Hey there, everybody! I apologize that this Lone Lyric post is a bit overdue. Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit bogged down with some sort of winter illness and a few other stressful things :/. I’m back, though, and ready for action with this week’s selection, Official by Junip. It was released on the band’s 2010 album, Fields.
The bleak beauty of Official’s slow and droning intro is accented with an unexpected drum rhythm, quietly majestic guitar plucks, and an unusual digital whir. With the help of haunting choir voices, clashing tones, and the detached — yet lovely — croon of lead singer José González, this beauty soon fades to dissonance. This transition parallels the lyrics’ lament over the loss of beauty that occurs when the raw edges of original works are smoothed out “to fit everyone’s taste.”
Following are some semi-deep thoughts inspired by the lyrics:
Ironically, the most beautiful aspects of handwriting are usually perceived to be its flaws — the dollop of ink produced by one too many uses of our failing, but beloved fountain pen, the crossed out word inadvertently repeated in our excited rush to transfer thought to page, the gradual upward slant taken by each line of text despite our most valiant attempt at level perfection. Yes, technically, these are blemishes, but they also act as vehicles conveying little bits of our character.
Therefore, when we eliminate these so-called imperfections in an attempt to make our handwriting more conventionally beautiful, we also begin to remove from it small pieces of ourselves — the unapologetically uncommon characteristics that differentiate our work from everyone else’s and set it alight with true beauty. Ultimately, if we keep subtracting to meet the standard, we wind up with twelve-point, double-spaced, Times New Roman — a mechanically acceptable solution, but one lacking the undiluted beauty and spontaneity of a more original and unprocessed approach.
The song’s message also reminds me of a quote that I shared in this post by photographer, filmmaker, and writer Clayton Cubitt. It was originally featured in this interview by The Great Discontent. In it, Cubitt urges:
Don’t lie about yourself. And never lie to yourself. Find the thing in you that is different, that’s as sharp as a diamond and jagged as a razor. Hone that, because that’s the thing with which you’ll cut the world. If you try to stay safe and soft and average, then you’re going to get lost in the sea of all those other things that look just like you. Find the things about yourself that are weird and cultivate them because, eventually, those are the things the world is going to want to reward you for and that will bring you the most happiness. When you’re young, those are the things that cause you so much pain, but it’s that pain that makes you unique. Own your scars.
It's official now
From exception to rule
From your pen to everyone's mouth
Rewritten and translated
to fit everyone's taste (2X)
The beauty is gone — move on
It's gone — move on
— lyrics via MetroLyrics