I wrote a couple of weeks ago about facing a difficult year and trying to slowly write about it. Much of writing about it means facing what happened in my failed marriage. I’m horrible at stuff like that. Luckily, Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra is aces at it.
Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way: even though you can find song lyrics anywhere, I still hate posting someone else’s work, word for word. But to break it down, I kinda had to. Sorry. But, as part of this disclaimer, let me urge you to buy this album. A Black Mile To The Surface is a brilliant piece of work (easily an 8.8 … fuck you, Pitchfork, and the clique you claim) which deserves to be listened to straight through. Remember doing that? Back when we still bought albums. And we’d sit and listen to the whole thing while we read the liner notes. Anybody else remember the liner notes to Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain? Ahhhh … good times. But really. To ease my guilt, go buy this album.
But enough about the downfalls of modern society and the limitations of contemporary musical criticism, let me tell you about that time Andy Hull read my mail.
Let's Get to Explicating!
“The Gold” is the second song off Black Mile To The Surface, and it’s the first of two (along with “The Moth”) (that I know of) songs which got some radio play (well deserved, as should “The Wolf”). So you may have heard it. When I first heard it, although I am a fan of the band, I had not yet purchased the album. I heard it in my car while driving my kids to school. My satellite radio has a feature where I can back up and play a song over. Which I did. Probably ten times in a row.
“The Gold” is about the breakdown of a relationship--the acceptance of the fact that everything of worth has been mined from it long ago.
In a literal paraphrase, the speaker is a wife of a worker in a gold mine. She has watched him go off to work the mine for so long that she has lost any memory of why they keep doing it. Why he keeps digging. Why she keeps waiting on him to come home. She realizes they were living a life of temporary satisfaction. Much like the mine itself, eventually all the gold would be stripped from it, and then everyone has to climb back out and walk away from it.