Is there such a thing as too much honesty? Is the truth the problem or is it our ability to handle it? Maybe truth is like the sun. We can't look at it directly for long without a barrier to shield us? It's a description Mark Lanegan uses on his song "Bombed."
I see the smoke from a revolver
Will I get hit? I hardly care
When I'm bombed I stretch like bubblegum
and look too long straight at the morning sun
The narrator sees the bullet coming and isn't even sure he cares. He doesn't exactly have a death wish but may not have a life wish, either. I always seem to reach for this song when I'm feeling picked apart or hopeless. It's indulgent self-pity, to be sure, but I also take a small measure of hope from it.
"Bombed" feels like a solar flare of raw, uncomfortable honesty and the only barrier he gives us is its brevity. At 69 seconds, he makes Joey Ramone seem like a prog rocker. It takes only 69 unflinching seconds to expose so much. The prose and music are stripped bare. The voices sound like they could break at any moment. It's an acoustic guitar, Lanegan, and his now ex-wife singing. It's delicate and so ugly it's almost pretty. Even at 69 seconds, sometimes it's all just a little too much to take.
It's not the kind of song you listen to while driving to get a fast food burger. It's the kind you save for just the right moment when it's the only song in the world that makes sense.