, and I know that's my fault. I sleep so little: perhaps that's at the root of everything.

But I don't know. I feel such little joy in things these days. Usually, when I'm in this sort of funk, when I feel pangs of depression, as though the walls are closing in on me and all backs are turned away, I turn to music to clear my mind.

Music soothes the savage breast. Especially, mine. I turn to the sounds with which I'm familiar, and I'm calmed. Not so, these days.

On Saturday, after finishing an unsatisfying spin class, the cadence and tension, no matter how much I increased either, seemed to tax me too much. Even though I had started the class without my water bottle—I could picture it, filled to the brim, sitting in the entrance, at home—had only hopped off the bike once, at the halfway point of the class, to fill my mouth from the water fountain, I did not feel challenged enough.

I left the class and headed to the change room, to soak my body and put on a clean change of clothes. In the locker room, music poured from invisible speakers. It was the new song by Adele. I had followed the hype on social media, only the day before. I read Adele's open letter to her fans, how she explained that life got in the way, that a child came into her life, but that she was back. I saw the tweets of people, singing the praises of this song.

I stopped to listen, and was utterly disappointed.

Sure, Adele's voice is as beautiful and powerful as ever. I simply found the song reminded me of every Adele song that had made her famous in the first place. I found "Skyfall" entirely dull. I enjoyed "Rolling In The Deep" and "Set Fire to the Rain" great, but I had heard them so often in the years since they came out that I have now grown tired of them. And now, with her new song, "Hello," I was halfway through listening to the song when I was already tired of it. I moved into the shower stall and let the water drown her out.

I could live the rest of my days a happy man, never hearing that song again.

And while my not liking the new Adele single is not the end of the world (it's not like I'm a huge fan), it's not the only music that brought me disappointment this weekend.

After months of anticipating the new album from Metric, I finally downloaded Pagans In Vegas and pumped it through the Bluetooth speakers in my family room.

I wanted to cry.

Until that moment, I have liked—if not loved—every album that this indie band has produced. And while their hit single, "The Shade," is great, and the lead song, "Lie, Lie, Lie," is enjoyable, I found this 80s-inspired album disappointing. I stopped listening before the final track played.

Even a previous purchase from one of my favourite Canadian songwriters, Matthew Good, hasn't grown on me. I like the first song from Chaotic Neutral, "All You Sons and Daughters," and his rendition of Kate Bush's masterpiece, "Cloudbusting," does it proud, but the rest of the album leaves me feeling empty.

If music disappoints me, it's hard to win me back from the darkness.

I need to snap free from these autumn blues. Because winter is around the corner and I don't want to start the darkest time of year with depression. I'll be insufferable for the whole season.

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