Old Friends – Unraveling the Heartache of Hindsight and the Search for Contentment
Over cracks along under the trees
I know this town grounded in a compass
cardinal landed in the dogwood
I keep going over it over and over and my steps iterate my shame.
How come every out come is such a come down? Lately afternoon with the shades drawn
I kept saying I just wanted to see it. Saying “Whats wrong with that?”
Needle shaking out lines in the compass
every out come is such a come down
And I knew it when I saw it
So I did just what I wanted
So I go through with this, I knew happiness when I saw it
I saw your boyfriend at the port authority
It’s a sort of fucked up place
Well so I averted my stride on a quick one
He’s coming back from going over to your place, huh?
I feel like I could forget about it
I feel like I can mellow out, I don’t feel undone in a big way
There’s nothing really bad to be upset about
But when I thought I, was getting better, I woke up on the ground
An appointment oh disappointment a set back, oh another come down
As if I needed a reminder
I do only what I wanna.
So I go through with this
Walking out in the night time spring time, needling my way home
I saw Leah on the bus a few months ago, I saw some old friends at her funeral
My steps keep splitting my grief thru these solipsistic moves
I should call my parents when I think of them
Should tell my friends when I love them
Maybe I should have gone out a bit more,
and you guys are still in town
But I got too caught up in my own shit
It’s how every out come is such a come down
And I knew it when I saw it!!!
Oh, I did just what I wanted
So I go through with this, I knew happiness when I saw it.
I saw it
Pinegrove’s ‘Old Friends’ is more than just a melodic foray into emo-folk; it’s a poignant exploration of regret, remembrance, and the elusive nature of happiness. As the track plays through, each chord, infused with yearning, seems to pull at the loose threads of human experience, unraveling stories of missed connections and personal reckonings.
The lyrics bring to light the challenge of grappling with the ghosts of our past decisions, the weight of self-criticism, and the journey toward accepting the present moment. The song captures a slice of life so authentic and raw, it resonates with the quiet contemplations that haunt us during solitary walks or in the stillness of dusk.
A Labyrinth of Regrets: The Maze of Past Choices
With the intro line, ‘Walking outside, labyrinthine,’ the stage is set on a sinuous path of reflection and rumination. The labyrinth, a symbol often associated with complex journeys and introspection, mirrors the protagonist’s internal conflicts and indecision. It’s this intricate maze of past choices that seem to entangle the narrator, who is incessantly looping through the could-have-beens and should-have-dones.
The mention of the cardinal landing in the dogwood branches beautifully contrasts life’s chaotic wandering with moments of unexpected grace and direction. But nature’s compass isn’t enough to relieve the protagonist’s disquiet as each step ‘iterates’ his shame, and he’s caught in a cycle of contemplating the ‘outs’ and ‘downs’—the pivotal moments and their unintended consequences.
Solipsistic Views: Center of a Personal Universe
‘My steps keep splitting my grief through these solipsistic moves,’ Pinegrove’s lead singer, Evan Stephens Hall, delves into the very essence of solipsism—the idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist, and that there’s an inescapable focus on the self. As the song’s character navigates his grief, every thought loops back to self-centered reflections, highlighting how personal pain can lead to a kind of isolation where the world revolves solely around one’s experiences.
This philosophical slant invites listeners to question not just the protagonist’s narrative, but their relationship with the world and their loved ones. The heartrending realization that they should have expressed love and connected more deeply comes to them too late—only after loss has knocked on their door, reminiscent of an all-too-common human regret.
Nostalgic Heartstrings: The Power of Memory and Melody
In Pinegrove’s soundscape, nostalgia is not merely a backdrop—it is a potent force that intertwines with melody and memory. The protagonist’s encounters with old friends, particularly in the line ‘I saw some old friends at her funeral,’ evoke the piercing pangs of nostalgia and the unsettling feeling of being out of sync with former lives that once felt so integral to one’s own.
The sobering recognition that relationships have faded, and the past can’t be reconstructed, underlies the bittersweet hum of the instrumentals. It’s a reminder of the turbulence steeped within the nostalgia that many chase, often forgetting the double-edged sword of cherishing and mourning yesterday.
The Hidden Meaning: Acceptance in the Midst of Despair
The hidden meaning of ‘Old Friends’ lies not only in its brooding lyrics but in the message that bubbles beneath—acceptance. Even as the song’s narrator grapples with disappointment and the inclination to withdraw, phrases like ‘I don’t feel undone in a big way’ and ‘There’s nothing really bad to be upset about’ suggest attempts to recognize the fleeting nature of these feelings and the importance of moving on.
Acknowledging moments of contentment amidst the downs, even when they’re overshadowed by grief or melancholy, is an endeavor into maturity and emotional resilience. It’s this understated resolution to witness happiness even in its transience, and to continue forward despite it all, that provides a subtle undercurrent of hope through the narrative.
Quotables that Cut Deep: Memorable Lines with Universal Echoes
‘Every outcome is such a come down.’ This simple yet piercing line captures the essence of anticlimactic realization that punctuates much of our human experiences. The poeticism of Pinegrove’s lyrics crystallizes common emotional landscapes into verses that resonate with the collective heart of listeners.
Another gripping refrain, ‘I do only what I wanna,’ is layered in its implications—showcasing a sense of agency and self-determination, while simultaneously underscoring the selfishness and autonomy that can lead to the very outcomes the narrator laments. Such lines assure that ‘Old Friends’ isn’t just a song but an auditory journey into the melancholic reflections that connect us all.