Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Eliza Niemi - 'Staying Mellow Blows'

This is a travel song. Eliza needed to get out town, so she traveled from Toronto to California and back, and over the course of this summer on the road she weaves in and out of what seems like a relationship or what seems like what might as well be a relationship to one if not both of the people involved. The narrative is opaque and full of references to things only the people there that summer could identify, and in so much is incredibly vivid. It is the mythology we all have for our lives, with our own little Iliads and Canterbury Tales. It is the same type of thing as me remembering that the day I first fell in love was October 28th, 2006.

I don’t travel. I was born in New York. I’ve lived in New York my whole life. I don’t go to places that aren’t New York, with the exceptions of Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania. When people express their desire to go to other places it confuses me. Like, “You want to go somewhere other than New York? Okay, random!” 

From what I can gather the impulse to travel comes from the same place as my impulse to stay put. Being local is comforting to me because I can plan my life around it. I know at X I’m going to be doing Y and in 5 days I'll be in Z. The rigidly linear nature of tour seems to force this way of living on people. I’m going to sleep here and I’ll poop there. We think we are managing our time and our space, but what we are  doing in truth is trying to manage ourselves. You can create a box to store your life in, or you can set yourself free, but either way it is only a story you tell yourself.

At the end of the song Eliza plays a homecoming show, and even though she instructed this man not to talk to her she spent the night looking to see him in the crowd. She doesn’t say if she found him, and I don’t think it matters.