July 30, 2008


When the chasm of human experience feels unbridgeable, and the past is keeping you like the stocks, and there is no absolution to be had, no forgiveness to salve you, and the world feels too much in it's infinite newness and it's midnight and people are screaming and feeding babies ranch flavor chicken fingers from a bucket, when all you see is difference and a long string of your own unqualified failures, there is Van singing "Lay me down / in silence easy / to be born again / to be born again". There is so much wanting in "Astral Weeks" but it's not desperation, it's all vessel; it's faith enough to cover us all. He waits until to 4:55 to slip the big one, "I'm nothin but a stranger in this world" --after he's sung all this future-hope, he's just fucking untangled joy over pipping flutes-- Here, he flashes his wretch-like-me makings, and dovetails his abyss with deliverance--there is something beyond this---"way up in the heaven" --"in another time/in another place"--he sounds like he's about to giggle he's so delighted, he's so sure. It's fine, fixed sureness, an easy sureness when he repeats it this last time, in this final ecclesiastic glee coda. He has all the reasons not to believe, but he does. The buddhists say hope is a trap, it's a set up for suffering, but the hope in this song, it is free, it drags nothing with, it is only onward, onward in love and frailty.

Posted by Jessica at July 30, 2008 11:33 AM | TrackBack