The small window of time as winter retreats into the spring doesn’t look that different. Even when you’re aching for a change, it’s tough to notice, no matter where you are.
It’s not quite dusk – a sliver of honey colored sky is still lingering in reflections off of buildings. The street view outside from your window seat somehow confirms that winter has finally fled. It’s late March and for the first time in a while the cold has subsided, a subtle warmth vaguely present in the air – the faint hint of cherry blossoms can be picked up when the wind shifts just right. A promising teaser that spring has finally sprung.
You’re alone. Content and comfortable with your borrowed crook of the universe – sitting in a corner booth of some nameless bar on a not so nameless stretch of asphalt in a city that, for the time being, suits your fancy.
All around you – from the wood engraved bar to the crowded tables – conversations palaver and bleed until they eventually become white noise. You’re alone but not lonely. Gently, you swirl the pale-yellow remnants of the beer in your glass (or bourbon or wine or tonic and gin). It’s an imperceptible habit you picked up somewhere along the straightaways during one of life’s more microscopic moments. You do it subconsciously when your rationale of thinking becomes a canvas of nostalgic splendor – a pattern that has served you well, if not rendered you a bit heartbroken a time or two. For some reason, the encroaching seasonal makeover does that to you – makes you reflect on past lives. Things you’ve done. Places you’ve been. People you knew. Memories. Films about ghosts. All of those elements giftwrapped and stowed in a little corner of your brain. Now all you need is a good song to accompany these thoughts.
And like a serendipitous twist of kismet, a silent covenant has been brokered between you and the stranger who, with shaking faith, slid their last quarter into the jukebox. A tune and melody come alive. Those hidden memories start to unwrap themselves.
You allow a mirthful smirk to settle in the corner of your mouth as you watch the bubbles in your glass dissipate. And even though you don’t recognize this particular song, you are automatically committing it to memory because it will forever provide the soundtrack to this very moment of time – when you sat alone, content, and living out life for a moment or two.
That song, in this instance at least, is called “Paralyze” and it’s by Gasoline Heart – a band from Brooklyn New York. The song is from 2006’s You Know Who You Are and harbors the kind of sound and lyrical relationship you’re grateful for when you hear it. A melodious opening of rhythm guitars eases the listener into the kind of familiarity that often goes hand-in-hand with good times, good company, and the familiar neon lights of their favorite haunt.
Someone wake up,
This town makes so much noise now,
Are you dead or alseep?
Either way you’re worthless to me now.
Someone wake up,
That someone should be me,
I’m so tired of losing,
I’m so tired of everything.
Another thing this band wears on its sleeve is its influences. Tom Petty, The Who, Whiskeytown, Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, The Replacements and The Counting Crows all peek their heads out at different points throughout the song and the entire record for that matter. It has a certain nostalgic feel to it sure, but Gasoline Heart possesses the enviable ability to recombine its influences into something that has become uniquely its own. Lyrically the band puts together stories that any 20-something to 50-something can point to and think: Yeah, I remember feeling that way.
Pack your bags, hitch a ride
Cause the moon can’t hide tonight
Where we go, where we’ve been
I’m ready to leave town again
You finish your drink as the song closes. Tossing a few bills on the table you look up. Things look different.
About Cory Huffman
Cory Huffman teaches English and social studies in Southern Indiana. Besides his penchant for good bands and music, he is also a writer for Indiana on Tap and an avid Cincinnati Bearcats fan.
Featured Image Courtesy of Louis DeFabrizio & Gasoline Heart