“Make You Better” by The Decemberists
I feel like I like shitty music. I grew up fundamentalist, so I could only listen to contemporary Christian crooners—I still do sometimes, when I’m alone in my car on a long drive and I hear a few notes I recognize as I’m scanning stations. I love indie-rock. Indie-banjo-whatever, all of it. There’s something very white and privileged about much indie music that I resist—another band I love has all these songs about smoking and drinking the carefree summer away, which is the kind of summer that seems to be looming in front of me, and it’s terrifying because I want to work and I always have, just like most people have to work and always have. This is not the kind of carefree I can literally afford to be. But I also respond on a very base level to the love and the sadness—indie music is the closest thing to the boyfriend-Jesus and cry-out-to-God songs I grew up on, but Jesus and God are instead beautiful lovers and love-worn pain. If this were a poem, I would preach. Say, “I make myself better now,” no nuance. Nuance: no paramours. I am adopting a giant dog and this makes me better. I am flailing, unemployed; this makes me better. I make this piece better by not ending starry-eyed or on a high note.
Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.
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