sometimes a song comes along that describes perfectly the place where i am in life. these songs become anthems for a day or a kalpa. i'm a big sucker for a good hook, one that's easy to sing along with. blue october's picking up the pieces delivers. it's an emo pop masterpiece. there's the emo trademark confessional spill "i really need to talk to you/i keep stepping on the vein/that keeps my lifeline flowing thru" using a universal situation which, if you haven't encountered it yourself- yet-you've known someone who has, observed how the state freezes motion. but before i have time to dwell on that line, justin furstenfield belts out another gasper "i don't feel perfect at all/sad and insecure flaw". ok, fine, the lines are good, for a certain epoch in one's life, but what makes the song a masterpiece? just this: the way the emo lyrics are encased in an ironic musical shell.
The keys are major, and even the violin work by Ryan Delahoussaye has an upbeat tempo, a rising progression into the major tones of the hook. the irony doubles in the hook's lyrics "how long will i picking up pieces/how long will i picking up my heart?" emo rules might expect these words to be tinged with minor keys, solo piano rendered in plaintive tone. but blue october takes this weepy cliche and places it inside an anthem with doubletime, rocky-esque strings and choral arrangements allowing the act of singing to manifest the movement needed to just get the fuck over it. i played this song for my tenant, who said "how long? till the next one comes along" . so true --everyone's "next one" comes along , eventually or sooner. the question is cliche, yet unanswerable. the trick is to keep moving. this song helps me begin, so shortly into the coda , i'm ready for this verse
i'm scared of death
and i'm scared of living
shit i gave up on the past
cuz it's unforgiving
i misplaced my trust
felt my word begin to rust
i'm a balloon about to bust
i need a place for reliving still.
blue october delivers the bust in the final movement, which moves from minors in the chous to the extended majors of the hook, reminding me how love is the bittersweet culmination of living. woah, indeed.
review by hiccup