Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Explosions In The Sky - The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

Temporary Residence Limited
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Best of 2003

June 2, 2007

“Everything is going to be okay.”

Walking out of room 401 on a dreary Saturday morning, my SAT II completed, I couldn't help but notice that this was like a scene out of a movie: the sky had been overcast, grey remnants of the massive storm that flooded St. Petersburg the night before, when all of a sudden, the clouds parted to reveal a brilliant sun shining with the intensity of a trillion-trillion incandescent bulbs. Like any self-respecting rising senior in high school, I was accompanied by the ubiquitous iPod, its capacity triple the amount of music in my library, and right then, it was playing me a song.

It was playing me a song so perfect, so fitting, that any chance of ever obtaining an objective, critical appreciation of it was instantly thrown out the window. The strings were plucked delicately as a kick drum beat out the pulse of a human heart, the pulse of my heart; another guitar joined in, dancing, twinkling in its minor key; a rudimentary snare roll finally made its way onto the scene, a sound, military in any other context, instead coming off as serene and peaceful. Perhaps peaceful is the wrong word to use, as it denotes something passive; rather, the sound of the drum was pacifistic, so active was the separation from its militant demesne.

Last night was wonderful: I saw a brilliant Judd Apatow comedy with a beautiful girl, and after, the sky poured forth a massive torrent that seemed to wash away the past, the complications, the self-imposed barricade that had stopped me from “just fucking kiss”-ing her. It was summer, I was cleansed, I was happy.

The track reached its apex and the clouds came back. This was real life, after all, and not a dream. The sky would not stay bright forever. But that sun shone brilliantly for 9 minutes and 33 seconds, and hope sprang. The song was First Breath After Coma; the album The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place; the artist Explosions In The Sky.

Everything was going to be okay.

June 22, 2007

The second official day of summer found me at work, like I had been for the last 4 weeks, and would be for the next five. The pay was decent ($10.50 an hour), and the conditions were certainly reasonable, my time split between a rather spacious cubicle and an isolated, enclosed server room from which I “did tech support stuff” (this generally amounted to talking on AIM, reading Pitchfork, or browsing Digg). Nepotism got me this job a year ago, my mother working two floors up, but it was my own mediocrity that earned me an invitation back. I was supposed to be learning, just a lowly intern, and yet the only thing the last 2 summers had taught me was that I had no desire whatsoever to work in the Information Technology sector. Everybody seemed to hate their cushy support-desk jobs, and constantly bitched about this fact, all day, every day. Whenever this happened, I would retreat to the sanctuary of the server room to dial up some instrumental music on Pandora and forget the world. On this particular day, the internet decided to play me The Only Moment We Were Alone – an interesting choice:

The only moment we were alone was three weeks ago, and I haven’t seen her since. Now she’s on a plane to New England. Little do I know – little does she know, really – that while there she will meet the boy she thinks is the love of her life. A voicemail is my only memento (“I wanted you to be the last person I called from Florida!”), and I am alone in my resolve that things will all work out.

Everything will be okay.

November 6, 2007

“I want you to listen to something.”

“No, I just want to go inside.”

“But I really think you m-“

“No, I don’t feel like being anywhere today but in bed, in the dark. Alone.”

“Look, I know you’re sad, I know he broke your heart, I know how you-“

“No! Don’t tell me you know how I feel! How dare you tell me that you know how I feel!”

“Oh right, because you have the monopoly on broken hearts, is that it?”

She jumps out of my dark blue 2003 Nissan Maxima, and with an “I hate you!” slams the door in fury.

The song I so wanted her to hear was one that had both haunted and uplifted me for months. Haunting, because through its ups and downs, its peaks and troughs, its loud and soft dynamics was chronicled the tragedy of the Russian submarine Kursk, a vessel that sank in the Barents Sea (all 118 lives were lost); uplifting, because it always had a way of making my “troubles” seem small in comparison.

He broke her heart, she’s breaking mine.

Still, it might all be okay.

December 2, 2007

It is 1:16 on a Sunday morning, and I am driving home from her house. There is hope: things are like they were six months ago, and I am steadfast in my determination to not “be an asshole and fuck everything up”. Unlike six months ago, the song in the background is completely antithetical to the moment.

