Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It's one of the thoughts that we try to brush away as quickly as it approaches. It's that thought of who's going first, how we're going to go, when it's all gonna happen and what's going to happen then. The whole death thing never gets easier to think through, no matter how old you get. You might just get worn down by the conversation, but it's ever-present thought pulsing through you is a constant reminder that everything about you is aging in an irreversible way. Everything is breaking down and decaying, one day at a time, and somewhere along the way, even the most freakish thing could turn all the lights down for good and the decaying would accelerate toward its ultimate finality.
The words that Jukebox The Ghost singers Ben Thornewill and Tommy Siegel and drummer Jesse Kristin put their name and music behind are those that come from those who find great illumination in the thought of death - as if the real potentiality of falling victim to the ticking time bomb of nothingness or whatever's coming was something that burned in them like a good long run. It's something that wears them out and invigorates at the same time. They're returning to dust, whether they like it or not and there's something impossible to ignore about that notion, that knowing that it's coming. In a perverse way, it almost makes a person giddy for it's at that point, when everything you've ever done that's worth a damn gets stacked up and then boiled down to fit in an obituary that could be the first time you were featured in the papers since your birth announcement.
It's about making it good and Jukebox The Ghost sings, "At a minimum, we all deserve a unique exit from this world/ If you're there God/See to it," on "Dead," a song that wonders about whether a person even knows that they're dead, or if it just feels like a sloppy segue. There are spiritual allusions littered throughout the songs that the New York band recorded in this session from earlier in the year and the general theme is that it's a rough way of going through life - the whole living thing. It's not the death part that's the worst of it. They're not suggesting that anything's really all that bad, but "from adulthood, no one survives." It turns out that there are too many things to have to worry about. There are too many people that are going to have to be owed apologies and that can get taxing. They sing on "The Spiritual," "Some walk quiet and some walk loud/Sometimes people yell/But they don't know what they're yelling about/I've said things I didn't mean/But I'd already said them out loud." Forgiveness comes sweetly, from the ashes that get walked upon or splashed around in the open sea.