They played that buttmetal cover of “the sound of silence” at my buddy’s funeral last month, complete with music video, up on a big pull down screen over his casket. I enjoy the cover, but it’s hard to take it seriously when the singer makes that angry/constipated face during the more dramatic swings in vocal tone. Not sure how it applied to my old friend, other than the fact that he likely enjoyed the song in life, and perhaps was lead to take his own out of an inability to connect or be heard by others. I’m as unsure of his reasons for doing that as I am his brother’s reasons for playing that song, but I suppose if I bend the context of the words enough I can see how it might be a kind of suicide awareness anthem. There is a type of silence involved leading up to it, and another type all together once they’re gone.
I heard that the original meaning of the song was simply about people not talking to each other, at least in any genuine way, and I find it rather applicable in today’s overwhelmingly disappointing social climate- disappointing at least for those of us who value sincerity over posturing; earnest truth over lawyered statements; freedom of expression over safety of feeling. It wasn’t until this place shuttered, forcing me to go poke around for an acceptable clone, that I realized the incidental value here- as nowhere else was able to capture the particular magic at work. If you are posturing here you’re only posturing to yourself; if you’re censoring yourself for the sake of feeling safe it’s only from yourself that you’re guarding; and if you’re lawyering your responses instead of simply speaking the flat truth, the only person you’re lying to is yourself- all of which is completely pointless and counter productive to fostering creativity, innovative thought, and good mental health. I doubt it’s the only place out there, but right now this is the only place I know that people can speak freely- not just to themselves, but to others- in a world starved of the authentic and the meaningful.