Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It's striking how changing one's mind is not all that unlike progress. It was brought to my attention, after seeing and chuckling at a photograph of Dawson Leary - scrunched and in the middle of a crying jag - being ironically used as someone's Gmail profile image, that once upon a time, I watched "Dawson's Creek" regularly. I argued that the reason was because that's what all the hot chicks were watching during my college years and you were an idiot not to find any reason to hang out in a college dorm room with a pack of pretty co-eds, all watching a teenage soap opera. You know, it plants ideas into minds and some of those might lead into interesting directions. Most, sadly never do, and I was asked if I would ever watch the show again. The answer is, "Never!" of course, but going back to 1997-2002, I would do it all over again. Not sure where that leaves us with our thesis about changing one's mind and progress, but we're hoping that it will all circle back around by the end of this essay. We like giving things a chance to work themselves out.
I started thinking this thought of change in listening to Seattle band Gold Leaves' debut Hardly Art album, "The Ornament." It's a record that circles back on the idea of revitalization and changing course enough to make it an unspoken theme. The dropping off point, before we've even listened to a note of the music, is somewhere in the middle of an autumn, even if we do believe a name to just be a name and nothing else. It's that thought that the once green leaves have outstayed their welcome or they've figured a way out or off these trees that they're getting sick of. Their sap is running more slowly. They're not getting fed as well as they had been earlier in the year and they've determined that they're just going to cut their losses and drop, find fortune elsewhere now that they've got this colorful new glow about themselves.
Grant Olsen, the lead singer and songwriter of Gold Leaves, sings, we're assuming to someone who's exhibiting some hesitation regarding a relationship, "It's okay to change your mind," and the line rung with us. It's as if he gave them permission to do what they actually felt was right inside. They didn't have to be stuck, sad and drowning in a life that they were just trying to salvage the best parts of, but live through the other unsavory pieces, which were many. The band was caught on the road, while out supporting AA Bondy, and there are lovely comparisons that can be made between the two writers, but you always get a sense that Olsen believes more in the future than Bondy does, that it's not going to be such a shit show. He's the "one who gets too low," but there's a feeling here that it won't get all that bad. He references the swift passing of honeymoons and we're left feeling that there's nothing at all wrong with that inevitable passage of time. It's going to get us. It will run us up the pole whether we want it to or not. It would be best if we can just come to our own terms with it, with getting left behind sometimes, with not being coddled so much, with having to shift directions.
Hardly Art Records