Wordsmith Wednesday: Do Make Say Think’s “A With Living”

This week’s Wordsmith Wednesday is off of Do Make Say Think’s 2007 album You, You’re History in Rust, from the song entitled “A With Living.”
It reads,
“Lying down beneath the stars alone at last, I rest
feeling right feels good but being right is best
upshooting stars have their effect, perfect things left lain
oft our hands are held as perfect as our sleep
Heavy hearts come hold our hands took at last to understand
that light and dark are rust and all the rest is dust.”
As one of the few Do Make Say Think songs with lyrics, there is a heaviness, a weight, to these words that lull me into a sense of serenity with the weightlessness they are presenting. When I hear this song, in combination with his voice, there is this beauty that puts me at ease. Reminds me that everything in the world is small and malleable and we can make it into whatever we choose it to be.
– KK

Wordsmith Wednesday: Jim Croce’s “Operator”


This week’s words are from Jim Croce’s song “Operator” off his 1972 album, “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim.”

The lyrics are:

“Give me the number if you can find it/
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine/
And to show/
I’ve overcome the blow/
I’ve learned to take it well/
I only wish my words/
Could just convince myself/
That it just wasn’t real/
But that’s not the way it feels”

There’s something elementally Midwestern about Croce’s music to me. He’s at his best when he’s almost apologetically honest and vulnerable, crafting emotionally rich story-telling into something bite-sized. This song in particular with it’s use of one-sided phone conversation as a vehicle to work through the uncertainty and denial of a heartbroken lover shows his ability to navigate lyrical landscapes masterfully, capturing complex emotions and simplifying them enough to make them universal. His loss songs don’t wallow in sorrow, but have a certain accepting wistfulness that make them three dimensional and genuine. I always feel like I’m sharing the room with a straightforward sage when I’m listening to Jim Croce.

– NR


Wordsmith Wednesday: Mitski’s “Your Best American Girl”


The words I want to highlight this week are from Mitski‘s song “Your Best American Girl” from the upcoming album, Puberty 2.

The words are:

“Your mother would not approve/
of how my mother raised me/
but I do/
I finally do”

With lyrics consistently somehow both vague and specific, Mitski Miyawaki possesses the often indefinable skill of great (song)writers: the ability to make you feel as if you’re getting a glimpse of their unique worldview, a piece of their perspective, while simultaneously articulating part of your own inner dialogue in language you hadn’t thought to use yet. These seventeen words strung together this way bring up latent feelings about my upbringing, the angst of being looked down upon because of perception of my class, and ultimately accepting in semi/pseudo-adulthood that I agree with many of the values and sensibilities I was raised with. The beauty occurs when my interpretation is morphed by consideration of Mitski’s gender, race, her stated intentions of the song, and the rest of the song’s lyrics, which completely shifts the meaning and can give me insight into her worldview by attempting to use a different lens when looking at these same words. That’s how art can help you empathize, how words can help you learn.

– NR


Wordsmith Wednesday: Jordaan Smith & the Horse Museum’s “Avalanches”


This week’s Wordsmith Wednesday comes from the song “Avalanches” off of Jordaan Mason’s & the Horse Museum’s album Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head.

It reads:

“But if snow is like skin
It pulls away so easy
Right from the body
What if all stripped wood is branches
And all frozen lakes are water
Then our bodies will be avalanches
Then our bodies will be avalanches.”

These words do not necessarily tell a tale or attempt to concretely describe how one feels in a given moment or remind me of something that I have gone through; what these words do is resonate deep within me a feeling of the beginning. A feeling of the existence of something before a change ensues. He presents us with our own tumultuous past and leaves us to interpret an understanding of how this has molded us into our present selves. His words aren’t necessarily grounded in anything but the nature of our being and what has gotten us there.

– KK