Saturday, June 7, 2008

BT - Lullaby For Gaia
Lullaby For Gaia.mp3
This song is a classic blast from the past for me. When I was a senior in high school, I got BT's second album, ESCM (which apparently stands for Electric Sky Church Music, which is awesome). I immediately fell in love with it, and I perhaps appreciate it even more now, eight years later. Remember BT's biggest hit, Flaming June? It was the track that immediately preceded this one on the LP, and that 1-2 punch is still one of the best in the biz, right alongside Datsyuk and Zetterberg (I couldn't resist). The album has some cheesy, overly slick moments, but I totally eat it up with a big, golden spoon of the finest origin. In fact, ESCM has been one of the most important, enduring albums in my life, and its ability to remain fresh, vibrant and moving despite the great amounts of change I have undergone during that timespan is extremely unique. Most of the albums I loved then aren't ones that I still enjoy in the same way now, without a certain sense of irony. This album is still just a pure golden goose, and I'm constantly discovering new things I love about it. It's right alongside The Chemical Brothers' Exit Planet Dust in that respect, and probably always will be.

And on an album of virtually nothing but high points, Lullaby For Gaia remains the highest one. This song is spectacularly beautiful. It is sad, sweet, uplifting, and fun all at once. As its name might suggest, it seems to encompass the whole world in 5 minutes and 22 seconds, sending us soaring over oceans, vast mountain ranges and the deepest forests. At first, we hear a few seconds of transition from Flaming June, immediately setting a tone of bright light and lush synths. Then this nice beat comes in with this slick bass guitar, enchanting us further. Perhaps it sounds cheesy to some, but I think it's really just gorgeous stuff, especially once the vocals kick in. When I hear this, I'm overcome with this sense that I'm soaring and smiling. As much as the soaring sensation comes the smiling one. But it's not just a little, superficial smile - it's a big one. A deep one. This song just lights up my soul, and makes my heart simply smile - nothing less, nothing more. But it's a really profound thing; it just makes me feel joy. It's a triumphant smile, a smile of surrender, and of the bliss in surrendering, in giving in and letting the waves of sensation and emotion that run through our veins wash over us in ecstasy without fear.

That's what this is about, that global feeling I mentioned earlier. It's about accepting everything for what it is, and how great it feels when we stop being afraid, when we stop fighting ourselves. That's where the melancholy tinge to the song comes in, too; there is a feeling of loss. "A million shattered pieces...I'll let it be...I'll be released. I'll be released." But as I always say in these damn blogs, what is wrong with loss? Loss is merely making room for something else. Without nothingness, there could be no giving, no receiving, no growth. Think about that. Everything would already be as full as it could possibly be, and nothing could possibly be exchanged, because it would already be one. Now, I think that, in essence, everything is in fact one in a sense, but I think that life and the physical reality we know must somehow be a means of enriching that oneness. That doesn't make sense, and it's something I will probably never know, but it's interesting to speculate. Anyway, loss is not bad. It is what it is, and doesn't that make it good? Take something bad, and make it into something good. That's all you can do. It's funny, because in my high school senior yearbook, my friend Ian (the I-Bomb) wrote, "What brings more pain: loss or gain?" I still think about that all the time, because I think it's actually a really good question. It's funny, too, because I think that most of the things we gain that are most enduring come directly from the loss of less-enduring things. I, for instance, have perhaps learned more about love from the loss of a loved one than the discovery of one. And gain inevitably brings at least some loss, anyway, if not only for the fact that we all inevitably die. But even if we, say, meet someone and end up marrying them and sticking with them for the rest of our lives. There will be many times when we feel some sense of loss as a result of that union, of that gain. Pain is inevitable. It's like that idea that people like Edvard Munch are so obsessed with: sex (life) is necessarily coupled with death, because everyone dies, and a new life means, no matter what, an inevitable and necessary death.

I can't claim to know all the lyrics to this song, but the fragments I hear here and there are awesome. I really like songs about sleeping; there's something so resigned yet beautiful about it. Isn't sleep gorgeous? And I've always had this fascination with women I love sleeping; it's always been such a beautiful image to me that somehow figures prominently in my conception of love and romance. Take, for instance, Crispy Ambulance's "Death From Above", off of their album The Plateau Phase. I have always loved that song, and it has always given me the image of a woman I loved lying next to me, sleeping. This, in conjunction with and in the context of that song, was one of the ultimate images of love; sitting or lying next to someone while they slept and just feeling grateful. It wasn't even about how they made you feel, and certainly not about what they were doing to make you feel that way (snoring?); it was just about them being. And watching them so peacefully, and I guess admittedly there could be a bit of that feeling of them trusting you enough to sleep next to you and share that with you - it's just so beautiful to me. Sometimes, too, sleep is where we experience our deepest connection with someone we love. I really believe that we can "meet" each other in our dreams, and that we often do when we are connected on a deep level. I know many would disagree with this idea because it is simply not logical, but I really believe this very deeply. In fact, dreams can often be our deepest and clearest window into reality. Who among us has never had a dream that completely changed our life? I have had countless, and many people I know - if they are really honest - have had at least one huge one that they can recall with a sense of profound mystery.

And this song is a gateway to that gateway - it is a lullaby to the earth, the world, the entirety of existence. It opens us up and gives us license to experience this depth, to turn off the filters of our conscious minds and just experience all that our hearts and souls have to offer, all the pain, all the sorrow, all the joy, all the wonderment. This song has captured my imagination for nearly a decade now, and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so for many years to come. I think this is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, and I've yet to come across another that evokes exactly what this one does. And like our dreams, it has this enigmatic quality that can never quite be solved, and nor should it be. And isn't that exactly like all things in life? Revel in the mystery, the unknown, and surrender to it, despite your fear. I hope you enjoy.

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