‘Way to Blue’ by Chris Kammerud

When I listened those first dozen times, I didn’t know the names of the songs. I didn’t know from what album they came. What I knew was that those songs were an echo of my heart.

Under the television, behind a couple of cabinet doors, she kept her collection of CDs, a myriad of albums, artists, and mixes. For a time, after she left, she left that collection behind. I guess I knew one day she would come back for it, and she did, but in between when she first left, and when she came and collected everything, I listened, I swallowed, I absorbed, I pushed that music deep, deep down into my soul, holding on to what we had and what I knew we had lost. Among those CDs–so many of them just CD-R’s with the name of an album, artist, or mix written in black marker–were Weezer, Neutral Milk Hotel, Badly Drawn Boy, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and one mix called “The Frantic Panic Mechanics.” The music blurred into a soundtrack for that moment. One of those CDs had a name written on it I had never seen before.

Nick Drake.

When I listened those first dozen times, I didn’t know the names of the songs. I didn’t know from what album they came. What I knew was that those songs were an echo of my heart.

I often describe that time in my life as being both terribly happy and gloriously sad. A broken heart is an open one, some people say. And, there’s something of that contradiction in Drake’s music. Back then, the beauty and sadness of everything echoed loudest from one particular song. In “Way to Blue,” beneath a yearning rainfall of strings, one person asks another to show them all they have to show. To show them the way to blue. It’s brilliantly vague. Blue is nothing and everything. Blue is the colour of the sky. Blue is the colour of sorrow. Blue is the colour of her eyes when she says, I love you and goodbye. Blue is the colour and sound that will break and fill your heart, time and time again.

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Chris Kammerud writes about love and monsters from the heart of London. Follow him on twitter @Cuvols

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