37. An ode to parenthood
And its earnest imperfections.
suggested reading method
To best savour this artwork, please take a moment to eliminate distractions. Consider minimizing all other windows on your computer; putting other devices (phone, tv etc) aside; taking a deep breath, to the full extent of your lung capacity; and focusing solely on the “artwork” section.
Once you’ve processed that to your satisfaction, the rest of the post is optional reading, provided only to share my own impressions and reasons for choosing this piece.
“Level Best” by Said The Whale, from their 2019 album Cascadia.
If a song makes me cry when I realize what it’s about, I think that’s a good indication I should write about it on this blog.
But first, a little backstory on why I’m posting this track three years after its release. The other weekend, I happened upon a free concert featuring Said The Whale. When I arrived at the venue, they were going to take the stage in 10 minutes – so even though I was carrying six bottles of aloe vera after-sun lotion (it was on sale and my parents love it!), I had no choice but to stay for their set.
I’d listened to “Level Best” many times before, enjoying the syncopated melody; however, the lyrics didn’t make sense in the assumed context of a romantic relationship. At the concert, when Tyler Bancroft (guitar and vocals) introduced this as a song he had written for his son, everything clicked.
These lyrics hit me the hardest: “Call me an asshole, call me what you want to, I will love you still … I would rob a bank and do my level best … A thousand bad ideas, they’re my level best.” The idea that a parent is drawn to care for their child no matter what, to the hyperbolic point of committing crimes to protect them, is deeply touching to me. There are few bonds in this world as strong as that of a parent and their child, and this song is a paean honouring that.
Said The Whale is a Vancouver-based indie rock band that has been active since 2007. They won the Juno Award for New Group of the Year in 2011, and have released seven full-length albums to date.
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This is beautiful, Rachel <3
I'm sharing this with my daughter!