Pick a favorite song? That’s almost like picking a favorite kid. How am I supposed to choose one over another when every last song by The Airborne Toxic Event holds some memory or meaning?
Is it strange that I can say that about TATE’s music? Every song means something… some songs tie me to more profound moments in my life than others, but still, I have a deep connection to every one of them. So, you would think to narrow it down and say, “This one. This is it. My favorite, the one I would choose above all others,” would be near impossible.
Surprisingly, it’s not, and while there are a lot of very close runner ups (turns out it’s easier to pick a favorite than it is to pick a second favorite song), this song, my number one, stands far above the rest.
“Bride and Groom.”
If you know me or have even briefly spoken to me about my favorite band, you knew which one I would pick before I committed to it in writing. I talk about it, singing its praises, quite a bit.
I remember the first time I heard it. It was one of only a couple of songs that hadn’t been released from Such Hot Blood early. When the full album started streaming, it was the first song I chose to listen to. My reaction was immediately favorable, and it only took a couple listens for my infatuation to develop into full on love. Yeah, I adored “The Storm” and was in absolute awe of “Elizabeth”… but “Bride and Groom” was everything I wanted in a song.
I’ve previously mentioned that I lack any and all skills that would allow me to accurately describe why this song is so perfect to me in an eloquent manner. I don’t consider myself even a casual writer, let alone any one qualified to write about music. Attempting to translate my feelings into words feels impossible at times…. All I know, all that matters, is that the first time I heard it, Anna’s voice coupled with that strumming guitar, my heart rate sped up and I just wanted to bounce and dance.
I still feel that way every time I hear it, and if you ever go to a show with me you’ll see me up there, bobbing away, both hands held high in the air. I dance from the moment Mikel sings the opening line: “This city is haunted by the ghosts of failure, I am one and you are one…” At that moment the song becomes more than you expect it to be. Or maybe it becomes everything you knew it would be. Doing what Mikel does best, he starts to tell a story and makes an impact with his very first line.
What do I take from the story that unfolds? A couple accepting their fate, coming to terms with something they always knew but maybe refused to admit: the fact that they aren’t meant for each other. They won’t last. There’s a realization that they were never good enough for what they had hoped to have and a bittersweet acceptance of that fact.
You can feel the moments of all out passion, as they claw and scream for something just out of reach. You can feel the relief as they stop trying, stop caring and take it for what it is. Stunning ruins, something they can maybe look back on with fondness. It’s no one’s fault; it was never meant to be.
I can’t tell you if this is the story that Mikel had hoped to tell, but this is the story I hear and love. I have never pictured a song so vividly in my mind, and when I picture her dancing around the room, I can see her dancing the same way the music makes me dance, feeling the same way it makes me feel. Carefree, in love with life and everything I have or have had, whether it lasted or not. I’m left feeling content and hopeful.
So there it is. Not a critique or analysis. Nothing groundbreaking or even exceptionally clever. Just a silly love letter to my favorite song. I don’t know if TATE can top it. I don’t think I want them to.
Jamie spends most of her days with her husband as they attempt to raise 4 future TATE fans and all around decent human beings. In her free time, when not obsessively listening to her favorite bands and going to concerts, she is also an aspiring seamstress. She writes about her handmade wardrobe on her blog Such a Strange Girl, and is a regular contributor to This Is Nowhere.