“Don’t Carry It All”

The Decemberists
The King is Dead, 2011

“We are all our hands and holders.” Would that it were true, right? Now I’m no Decemberists apologist — I generally object on lyrical grounds, finding Colin Meloy too precious for my blood about 80 percent of the time. But on a longer-than-expected drive from L.A. to Bakersfield to see an old friend in 2011, I needed something to take my mind off an impending breakup and “Don’t Carry It All” proved much-needed medicine. “A neighbor’s blessed burden within reason/Becomes a burden borne of all and one.” That’s a line I needed to hear then and an idea I still want to believe in, even when I’m not holding up my end of the bargain. The split happened a week later and I felt generally miserable for a few months, but then I got better. And like always, music was a big part of the recovery. This morning I was stuck at a light and needed something to take my mind off worrying about work. I grabbed a CD from the center console — a mix I’d made a few years back with a random name, “Saturday Songs” or something like that — and this was the first thing on it. I started skipping through the tracks and it soon became clear that these were the songs, the ones that helped pull me through a darker time in the not-too-distant past. That mix is the story of me moving on, and it started here.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/01%20Don’t%20Carry%20It%20All.m4a]


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