365 Days Of Music: Day Two

It’s impossible to ignore the significance of this date to Americans, even if the passing of eight years has faded the immediate connection for you somehow. The events of 9/11 have become one more “Where were you when…?” moment in history, as well as a means of profiteering and a justification of retaliatory terrorism and illegal wars… well, surely, you’ve all heard these points ad nauseum.

But today, let’s put aside all of the political bullshit. People died. A lot of people died. Why they died and what their deaths were used for matters not. Families lost loved ones.

Where was I during 9/11? I was here in the suburbia surrounding Toronto on a university campus. I was actually eating breakfast in a hurry as the planes struck. As I entered class at 10am, I heard surprisingly calm and confused murmurs of a plane crash in New York before the professor began from a student, but our 80-person class was rather unaware.

After class, I slipped into the computer lab to kill two hours before my next class, and found out exactly what that plane crash was. I skipped the rest of my classes, waiting for all of my American friends and my American girlfriend to check in. I remember panic when she told me her residence was down the street from government buildings in her state. I demanded she drive homes to her parents’ house. I finally came home and watched the news between bouts of music. When newcasters stated that Canada was stockpiling blood donations for New York, I booked an appointment to donate the next evening. That donation was surreal: 30 people on cots, blood pumping into bags, as CNN played above the din.

The two songs I latched onto immediately were both by Tori Amos: Not The Red Baron and her cover of Tom Waits’ Time. While Not The Red Baron is more about compassion for the men she was metaphorically torching during the making of Boys For Pele (and by many fan theories, also a tribute to men lost to HIV/AIDS), the imagery of ‘another pilot down’ resonated in a very different way. Time’s solemn message coupled with Tori’s interpretation of it delivered by Death herself, a calling of people home, made that track soothing. Her performance the next night on David Letterman broke me.

On Tori’s 2002 album Scarlet’s Walk, an album about a journey across America primarily written while touring just a month after 9/11, there is a song entitled I Can’t See New York, telling the story of a plane crash, a story so seemingly related to 9/11 that it shocks one to read in her book Piece By Piece (an incredible autobiography/book on the industry/discussion of music creation) that the song was actually written in May of 2001. With its lyrics on death and the declaration ‘from here, no lands are owned’, that song became a staple of the 2002/2003 tour performances. It was the tour I took to the road, seeing 12 shows total, on my own walk in a search to understand myself in this world.

Day Two: I Can’t See New York – Tori Amos

From here
crystal meth
metres of millions
the end
all we have,
soul blueprint.
did we get
lost in it
do we
conduct a
for this

“from the other
from the other
what do they mean side of
what things…

and you said
and you did
and you said
you would find me
here and you said that you would
find me even in Death
and you said
and you said
You’d find me

I can’t see New York
as I’m circling down
through white cloud
falling out
I know his lips
are warm
but I can’t seem
To find my way out
my way out

I can’t see New York
as I’m circling down
through white cloud
falling out
I know your lips
are warm
but I can’t seem
to find my way
my way out
of your hunting ground

In this case, I think it best to let the song speak the rest for me. I highly, highly recommend the entire Scarlet’s Walk album. It speaks of much of what America is, was, and needs to strive to become.

As a bonus, the two songs that accompanied me through 9/11:

Time (Tom Waits) – Tori Amos (Letterman Sept 12/09)
I defy anyone not to be moved by this performance.

Not The Red Baron – Tori Amos (Dallas 2001)
This song is just gorgeous, and live, it’s even better.

One thought on “365 Days Of Music: Day Two

  1. Pingback: Twitted by casket4mytears

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