It Pays Us All to Forgive

Still thinking about the new Blur album; I read a review that quoted an interview with Damon Albarn where he said, bluntly, that it was a sad album because he’s a sad 55-year-old, and that you don’t get to 55 years old without being sad unless you’re very lucky. That stuck with me for days after seeing it for the first time, playing on my mind as I listened obsessively over and over to an album that is, very clearly, about loss and missing people.

Those feelings are both something that I am all too familiar with; I’m not 55 yet, but close enough, perhaps — I’ll be 49 later this year — and also Scottish, which I feel is a shortcut to saying that I have a particularly melancholy disposition. That’s been especially true over the past year or so for reasons I’m not going to share publicly, but it does explain why I found myself nearly in tears while listening to “The Swan,” one of the tracks off the so-called “Deluxe” version of the album, the other day.

As self-conscious as I felt by the near-outburst — I was walking to the library in the middle of the day, which really doesn’t feel like the most appropriate time or place to just start crying, although perhaps that’s my age and upbringing showing, who knows? — there was something almost comforting about the whole thing, too: I felt so moved because there was some innate sense of recognition with the lyrics of the song, even if I couldn’t map my own life onto the them directly.

Nonetheless, there was something in the crack of Albarn’s voice as he sings, “Know that I will always be here for you/Even when I’m gone, gone from this world… What do you really want/What do you really need…?” that I understood deep inside my heart and my bones; a feeling of such intense recognition that it honestly, effortlessly, almost brought me to tears. There’s something to be said for the feeling that you’re not as alone in your feelings as you might think, sometimes.

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