Two tragedies caught my attention last week. One was massive and horrible in scale, the other rather more private.
I tend to associate songs with feelings or memories, often for no particular reason. This past week, while absorbing scenes of destruction in Haiti following the massive earthquake, a friend emailed me news of the passing of musician Jay Reatard. Of course the two events don’t compare in scale — Reatard (whose real name was Jimmie Lee Lindsey Jr.) was one man, a fairly obscure musician — but on reading the news of his death his songs swam into my head the same way those photos of Haitian ruins imprinted on my brain (especially this one) and Reatard’s “There Is No Sun” became, in my mind, the sad soundtrack of the Haitian disaster.
That night, on my commute home, my mp3 player randomly started playing Reatard’s “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” and it shook me a little. Eerie enough to hear Reatard singing “All is lost, there is no hope for me” over and over again on the day of his death, but positively chilling to think of all those for whom those lines were so true, lying trapped beneath rubble or searching for family amidst the ruins.
There’s no logical tie between Jay Reatard and the disaster in Haiti, but they’re now inextricably linked in my mind. Reading the stories, watching the news, donating to the Red Cross, even hating Pat Robertson…for me, Watch Me Fall is now the score to it all.