Featured Image Courtesy of Bryce Ernest TaylorIn our daydreams, we are always “Bond men.” We are always dazzlingly handsome, draped in four-figure suits, commanding the room with our shaken martini in one hand and our full-house (king-high) in the other. We never dribble that first snurgle of vodka on our shirt. We never stub our toe on the table-leg. We don’t waver when go “all in,” and we never, never, never quake in our shoes at the sight of a pretty girl.
In real life, of course we screw all of it up. We walk out of the pizza joint wearing marinara below our necklines—trying to act as if it was already on there when we picked up the shirt from the Target bargain shelf. We are clumsy, ill-shaven, high-voiced, insecure beings. We offer the best of ourselves, and we consider ourselves romantically, intellectually, and emotionally superior to the very types of alpha-males we too often wish we were. When everything works out, when we find that woman who values us and makes us feel every bit as real as Sean Connery on a good day…? The world spins in synchronous tranquility. But when it doesn’t fall into place? When the only woman whom we believe worth the effort, casts us off only to reel us back in…? That’s when we become victims of our own impulses.
Hailing originally from the Texas/Oklahoma region, singer-songwriter Bryce Ernest Taylor’s has plied his craft from the Carolinas to the Rocky Mountains before landing in the Hoosier state. Soft spoken and demure, Taylor’s high baritone accentuates his casual banter between tunes, and it climbs fluidly when his refrains reach their crescendos. A working-class singer playing a soft Americana style, Taylor’s music celebrates the whimsical, the mundane, the high, and the low—a low his speaker echoes in “This is the Last Time,” his lead track to his 2015 album, Lighter Than Air:
How sweet was your dewdrop kiss
To this desert with no rain?
Like the bee to the cactus flower
I keep comin’ back again….and again.
Oh, I never reach my limit
Before the last call,
And I’m feelin’ kin to Icarus
in the heat before the fall…
The environmental similes and mythological allusions stack upon each other framing a speaker tortured less by recent loss of his lover and more by the addictive attachment he holds for her. And clearly it’s a redundant pain. He’s been here before, caught in an emotionally paralytic temporal loop of his own making:
Well I told you what really hurts.
It’s when you leave me
Like you’ve done so many times before.
Leave me standing flatfoot wonderin’
What I’ve done wrong…this time…this is the last time
Taylor’s speaker clings to the notion that he’ll strike pay-dirt: that he’ll finally convince his femme fatale to embrace her role as the Venus who validates his inner-Adonis. Instead, however, he keeps himself tethered to his perpetual game of “relationship paddle-ball.” When she leaves (and she always leaves) he tells himself that time will be “the last time.” And his only problem is that it’s not.
“This is the Last Time” Studio Version
“This is the Last Time” Live Version from 2012