Ben Gibbard's candy

After a whirlwind week last week, driving around the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan; around the Traverse City and Bay area, and a visit to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, I was glad to get back home. I loved the time away; the way that I felt that we were very alone and desolate in the woodsy area where the cabin is located; the memories from childhood that flooded back just by looking at the fire pit, walking the stairs down to the dock that overlooks the Manistee River, even the smell of the pine needles-all this was able to return me to my 11 year old self and the summer that I thought I saw a glimpse of the world for the first time.

Saturday after our arrival back I had to work at the library, so I sent Nathan off to explore the cultural area of Detroit, which is the area around Wayne State University that includes the Detroit Public Library’s Main Branch, C.C.S. (Center for Creative Studies), the African American Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts (D.I.A.), the Detroit Science Center, and the Children’s Museum. Nathan chose to visit two exhibits that I too am looking forward to visiting soon: “Our Body,” a display on the human body at the Detroit Science Center, and the Ansel Adams photography display at the D.I.A.

After eating dinner in Detroit’s Greek Town district Nathan and I walked across town to the Majestic Theater for the Ben Gibbard concert (Gibbard is the front man of both bands: Death Cab for Cutie-pictured right and The Postal Service-pictured left). The opening acts were mediocre, but Gibbard was awesome. I have grown accustomed to liking an artist only to see them in concert and be disappointed due to all that the music industry does in the recording studio to make an artist sound better. Not so with Gibbard-he was even better than his CDs, which are among my favorites in my collection.

Gibbard’s lyrics vary from hauntingly sad-as though he had a backseat to so many moments of a collective time of fear, sadness, or angst caused by love, from an entire generation-to fun, fast, clever lyrics pointing out the obvious in the wittiest ways.

From one of my favorites: “I do believe it’s true That there are roads left in both of our shoes If the silence takes you Then I hope it takes me too So brown eyes I hold you near Cause you’re the only song I want to hear A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere” –Death Cab for Cutie lyrics from “Soul Meets Body”

When Gibbard sang the song, "I'll follow you into the dark," a Death Cab for Cutie song from their album, "Plans," which was released in 2005 (one of the best birthday presents I have ever gotten-thanks Nathan!) the crowd was suddenly quiet, as though stunned by the beauty of the song and its lyrical expressions of such a lovely concept of love. Nathan and I were talking about the audiences reaction to the song, on our way home, and I likened the song to this fictional candy called the "Littmus Lozenge," from the children's book Because of Winn Dixie. It is candy that tastes like strawberry and root beer and something else, something akin to sadness. The librarian (eh, eh), who gives it to Opal, the books heroine, tells her that only people who have experienced true sadness can taste that quality in the candy. That was exactly what Gibbard's live version of "I will follow you into the dark," was like. I think the audience suddenly became so hushed because, like Opal, we all tasted something sad and nostalgic in the song. Maybe for those few minutes we were all rolling the musical candy across the stretch of our memories, like candy rolls around in your mouth...just sweet enough.

For more info on Ben Gibbard:


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