Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Given such a short amount of it, it's really no wonder how occupied with the thought of the great span of time and how minutes can feel like hours and how years can feel like seconds. It's a crippling concept to make any sense whatsoever out of, especially maybe when it feels like we're on the lighter side of our elapsed time. It's as if when we're younger, our skin's more elastic and our hair's thicker and still looks good longer - like we're not compliant with authority and we're living the lives we were always meant to lead - we can make our pained expressions about how time's moving too slow, or we could get philosophical and start waxing about how every day is gruesomely and depressingly just one day closer to the grave and the patch of cemetery ground/roofing that will be home from there on out.
Jarrod Gorbel, the lead singer and songwriter for the Honorary Title, is one of those guys on the lighter side of time - young and virile - and yet he may just have what some people call an old soul, one that's been lived in already, maybe has some worn out knees, some poorer eyesight and with a persistent smoker's cough. It might just be what gives him the need to examine the idea of fleeing time and of losing it in the least likely of places. It's here one day and then just gone, like a storm shower. It's a scary enough thing to make him hunt for ways to console himself through the implications that just letting the years and the people in them who make them special in the least slip away have on a person.
"How Long?" from Gorbel's just released, debut solo EP, is a devastating reminder of time fucking with at least two different lives, if not more. It seems to be a story of a young man and a young woman singing to one another about the difficulties of growing up and into a solid relationship that will survive the test of time. We have a young woman who is ready to settle down and be that wife to her man and we have a young man who cannot commit to settling down yet. It seems like it's just another case of an immature guy afraid to take that next step in a relationship, not seeing the point of finally making that decision to become a monogamous man when his young age continues to insist that he sow more of those wild oats that he's got coming out of his ears, burning holes in his pockets. But it's not the song of a man eschewing the idea of settling down at all, but actually presenting it as his greatest hope. This is the woman that he wants to marry. This is the woman that he wants in his arms and she's the one that he wants to see again - as soon as possible - when they part. It's a touching reminder that often two minds and two hearts still need time to wander and to be reckless, even when they've come to the conclusion that they've always wanted. The man in "How Long?" is confused by time, not seeing it as getting out of hand or of leaving him for good with a cold and limp relationship in his hands, unable to ever be revived.
As touching and pretty as the sentiment, the song sounds like it's definitely going to have a bad ending for this young man. The woman that he misses, that he pines for, is not going to wait around for him. There's no time for putting everything else on hold. The future is now and it's also aged. Gorbel shapes these countered ideas about the passage of time and how it kicks or bites us in the ass far too often, with a country singer's grace and the delusional romanticism that it can all be controlled. But the young man always loses against time.