People care about motives. We like to know why things happen. Sometimes "why" is the least relevant question in the world and other times it's the only thing that matters. I don't know why I thought of that just now, other than this…
I was sitting in my office, staring blankly at my laptop, trying to decide which song to write about for today's Verse Chorus Verse. I started tossing out random ideas and one that jumped to my mind was January is almost over. I wonder if there are any songs that have January in the title? I thought about Collective Soul's "December" and Guns N' Roses' "November Rain." As I was cycling through the non-January songs I could think of, I started singing the chorus of Screaming Trees' "Sworn and Broken:" "come January, I swear…" Close enough, right? Besides, I love Screaming Trees and I love that song.
So I queued the song up in iTunes and started to work. I've always loved this song, but it struck me as particularly poignant today. Some may listen and hear "depressing." That's wrong. That's dismissive. It's more nuanced than that. This is a song about regret. It's about the morning after.
Still sound depressing? I guess you have a point. That's why you can't just read the lyrics. You have to listen to the song. It has a somber, elegiac beginning and you might be thinking "here comes another Lanegan grunge-dirge." You keep listening, though, and the song builds. The instrumental break after the bridge — I think it's guest organist Benmont Tench of The Heartbreakers — creates a moment not unlike what you experience when you listen to Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising." The music transcends the song and when Lanegan returns to finish the song, he sounds renewed. You don't hear bitterness or even defiance. He doesn't quite sound happy, but maybe there's just a little hope in his voice.
We all know regret, we all wonder if the end is near, and we all need just a little hope to cling to during those times. I found some tonight, and all I needed was "January."
Screaming Trees – Sworn And Broken (Official Music Video) – Funny videos are here