“When You Feel the Mess” – Gold

Now we are closing out the Mess trilogy. I call it thus because, obviously, the word “mess” is used liberally in these songs and they are played in order. The less obvious reason is something I’m curious about. As one of the readers pointed out earlier, we can just assume that the entire Gold album is about JM breaking up with Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer. It is interesting to note that their This Beautiful Mess LP was released the same year as Gold – 1995. This gets my X-Files loving, “everything is connected” brain working and I wonder if these songs were a sort of coded message that’s out in the open for all to see but for few to comprehend.

Speaking of not comprehending, I’m mostly at a loss with these lyrics. I can usually find at least one line in a song that I can hang my hat on and work with but not so much with this one. We have a singer who is well acquainted with feeling “the mess” and someone else who doesn’t understand that way of being and, therefore, doesn’t know the singer well. We are told that “it’s easy when you know”. What’s easy? Is it understanding who the singer is? Do we have to share the same “mess” states to be able to understand and know each other? I hope that’s not true.

Maybe I’m seeing things this way because I have just returned home from a family reunion. It was with a branch of the family I don’t know that well. There were only a handful of people there that I knew. I did see a guy in his early 60’s sporting a very particular and epic type of mullet called “The Kentucky Waterfall” (that’s were the top is feathered back and the back is permed in tight curls and at least shoulder length). I was acutely aware that no one there would understand me because they do not encounter any of the mess I deal with on a daily basis. It occurs to me that I cannot understand their mess either. For real, what kind of mess is mullet guy dealing with that lead him to the hair styling option he chose? I can’t even begin to know.

The music on this one is slow with a 50’s vibe. The distortion on the outro solo reminds me of distortion that blues players like Memphis Minnie were using in the early 50’s. The slide solo in the middle reminds me a bit of slide guitars that you would hear on Patsy Cline’s excessively produced, sad songs from the early 50’s. I wonder if JM ever heard “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray”? It could have been his theme song for the relationships he was dealing with in the Silver and Gold eras. The more I listen to this, the more I think this is just a country tune with shoegaze sensibilities.