a kind of alchemy

About a year ago, Ben Gibbard became a massive presence in my life.

I’ve always enjoyed Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, but my interest could be described as casual at best. But in March of last year, as the world shut down, Gibbard’s music and creativity became a tremendous grounding force amidst all the chaos.

Ben Gibbard’s Live from Home performance from 3/17/21

In addition to his daily live streams, this interview with Joe Wong of The Trap Set was especially important, as the range and depth of topics covered was truly astounding–from Covid to the environment, the experience of death to altruism through the pandemic. It’s a truly astounding conversation. But my favorite part is when Gibbard talks about songwriting:

I find songwriting to be an incredibly amorphous and kind of spiritual experience. My ex-wife had said at one point…songwriting is like alchemy…There was nothing there and now there’s a song there and it defies the laws of physics.

I suppose you could make this same case for other art forms, such as storytelling, but I do love the fact that songs tickle some fabric deep at our core. They come from someplace distinct within the human experience.

Perhaps this is why, during this last year of chaos and uncertainty, it was such a joy to open up my computer and sing along.