The Silver Cord
The Classic Crime's acoustic set was themed around the toll touring took on the band, and this is where they are still mired in "The Beginning," the song that counterintuitively closes The Silver Cord. It's a lovely, lilting number washed in homesickness but hopeful for a happy homecoming. Working backwards from "The Beginning," the album pulls Crime into ever deeper depths of despondency, as they explore life's larger questions, and are drawn into emo territory. Crime's journey ends at "The End," which actually kicks off the set, with an angry, bitter cry aimed at.... A former friend? Themselves? God? All of the above? Turning the album right-side up, this despairing number is followed by the chest-thumping pain of "Just a Man" and then "Grave Digging," with its plea to "give me your poison pills tonight," a punk-rocking suicide ride. Slivers of hope are found amidst the din of the many despairing songs, the accepting "The Way That You Are" for instance, or the clinging-to-the-life-raft lyric "I know there's more to life than drinking," shouted through "Medisin." But mostly there's self-flagellation, as Matt MacDonald bemoans "Like salt in the snow, I'm melted and left on the side of the road," and shouts "How long will we be desperately alone....How long will we have to pay for what we've done?" Later he turns his whip angrily on listeners, announcing, "We're all the same...we're all to blame for spending way too much time on ourselves." The lyrics, as overwrought when sung as when they appear in print, ring with conviction, and more than enough truth to resonate. With the insights revealed on "Medisin," Cord begins "The Ascent" toward optimism. The mood dramatically shifts with the uplifting "Sing" and the joyous "Everything," and reaches an apotheosis with "Closer Than We Think," where MacDonald sweetly sings "We will not die so easily...we're closer than we think to hope." Now put in its proper place at the end, "The Beginning" is no longer a bridge between Seattle Sessions and The Silver Cord, but transforms into a joyous return to life and the land of the living. Context is everything, and by careful sequencing what could have been a descent into desolation and demise, this is instead a rapture-like rise out of depression and pessimism that climbs slowly into the realm of hope and happiness.