Saturday, January 2, 2021

Day 2: Daylight Matters

This is a strange song to write about at 4 in the morning. But songs get in your head when they want to, and in the case of this crushingly beautiful ballad, "Daylight Matters" pops into my head almost exclusively at night. It's a song about two people who are very much together in their loss and separation, but who no longer have access to each other, physically or otherwise. I know nothing about them as actual people, but it's hard for me not to hear this song as the dissolution of the close creative partnership between Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley (aka White Fence) who began playing together in the band Drinks before he got sober and more or less stopped writing music. While he wrestled with those issues in California, Le Bon wrote this album in isolation on the coast of her native Wales. I always liked Drinks on paper more than on record, and missed the rounded grooves of "Mug Museum" in the angular, challenging sounds of Drinks or 2016's "Crab Day." But I also respect an artist's need to change and to challenge. "Reward," the 2019 album that features this track, returns to the warmth of "Mug Museum," but it's a much darker warmth, blood red rather than pink. It's the sound of moving on, or growing up — actually growing and reconciling the "daylight matters" we all must face rather than continuing to exist in obscure, bohemian twilight. I know a thing or two about that, even if I know nothing about the lives or actual artistic motivations of the artist. I also know that this song sounds incredible on a Sunday night walk along the beaches of Southern California, after everyone has gone home from the picnics and surfing competitions but a few fires still continue to burn in their pits. While you stroll an empty beach, the waves continue to crash, and as a specific and seemingly infinite sense of loss arises, the only thing keeping you from disappearing into the surf is Cate's repeated incantation in your headphones to keep on keep on keep on keep on.

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Day 15: Be Still

    A timely and beautiful reminder from The Beach Boys not just to be still, but to also be .