By Jessica McCormick
This reading of Alchemical Records content is to provide a multimedia experience for our audience while increasing the accessibility of our content to persons with hearing loss, low vision, dyslexia, physical or motor disabilities, or are on the autism spectrum.
Sporting a parental advisory on YouTube, “Never Feel Lonely” is the sobering new release of New York-based artist Sleepy Gary. The casual listener might hear this as a ubiquitous break-up song, in which the protagonist falls to destructive habits in an effort to cope.
Never look backwards, only look up front
Life’s a disaster, but just for fun
Listen more closely, and you will notice that these involuted lyrics take a more complex turn toward emotional havoc. “Everything’s easier without you” isn’t a sick dig at the presumed ex, but rather a break with sobriety and all the baggage it entails. The despair in “I don’t need a hand, I don’t need my friends” strikes a visceral chord, because it’s easy to feel like we don’t deserve love and compassion when we need it most.
Some years ago, I faced one of my own low points. It wasn’t rock-bottom, but I certainly felt like I’d landed flat on my face, and staying there was safer than getting back up. Even my wonderfully competent and supportive spouse couldn’t single-handedly scrape me off that mental pavement, but then an opportunity led me to Sleepy Gary’s hometown of Rockville, Maryland.
I met up with a crew of wonderfully brilliant people whose friendship seamlessly breathed confidence back into me, but I won’t forget the consternation I felt before the barrage of care steadily convinced me to trust myself, again. Failing this opportunity, how long would I have felt like a lost, listless, lonely, leery lump? Is there a silver lining for our euphonious protagonist?
The song teases us with what sounds like a traditional conclusion, but continues for another 30 seconds. The true conclusion gives me goosebumps as it closes on an interrogative note. Depending on the listener, it might imply indifference, hesitance, or a decisive end. In any case, I expect the haunting melody to float around my mind for a while, and I don’t mind the company at all.
Stay tuned for the release of Sleepy Gary’s forthcoming album, 21 Love Songs, a three-volume collection that draws from the artist’s experiences in D.C., Baltimore, and New York.
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Jessica McCormick is an Army brat currently residing in Silicon Valley. With a decade of experience in communications, she appreciates the transformative power of music. She has spent over two decades singing with various choirs, and has enjoyed 8 years with the San Jose Metropolitan Band playing alto saxophone. In her free time, she loves reading speculative fiction.
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