Sometimes a current obsession comes from music released in times passed just southeast of the present yet that music is able to remain still north of your present person. For me, that obsession is David Gray’s 2000 album White Ladder. The true test of an album is its longevity, and longevity is beget from timelessness which comes from cyclical relevance. So the question becomes: Can I relate to the same song I first discovered as a teenager when I’m pushing the precipice of 30? In its moment, White Ladder was mainly defined by the radio hit “Babylon,” but it offers the listener so much more. “My Oh My”, “Nightblindness”, and the song featured here–“This Years Love”–are melancholy, contemplative and wax poetic with every turn. Which is not to say I don’t enjoy “Babylon”; it has its place in my listening routine. It is merely that I’m called more strongly by soft sadness wrought from things come hard, and that has been true since I was a raincloud loving teen taken with the Beat Generation but cursed to live in an inhospitable Southern California climate.
This connection to music, the way certain albums and songs are able to stay with me in a visceral way (a way that quickens a pulse, or soothes an ache), is what I’ve chosen to spend my adult years attempting to dissect and describe. Like here, now. But you know what? Sometimes you just like what you like, and there ain’t nothin’ you can do about it. It speaks, therefore you listen.
I’m listening, David. I’m listening.