I had chills this morning, and they weren’t because of Chicago’s unseasonable frost warning. They came, instead, from listening to “Poke” off the 2008 album Midnight Organ Fight from Scottish indie-rockers Frightened Rabbit. The album is a colossal breakup album with songs that swing funny, angsty, defiant and, in the case of “Poke,” downright movingly sad.
Why won’t our love keel over as it chokes on a bone?
We can mourn its passing and then bury it in snow.
Or should we kick its cunt in and watch as it dies from bleeding?
If you don’t want to be with me, just say and I will go.
I saw “Poke” performed last night at the Frightened Rabbit concert at Metro here in Chicago. It was the first song of the band’s encore and was played with just lead singer Scott Hutchinson on stage, under the barest of lighting with a simple acoustic guitar. As the slow song progressed, Hutchinson let out his witty lyrics, but lyrics dripping with a touching sadness. At the climax, he stepped away from the microphone and cut the amp on his guitar. The house silenced to hear his quiet cooing of “ooh-ooh-oooh” and to feel the hurt that the song conveys.
We can change our partners. This is a progressive dance,
But remember it was me who dragged you up to the sweaty floor.
Well this has been a reel.
I’ve got shin splints and a stitch from weaving,
But like a drunken night, it’s the best bits that are colored in.
Perhaps it is that the song hits too close to home for me. I was recently on the receiving end of a messy and crushing breakup after a relationship of 8 years. Like the lyrics, I could feel things disintegrating, but held on despite.
Should look through some old photos.
I adored you in every one of those.
If someone took a picture of us now they’d need to be told
That we had ever clung on tight, and maybe not with arms at night.
“I’d say she was his sister, but she doesn’t have his nose.”
I have felt sad and depressed at times over the last eight months and have dealt with it in different ways. I’m convinced the breakup brought back my dormant childhood asthma and led to a number of aimless, melancholic walks through various parts of the city. I talked to very few people about it and there are a number of my friends who still don’t know the whole picture. I’ve been tough. It must be my natural defense; I don’t know since I’ve never needed it before.
And now we’re unrelated. And rid of all the shit we hated,
But I hate when I feel like this
And I never hated you.
The live version I link to below sounds a bit sadder than the album version. (And that’s why I picked it.) If you get too bummed out by it, just let the track keep playing since “Poke” is followed by the more upbeat “The Modern Leper.”