Memorial? A memorial for what? Whose death am I mourning? I’m happy. I’m fucking happy. I’m really fucking happy!

Well, maybe it’s honoring something of monument – a sign of reverence, not grief. I guess it would be self-centered to say that recent developments were monumental per se (at least not to anyone but us). Still, they’re at least worthy of some note, if not a full-blown memorial.

This seems like a bit of a stretch, even to me. I settle for the fact that Steve Jobs is not psychic, and thus his product can’t always conjure up a number that fits perfectly within life’s running soundtrack.

I don’t even know what ‘it’ is, but I swear to God I’m going to do it right this time.

Everything isn’t going to be okay; everything already is okay.

December 26, 2007

On the day after Christmas, I drove up to my friend John’s house. She was back up north for the holidays, so I didn’t have anywhere else to go. Plus, I really wanted to play Rock Band, which John had received from Santa the day before.

Tuckered out from 6 hours of strumming and drumming, we relocated our two-person party to the Hooters five minutes from his house, delighting in the voluptuous women and bounty of greasy chicken. The night was young, so for further amusement we travelled downtown to catch No Country For Old Men. It was, of course, excellent (It won ‘Best Picture’ at the Oscars, for Christ’s sake!) But the focus was on the coming attractions, specifically a trailer for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

“This looks fruity, a bit too artsy for my tastes,” I opined.

“Yeah, I know what you mean…” agreed John, “Hey, wait a minute…that song!”


“Is that…is that Explosions In The Sky?”

“I-I think it is! That’s Your Hand In Mine.”

It's been weeks since I last felt your hand in mine, and that's entirely too long. I know I screwed up, but, Jesus, nobody loves you more than I do. Just be with me!

Be. With. Me.

I suddenly possessed a strange desire to see this film which seconds before had held no appeal – such was the swaying power of a song so overwhelming in its, for want of a larger vocabulary, beauty. Our heroes of West Texas could not have prayed for a better way to close their magnum opus.

We’ve always been alright before, there’s no reason why we won’t be alright this time. Everything’s going to be okay. Everything’s going to be okay. Everything’s going to be okay.

Everything’s going to be okay.

July 5, 2008

It’s summer, which means she’s in New England, again. Things never worked out, and I guess they’re not going to. It’s moot anyway, because I’m leaving in little over a month for college in upstate New York, and she’s still got her senior year of high school down here in good old Florida. Soon we’ll lose touch, she’ll forget about me, and I, in turn, her. I guess everything will be okay after all, albeit for different reasons than I had anticipated.

Those four Texans were right: the Earth is not dead. It is, in fact, alive. It is not, however, alive with the glory of love, as Max Bemis might have you believe.

No, it is alive with people, with human beings, their pulse regulated not by bass pedals, but by beating hearts. It is alive with coworkers, nagging and moaning and complaining about their lot in life, content to nag and moan and complain and not do a god damn thing about it. It is alive with incurable dreamers, the eternal optimists who interpret the break in the clouds as hope, see the sun as a message of perseverance, and will themselves to believe that everything will turn out okay in the end, despite all evidence to the contrary. It is alive with girls, using their issues as both a crutch and an excuse, willing to lead you on, string you along, and ultimately break your heart without a second thought. The Earth is alive.

The Earth is not a cold, dead place.

Key tracks:

All of them.

1. First Breath After Coma
2. The Only Moment We Were Alone
3. Six Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean
4. Memorial
5. Your Hand In Mine
(Click to download)


  1. Hmm, I'll have to download this then, huh? I'll get back to you.

  2. i can reupload those songs if you want? or i can just upload the whole album to sendspace and e-mail you

  3. I can only obtain 3 of the 5 songs, and I think one of them was live or some recording other than the studio recording. Can you post all five to download, preferably the studio recordings? I've read that each song flows into the next so, I'd like to hear the composite piece altogether. My email is

  4. I must say, you're a good writer. Your words seem to flow very smoothly and it is enjoyable for me to read. Gives me some motivation to continue writing my own "things". Thanks.

  5. thank you very much for the kind words

  6. I completely share your view points when it comes to this topic. I thought I was the alone who maneuver such a thinking process. But yeah finally I have got a company. Let's search more on this and share over her. What say??