Music for the Morning After, and Beyond
Musicians often chronicle the anguish, adjustments and small triumphs associated with a relationship's end. But few capture the emotional rawness and suffocating isolation quite as powerfully as "Too Much Space," Lisa Germano's uncommonly sensitive look at the first lonely hours after two people part and the dust begins to settle.
A gifted session musician who spent years playing violin alongside John Mellencamp, Germano has recorded an impressive assortment of intimate solo records on the side, rarely reaching more than a small cult following in the process. In the Maybe World is the latest, and, as the title indicates, it spends a good deal of time exploring uneasy moments in transition. As "Too Much Space" builds from a fairly conventional folk-pop ballad into an almost oppressively beautiful and disorienting lament, she struggles to fill the literal and figurative emptiness — "You took a plant and put it there" — just before finding something vaguely approaching comfort in the universality of loneliness: "One of us, one of us, one of us."
The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle has a similar gift for coming by emotional rawness honestly, and his "Woke Up New" (audio) picks up where "Too Much Space" left off, but with a few days' worth of reflection hinting at brighter days ahead. After winsomely brushing past the practical details of newfound solitude — absentmindedly making too much coffee in the morning, for example — he eventually comes to tentatively revel in the moment "the world, in its cold way, started coming alive." An ideal companion piece to Germano's song, it examines the morning after the morning after from a newfound and hard-won perspective.
Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'
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