Wednesday, September 2, 2009

End of Summer I: Three Songs

Summers always end on a bittersweet note.

I just realized that I never had a typical "summer romance." But despite avoiding the awkward end-of-vacation goodbyes, I still felt the bittersweetness of the end of summer.

The feelings of freedom slipping away haunt me every August even though it's been years since I had to buy pens, notebooks, or lined paper in early September.

This year feels strange -- not just because seemingly all of Southern California is on fire (although that's disconcerting) and not just because Labor Day is unnaturally late (which made everyone I know feel like this week was just borrowed time), and not just because radio is dying (although... ).

If I had musical synaesthesia (and many of my friends will tell you I do), this feeling would owe a hat tip to the excellent I ♥ Icelandic Music blog and look a lot like the mesmerizing video for "Ljósið" by Ólafur Arnalds (whom I last mentioned here). As the colors rally, burst, and trail behind the cool of the evening, there's a slight echo of promises unkept and tasks unfinished. And the slow decay reminds me that the sunlight is vanishing, a few minutes a day, moving us closer to darkness even as we rush to find a way to keep that light glowing for just a few days more.

Ólafur Arnalds - Ljósið (Official Music Video) from Erased Tapes.

And fall waits around the corner, like an overeager actor poised to jump onstage. The air crackles at night with newness chances, new opportunities, new beginnings. Dancers crowded around the edge of the dance floor, storing up their energy, waiting for the cowbell to bring them out, and hoping to hear something new with more than a little echo of the old, like Philly's Free Energy. (Link for Gmail subscribers.)

Bonus: Iceland's Gus Gus weighs in on healthcare reform. Or at least paints a synth-pop masterpiece with "Add This Song," which undoubtedly would have burned up the airwaves back in the early 80s. (No embed code, so click here.)

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