MUSIC TRACK REVIEW
Artist: The Postal Service
Song: This place is a prison
This is my favorite song by the Postal Service. I love the general dystopian feel of it, and how it eventually climaxes into a driving and masterfully precice drum rhythm.
This Place is a Prison by The Postal Service for me captures the powerful struggle we all endure, simply living on this earth. We rebel against any higher callings in life that is possible for almost any person to answer, even ones we have real cause to believe and hope in; grounded and proved during the course of history and the great actions of heroes and heroines recording in it, as if done to inspire us. We would rather not adhere to any real cause on a regular basis, because it’s just too damn hard, and we are too preoccupied with “everyday life” to change ourself in such a profound way – so we very often retreat from what is truly important, and embrace the distractions instead, clinging to the most basic and instantly satisfying things in life that feed our selfish ego and our addictions, and these immediate attractions pull our strings mightily; wether it be food, drugs, sex, dancing, partying, etc… – we deny ourselves…and it’s not that these things are intrinsically evil (but rather in a proper context of a well-lived life they CAN be good things to integrate into our existence) but we deny ourselves on a deeper level, because we refuse to accept that our decisions and our activities in life are subject to real error. Consider that these same activities in life can reveal profound truth and to know the difference we need to accept an objective standard to judge them properly) OR the error is that we deny objective standards all-together (at the same time objectively deciding this is so…just think about that for a moment…) – or we just choose to ONLY integrate these sorts of things into our life, evaluated or not, and we call it a day. We stop right there.
Why don’t more of us strive to grow every day, learn something new, do something kindhearted, experience something creative and positive? it’s so easy to put ourself into a prison, at the same time pretending we are free, and we imprison others around us under the same illusion that we are exercising some greater freedom by rebuking any judgement or evaluation of ourselves by others; but we are anything but free…these “things” consume our minds, our hearts, until we are changed into something else; someone else who we no longer recognize in both our will and our deeds as the years go by…still waiting to be rescued, “How long must I wait?” we bemoan.
Yet sometimes, some of us caught in this seductive and egotistical circle of self-destruction and pettiness catches a glimpse of the ‘outside’ (those of us who are not wholly lost, being bound as captives in a mad cycle of repetitiously self-destroying habits) we perceive something wondrous out there, “almost too bright to see” – visions that perhaps we lost when when we were very young, something we remember now in only a fleeting way, things like a children’s naivety (before it’s crushed by the spiteful callousness of other more “mature” people), or that heart aching crescendo during your first kiss; feelings you are convinced you can never experience again…
Perhaps we waste too much time perceiving (or ignoring) the kindness of others, the power of genuine grace and mercy in someone’s more developed heart, how they act in a manner we can only envy, but can’t find ourselves trying to actually replicate. Not that many of us would exclaim aloud that feeling any envy for compassion is a strength, it’s not something that lends itself to the braggart, but how many of us would NOT embrace it AS a strength when being recipients of such virtue? Very little I imagine.
Out of this joy, this desire to help others, this need to live for others as much as for ourselves (careful to never sacrifice yourself in the process, and this is KEY, as any extreme altruism is indistinguishable from suicide) comes what it means to BE ALIVE in my humble opinion; it sets us human beings apart from all living things. That is what it means to set free from any prison; to be human. Then why not strive, even struggle, to be a very GOOD human?
This place is a prison*
And these people aren’t your friends
Inhaling thrills through $20 bills
And the tumblers are drained
And then flooded again and again
There are guards at the on-ramps
Armed to the teeth
And you may case the grounds
From the Cascades to Puget Sound
But you are not permitted to leave
I know there’s a big world out there
Like the one I saw on the screen
In my living room late last night
It was almost too bright to see*
And I know that it’s not a party
If it happens every night
Pretending there’s glamour and candelabra
When you’re drinking by candlelight
What does it take to get a drink in this place?
What does it take, how long must I wait?