When you put your kids to bed and your wife is working late, and you sit alone with your laptop and listen to Jens Lekman’s “Black Cab” and the Left Banke’s “I’ve Got Something on My Mind” on repeat just for that simple little keyboard progression that through-lines both, putting them in an endless 38-year loop between 1967 and 2005, for the same reason you listen to Kendrick Lamar’s voice in conversation with a 15-years-gone Tupac at the end of To Pimp a Butterfly, for the same reason you have a separate iTunes playlist for each season: You feel internally the dualistic nature of chord progressions and recorded conversations as both time markers and indicators of infinity, sculpted and expansive, permanent document and fleeting moment. And you think about a conversation you had last week at your friend’s fortieth birthday party with an acquaintance you frequently see at your friend’s parties, an eccentric guitarist a generation older than you who recently subbed in on the Left Banke’s reunion tour and had to mediate squabbles between the original members and remind them the chord progressions to their own songs, and all of a sudden you want to rewatch the Youtube video of Jens Lekman playing “If You Ever Need a Stranger to Sing at Your Wedding” at the wedding of two strangers he travelled across continents to perform for, and then you read yet another article about Kendrick Lamar winning a Pulitzer Prize at 30 years of age and wonder if Wu-Tang’s latest album, locked in a vault in Martin Shkreli’s apartment, will finally be released from captivity now that Shkreli is in prison. And then your wife arrives home and asks what you’ve been doing, why you're not asleep, how long you’ve been sitting there.

AuthorJohn Proctor