– Length: 3:36
– Originally released on: The ’59 Sound (August 19, 2008)
– Samples: Iron & Wine – “Such Great Heights”
No they ain’t supposed to die on a Saturday night…
Dierdre didn’t die on a Saturday night. But that didn’t make it any fairer.
Since graduating from my public relations program in 2006, I’ve lost two of my classmates to cancer. The first, Lynn, was fighting her fight before the program ended, and was consciously aware of how little time she had left. Her passing was sad, but not sudden. Dierdre’s, though, was a shock. In writing this post, I went back through the email thread of notices and updates I received on her condition – the entire timeline from the news of her leukemia to her funeral was a month.
I was never really close to D, certainly not as much so as some of my other classmates. But her death shook me up, probably more than I cared to admit or show at the time. This was the first time that a friend, a contemporary of mine, had passed away. That experience brings with it a whole slew of unwelcome existential questions, the sort of things that it’s easier to just not think of than to try and confront.
I try not to think about them. But they come rushing back when my iTunes randomly shuffles to Iron & Wine’s version of “Such Great Heights,” which a trio of musicians so beautifully recreated at D’s funeral. And they linger in between the reverb lining the blistering chords in the Gaslilght Anthem’s “The ’59 Sound.”
It was my friend Adam who introduced me to the latter band, saying that they sounded as if Springsteen had decided to become a punk rocker. I thought the song was catchy, but was put off by the bluntness of the lyrics. It seemed too obvious, too describe death in such seemingly obvious terms. But as the year went on, I kept coming back to the song over and over again.
Maybe it’s because Dierdre was a punk rocker at heart. Maybe “The ’59 Sound” was helping me blast out something. Maybe it had nothing to do with D at all. But there was something in the song’s questions and its lack of answers that rang with me, like an echo from the past, reverberating.