27.3.08

Settle For Nothing

not many people could tell you that The Shins' Wincing the Night Away is a concept album. It begins with his insomnia in Sleeping Lesson, where he spends too much time thinking and being lonely and reading philosophy books. He rejects religion and society in general and gos out. He meets a girl in Australia and begins to tell her about philosophy but warns her that she would be damned to fall into the dodo's or the android's conundrum, (wings without flight, life without living). But in the end he decides to tell her anyway, and they "jump out the window" together. Pam Berry is too short to derive much meaning from and Phantom Limb is the story of a couple lesbians in a small town and has little or nothing to do with the plot, so on to Sea Legs. The next day our guy is falling in love with the girl (or wishes he was) and he realizes that come nightfall ("when the dead moon rises again") hes gonna start thinking again. He knows that he'll infect her with his grim point of view and their love will be doomed. Flip the record. Night again, they're getting deeper and popping some pills out of "gunny sack for Red Rabbits" (possibly a reference to alice in wonderland's rabbit hole). He doesn't want to think about his outlook on life and doesn't want to talk about it but she wants to know. In Turn On Me, though she tries to hide it, the relationship is failing. And he blames her. He tells himself he doesn't need her, that hes just fond of her. And at the end of the song he sets her loose. But he doesn't feel a relese for breaking up with her and in Black Wave he feels so lonely and he dwells on it. Split Needles is a turning point as he realizes that this fall from religion into nihilism has destroied who he is. He can no longer interact with the world around him and he thinks that maybe he should never had gone down the path that started in sleeping lessons. The night is probably ending by the time Girl Sailer comes on and he is awakening from his anger and resentment. He reflects on his resent romance and sees that he had a big effect on this girl, for better or for worse. She is probably in the same experience he had in the last two songs, she cant escape it. But he also knows that he wasn't in charge of her experience, being really "just a passenger", and he begs her to keep on, "sail it, don't sink it". In A Comet Appears he sun is rising and he sees a comet hurling through space. He thinks about how the earth is just hurling through space with people trying to hold on. The entire time he has though himself as Nietzsche's uber-man, above society, above regular human emotion, and now he sees that he is nothing of the sort. But he knows that, just as Nietzsche worked so hard against, he has become numb and nihilistic. I am amazed at how much this reflects me, right down to the book I'm reading right now, and it is among the most amazing albums I have ever come across.

read my writing on the wall
no ones gonna catch me when I fall
death is on my side

2 comments:

Jacquelyn Nan said...

you genius

Parker said...

I've been struggling with the notion that Wincing is a concept album.

On one hand I want to believe it.

On the other hand...