Listening to Hum’s Downward is Heavenward as I gaze across the table at Panera and let my eyes drift across patterned upholstery. This particular booth is wrapped in a wavy grid, with ionized circles swirling around at odd intervals.
It’s been an odd-good week here, one replete with terrific conversations and yet devoid of effective sleep (that’s on me, as per usual). I stay up late, but since returning from New York City I’ve been waking up earlier. I’m sure I’ll turn out like one of those guys that people see on TV and about whom remark: “Christ! That guy must not sleep at all!”
Still, the waking-up-early thing is weirdly nice.
Hum is an important band in my life. I bought You’d Prefer an Astronaut in September 2008. That album fucked me up completely. Everything Matt Talbott wrote with that band returned to the idea of love and how to make it stay. As I drifted into that album, I began to realize the significance of that question. It took me a long time to realize that it’s a question that demands an answer — to quote John Steinbeck, “[an] outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable.” That’s the answer, I think. For no good reason, it took me too long to discover that within myself.
Here’s Tom Robbins on that same note:
Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not.
Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning and an end.
Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm.
There is only one serious question. And that is: Who knows how to make love stay?
Answer me that and I will tell you whether or not to kill yourself.
There are number of “tough albums” that I can’t help but continue listening to. Hum, Third Eye Blind, Sun Kil Moon — some songwriters are capable of shifting whole galaxies of emotion with a simple chord progression and a metaphor. The sentiments in those songs are painful, but sweet and so close to my heart.
So, here I am, still listening to Hum after all these years. The music hasn’t changed, but in many ways I’m a different man.
Love and music’ll make me ramble. But catharsis can be a circuitous sensation.
I know a girl who makes me shine
My dreamboat’s leaving on a submarine
She’s got a second set of tanks and all I ever want and need