Saturday, 5 March 2016
On Song: Daughter 'Doing The Right Thing'
"And they're making children / Everyone's in love / I just sit in silence / Let the pictures soak.."
Between the storm in a teacup that was Essena O'Niel's social media self-implosion and the wider political issues happening in the world at the moment, I've been thinking a lot about mortality - both in the social and in the most literal sense. There no getting around it - it's pretty hard to be human and often, it seems it's especially difficult to be a millennial, shoulders sagging under the weight of expectation.
Millenial culture is a constant dichotomy. Embrace your youth, but make sure to have children before you no longer can. Go to University and get a well-paid job but also travel the world and live your dreams. Play the field but don't get left on the shelf. Project your best self, but show some vulnerability or risk being labelled a show off. We're constantly taught the correct order to do things, conflicting things, and yet somehow if you don't tick them all off you're a failure, and something's missing in your life. It's like comparing somebody's instagram feed to their camera reel - they'll always be outtakes of your best self,.
This stream of consciousness is what flows through the grateful return of Daughter, one of my favourite bands and the soundtrack to a thousand evenings of overthought, of 'what-ifs' and of wobbles in self-esteem. It's marks the sound of a band at their best - Elena Tonra's voice has seen a thousand things, heard a thousand tragedies and come out the other side elegantly heartbroken, a beautiful mess of emotions that hit you so hard it's impossible that some sentiment won't stick.
'Doing The Right Thing' also knows a fear that I myself haven't encountered: parenthood, and indeed, the loss of a parent. There's no real way of getting it right, and it's a responsibility that I'm sure seems ominous to any new mother or father wanting to do the best for their child. On the flipside, there's the resentment that comes from a child left behind after a less than perfect upbringing, which it would't be too much of a stretch to speculate that Elena Tonra might have had. Terrible things can happen despite best intentions; lies can break apart families just trying to shield their children from the horrors of the world, children can grow up too fast at the hands of parents just trying to treat them as equals. There's no such thing as perfect - we can only try as hard as we can and pray that when we leave this world, we'll have left something positive behind.
The video of a man clinging to the final remains of his presumably dead wife unlocks the biggest fears in all of us, the saddest inevitabilities. It reminds us that you can life your best life, do everything the way that seems perfect on paper and yet we're all still going the same way. Parents will decease, friends will pass and lovers will die. We may even lose our own minds. Not a cheery thought, but certainly a sobering one.
'Then I'll lose my children/Then I'll lose my love/ Then I'll sit in silence/Let the pictures soak'