Lower thoughts, lower ways.

Category: On Music

Tow’rs – Swelling Sea

Patience is key, my friend. Let’s wait. All in time, the song says. All in good time.



When it’s all you’re feeling, it’s all you hear.

Or just the result of listening to Switchfoot twenty-five hours a day.

Is this what they call freedom?
Is this what you call pain?
Is this what they call discontented fame?

It’ll be a day like this one
When the world caves in
When the world caves in
When the world caves in

Switchfoot – The Blues

Hallelujah, I’m caving in
Hallelujah, I’m in love again
Hallelujah, I’m a wretched man
Hallelujah, every breath is a second chance, yeah

And you haven’t lost me yet
No, you haven’t lost me yet
I’ll sing until my heart caves in
No, you haven’t lost me yet

I made my mistakes
I seen my heart cave in
I got my scars
I been to hell and back again

Switchfoot – Dark Horses

When a band you love sings about a film you love, blog it.

There are epiphanies that strike a chord in a human being and make it reverberate for a while.

There are the elements of a narrative that a lot of people don’t usually interpret at first glance — the significance of a falling leaf in a heartbreak story or the deliberate close-ups of circular objects in a movie that doesn’t resolve. Sometimes, as we replay conversations with close friends, there are repetitive words spoken that link us to a specific event in a person’s history — incessant self-praise to make up for an attention-deprived childhood, being apologetic at petty misgivings to someone because of not having been forgiven by another person, and so on. We see these links that we didn’t immediately catch and we marvel as if we discovered new ground or found clues to a parcel’s secret sender.

My most recent ‘epiphanic connection’ is the reference of The Fray’s “Vienna” to Linklater’s “Before Sunrise”. (Disclaimer: Spoilers abound throughout the rest of this post).

I’ve been listening to the song for four months now while I’ve only seen the film last month. It wasn’t until about my 30th listen, a month after I watched the film, that two nerve cells containing two of my favorite things realized they had a junction. Why it took that long, I don’t really know, but we can always blame nerve cells for failing to connect at the ideal times. There’s just so much work going on in there maybe. Maybe too, there’s just nothing there for a time.

The bridge of the song woke me up out of that analytical slumber:

Maybe in five or ten years we’ll meet again
Straighten this whole thing out

Sometimes people need to be reminded of an obvious and specific detail like “five or ten years” to connect the dots. The film ended with Jesse and Celine agreeing to see each other again in 5 years then realizing it was too long so they cut it to 1 year and then to 6 months. Recognizing a connection usually starts with something concrete like this. After briefly remembering the scene, I went back to the first stanza for confirmation

The day’s last one-way ticket train pulls in

Their first and last scenes were in a train and at the train station. This form of transportation has its own romance to boast of. In this film it was used conventionally as a place to meet someone new through a conversation and conventionally too, as a symbol for waiting and anticipation.


We smile for the casual closure capturing

One of the most adorable parts of the film was the scene where they stood, held hands and stared at each other to capture  a photo of the other in their minds. This was before the emotional train station scene and after they waltzed to the soft music of a harpsichord. It was their ‘last dance’.


There goes the downpour

It didn’t rain in the film (my friend and I expected it to) and I think this addition to the song is one way of making it sound even more romantically pensive. It had to build the emotion in a shorter time than a film could afford in an hour and a half.

Here goes my fare thee well

Jesse and Celine exchanged goodbyes in what could be the most memorable and expressive faces I’ve seen on TV. As expected of a talkie film, the close-ups showed every etched wrinkle and furrowed brow, every anxious frown and deep-set pairs of eyes.


There’s really no way to reach me
There’s really no way to reach me
There’s really no way to reach me

The chorus repeats this line three times, making the voice doubtful of his own statement (as in when spelling a word a hundred times it becomes alien). Jesse and Celine decided to meet again at the same time and place 6 months after but with the condition that they would not communicate in any way until the meeting.

Inarguably, the most telling detail in the song is its title. It felt like a blow to my intelligence not realizing the reference sooner as I would have wanted but each discovery, whatever the circumstance, is delightful. It is also quite thrilling to know that The Fray loves this film enough like (maybe even more than) I do to have written a song about it.

I am comforted by the film director’s last name, “Linklater”, as if he was born with that name to tell us that not all working light bulbs turn on at the instant that the switch is flipped. That’s an easy connection one can immediately see.