Matt Watson

Song Swap: Lilac Wine

Matt Watson

Song: Lilac Wine
Artist: Jeff Buckley
Album: Grace

Blake picked out this song for me as part of a “song swap” exercise, where we exchange songs we like and share our gut reactions. You can see his take on a Karl Jenkins piece I shared with him here.

Blake must have picked out this song because it’s so slow and clear that I can’t help but listen to the lyrics, which I’m usually bad at. Coincidentally, I felt emotionally primed for this song, because the night before, I found myself pining over a girl I knew from my college days. She actually sent me a post card a few years ago that I misplaced and never realized what it was until just recently. What does it mean? Is it too late to respond? Did she love me, and I never knew all this time? I woke up in the morning ruminating on these questions for a few long seconds before I realized it was all just a dream, and the girl, who looked strangely like the singer Sade by the way, was not even real.

The feeling of phantom long lost love lingered in me as I was hit with Buckley’s bittersweet line just before the chorus and drums — “When I think more than I want to think, I do things I never should do. I drink much more than I ought to drink, because it brings me back you.”

The chorus sounded a little like slow doo-wop to me, and for some reason it made me think of the last scene of The Irishman, which cuts to credits and a doo-wop tune as Robert DeNiro’s character reflects on his troubled past. I hate doo-wop, but it’s perfect when you’re thinking about how much better life could have been.

Would you listen to it again?

I don’t know. I added the album to my library, so I guess I’m considering it.