Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bliss and perfection are different

A month or so ago @chrisreinhard wrote something about how few songs have perfect moments in them. For some reason, the comment stuck with me, and I started making a mental list of musical moments that took my breath away.

After awhile, I began noticing that a high percentage of my list came from songs that could be loosely classified as metal. Like the gripping transition from the chanting of "Waking the Fallen" into the heavy, hooky, mute-and-release intro to "Unholy Confessions." Or the vocal explosion out of the breakdown and into the climax of "Stinkfist," a song for which there is no polite or safe Internet link.

The moments that captivated me most brought dark and seemingly irreconcilable elements together in an unexpected but somehow unavoidable moment of release.

"Release" really is the only word for it.

This construction is very like that of a horror movie, where the torturous second act exists to heighten the excitement of the third, when the victim must earn her way to redemption.

(The parallel with sex is even more obvious. I mention it only to prove that I am not willfully avoiding it.)

When you look back on the very best moments of your life, will you remember summiting a mountain after a grueling hike or deadlifting 400 after five years of training? Or will you remember something lazier: sitting in the grass on a sun-soaked summer evening? Could it be that bliss is too creeping and transitory to really captivate us, and that perfection is created by the brokenness that precedes it?

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