Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs
It's the worst -- that slow dwindling of a love, of an intimate connection that then becomes a steamroll. It's as if you're looking at a building, a tall skyscraper, that's relatively healthy, you'd suspect from a distance. It's not leaning and it's not falling apart. It's standing tall, but it's gotta come down. It's been marked for demolition and it has a death date. The area below has been cleared for safety and the countdown begins. You see the bottom pillars clipped at the knees and then you hear the slightly off sequence of explosions, along with the dust and some flying concrete. The top of the building starts to come down slowly at first, as if paused in the wake. Within a few more seconds, the once proud structure is toppling straight down, 12 floors at a time, just eating up the fall. To watch these sorts of demolitions, it's amazing how systematic and how orchestrated they can be.
These buildings, with the appropriately placed sticks of TNT, can come down precisely and predictably. We know how they're going to start, what's going to happen next, what's going to happen in the middle parts of the process and how it's all going to wind up - with that swamping of dust and grit and a whole bunch of nostalgia, even if it is just a building. The same thing happens with people, only they don't get loaded into dump trucks, taken to some smasher and ground into refurbished rock and used again for another project. A building can come down and we can marvel at how empty or how much more of the scenery we can see now that we don't have that building to look at, but with another person, there is always that nagging thought that they're going to come back around or that you're going to bump into them, when you least expect it. They haven't gone anywhere and neither have you. You just don't share the same kitchen and furniture. Your mouth still remembers their mouth and those sorts of things are harder to deal with. They cannot be reconciled, but people tend to fall the same way as buildings. The beginning of the end is something silent, but there, then the slow fall, then the floodgates and the reeling heads.
Marketa Irglova, part of the band The Swell Season and star of the motion picture "Once," couldn't agree more. Nor couldn't she agree more that the parts afterward are those that are the most punishing. They are the parts that make you hurt so badly, so deeply. The piano ballads that make up her debut solo album, "Anar," are touching displays of where a heart is after all of the smoke and dust has settled completely out of the air and emotions have calmed down to eerie levels - especially after all that's just happened. The thump of the body hitting the ground is still felt and there's a hollow ringing that's deafening. On the most brutal, but potentially transformative song on the album, Irglova sings, "Hold me tight, but just for tonight/But not as tight as before/We're not that close anymore/At least not in that way/We've drifted further with each day/We've waited it out just to see/If we could love one another casually/I've been a good friend to you/I've always been there for you," on "For Old Time's Sake." It's cutting and it's biting and it's a woman fumbling around in the darkness for the answers she needs, for the conclusions and the closure that likely will never come. It's just about passing time in a totally different way, from now on.