love letter to “david comes to life”

by s.

And so I walked out of the music business with my imaginary guns still smoking behind me; I blew the dust off their triggers and slung them back in the holsters and there was only room for me in this town. I was all alone and proud of it.

Then I went and fell in love on the A train to Rockaway Beach.

I am talking, of course, about the new Fucked Up album. You’ve heard it by now, I am sure you have heard it; I am certain I was the last person in the world whose ears it graced. I had their last record. I left it in a bin of CDs I didn’t want to bring with me when I quit my last job. Now I wonder what it was that was wrong with my ears at that time.

A lot of really smart (thanks NPR) and really good (thanks The Onion) things have been said about this album, “David Comes To Life.” I am neither really smart nor really good, and so I do not feel beholden to saying those things. What kind of love letter talks about political activism and death?

It is difficult, though, to talk about music and talk about your feelings. It is even more difficult as a female, because it has been long discussed that girls feel music and boys critique it. It is hard to argue this, because I do not ever want to “un-feel” music.

Know these facts, I guess, if you don’t want to read anything else on the subject: “David Comes To Life” is a concept album in three parts. Boy factory worker meets girl; love happens; political uprising happens; girl dies before the love has a chance to; boy is stuck with the perfect memory of girl and also there are some ex-girlfriends and antagonist characters to worry about. Honestly? Honestly? This is fantastic and real and all makes sense with the band’s aesthetic and the feel of the record, and when you know the plot and are paying attention, you get it. It unfolds beautifully. It is cerebral in addition to being sonically perfect.

Here is the thing that people won’t tell you, lest they sound like people who feel music instead of critiquing it: it could be otherwise. The band could have been a different kind of band, and the press release could say something like “he broke up with a girl and he went to the woods and made a record about it.” This album could be that album and you would not blink, because it is at base heartwrenching.

It is heartwrenching, however, in the best possible way, which is to say – simply because I haven’t mentioned it yet – that it is a punk record.

And so I fell in love on the A train and we walked in the beach in the sand, and that at least two weeks ago now and I have to honestly say I have not listened to another full album in that time because “David Comes To Life”, you are perfect, and you would be even if you weren’t perfect in all of the ways that the smart and the good people know that you are.