With the exception of the native beat of the drums at the beginning, the rhythm section of this song is solid and steady, as if making an effort not to stand out too much. The organ adds some spice to the mix but even it is subdued. The rhythm section seems to exist solely to provide a context for the theatrics of the lead guitar. The lead has many lives throughout the song – different tones, different techniques. It knows it is the star of the show here and it goes through Hamlet-esque provocations to move you through the emotions of frustration, disappointment and longing in the lyrics.
As it is when empires fall, when relationships break down it’s never pretty (as Bazan would say). The forgotten ones are hurt most by the shift. They are left to pick up the pieces of what remains while trying to find answers for why the shift had to occur and why they were so easily forgotten in the chaos. Maybe I’m thinking about the human cost of empires falling because lately I have been so concerned about the state of our nation. I didn’t plan to write about this and I will spare you the politics of it. It all comes down to personal relationships anyway. The political is ultimately personal.
The breakdown of a relationship is a painful thing. If you are the one who feels left in the relationship, you may become preoccupied wondering why you do not matter more to the one who left you. Relationships once based on caring and respect should not end in isolation and disregard. It might even make you question the worth of getting into relationships at all if there is a chance that they will end this way.
Picking through the mental rubble of past broken relationships, I can think of a few people I could sing this song to. I can also think of a few people who could sing this song to me and legitimately so. I own that. Sometimes I do not communicate as well as I should about the worth I see in another. Sometimes I become so wrapped up in my own living that I do not see or account for those around me. Sometimes doing that would require me to make myself vulnerable in ways that I do not feel comfortable with in the moment so I put it off for days, weeks, months and even years.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking in the past year about how all the pain that we see in the world or in our personal relationships come down to this: people don’t deal with their own shit. I get it; the existential reality of living is a bitch. It’s still our purpose for being here though. If we can’t deal with our own existential shit, we pass that pain on to other people and expect them to carry our burden. You can become the prime mover of pain, passing your baggage onto another who, in turn, cannot carry their baggage and yours and end up passing their pain onto others.
It is a cycle that continues to spread until someone throws something in the gears and declares that this must stop. It is time for grievances to be forgiven. It is time for compassion to take the place of blame. It is time for connection to take the place of isolation. It is time for healing to take the place of pain. This begins with me. I let go of what was so long ago. It is time.
2 thoughts on ““You Don’t Miss Me” – Americana”
Amazingly written post. Beautiful song. One of my favorite Starflyer 59 tracks. I interpret the lyrics in the exact same way as well.
Thank you, tharpdown! This theme of ruminating about people and the past is a constant theme of early sf59. It is a challenge to think of a new way to approach this theme. I’m glad that it resonated with you.
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