It takes appreciating the unbearable cruelty of luck and life, sometimes. It takes appreciating the unbearable properties of whatever it is out there that decides to have it in for certain people on certain days - bringing that hopeless, dark fog out for a walk and somehow letting go of the leash so it just runs off in attack mode, looking for the first possible victim. A heart feels a lump of disappointment, of deadness, that just wants to sob a little.
The songs that Stars lead singer Amy Millan sings are feelings that grow out of pools of tears. They are slings thrown over broken wings and heavy hearts. They come from those places where you're looking skyward, feeling small and vulnerable, peering up at a huge amount of air and silence with moony eyes and shaky hands. It's as if you're there, wanting to wrap your arms around your own shivery arms to protect from a winter cold in the dead of summer. It's a warmth that only the coldest and harshest winds and temperatures can bring on. It takes a while to be fine with, but you eventually do and you're less likely to be caught so unprepared in those sinister winds again. Though, as we hear in these lovely songs, preparation is usually futile and carefulness is folly. You will get hurt and you will be disappointed over and over again. You will love the wrong one. You'll die a little and live a lot. You'll find that your scars are your best friends, like it or not.
*Essay originally published December, 2010