I am listening to “Farewell Transmission” by Songs: Ohia (again. and again).
It is my going-away song, I guess. I used to have a coming home song, but too many times going away and coming home made me tired of hearing it. I need you so much closer, but I just keep leaving anyway.
“I will try and know whatever I try / I will be gone but not forever”
That’s better. That’s worse.
“The real truth about it is no one gets it right
The real truth about it is we’re all supposed to try
There ain’t no end to the sands I’ve been trying to cross
The real truth about it is my kind of life’s no better off
If I’ve got the maps or if I’m lost”
That kicks the gut just right. That’s a lyric that understands.
It’s a slangy guitar, too, full of ghosts and southern-smelling air. Jason Molina was from Ohio, but that guitar comes from Mississippi blood, or Alabama or Texas or something.
That guitar is openly weeping in a southern accent about this ennui that we were told to ignore, we southern boys. We were told that we were meant to be tougher than that gray wistful sadness, so we mostly did it, or pretended to until we learned to stop listening to ourselves.
Except some of us picked up guitars and they taught us their secret language for being sad. So I know what that guitar is really saying. We escaped, that guitar and I. We dragged that sadness with us to somewhere it didn’t grow up, somewhere it could stop speaking in code. We left and some of us came back and speak in code when we need to.
Jason Molina is dead now. He drank until his body just drowned in the stuff. Too much sadness for one person, too much alcohol for one body. Too much leaving and not enough coming home.