My daughter asked why I always say good things about the songs she writes. She'll be 18 soon, and she's rightfully expecting me to treat her like the adult she's becoming, even if that means introducing a new level of static into our lives. Mirren knows that adults who are in healthy relationships sometimes say hurtful things in service of honesty, just as adults might hide truths from children for the sake of self-esteem. I loathe conflict, and I often find myself walking a tightrope trying to be honest while not creating tension.
I honestly haven't heard a song of Mirren's I didn't like, though. I think there are a few reasons for this. I'm not sure how she hears a finished song, but when Mirren plays me the rough cuts, they're in a style that I'm already partial to: just her and her guitar. I love the "three chords and the truth" vibe that comes through as opposed to this:
There's a purity in her rough drafts' lack of precision that's almost punk to me, and I hope it carries over should she ever do more with the songs. Mirren's also got a great sense of wordplay, and her lyrics often wrap themselves in and around a melody in ways that remind me of my favorite artists. Her words aren't just there to prop up the music, and vice-versa. Mirren's music and lyrics love each other. These songs are hers to share, but I mention them because I'm certain about how I feel about them, whereas I find myself wavering about how to close my soundtrack.
Stories have arcs because we are satisfied by the idea of resolution, and stories with unsatisfying endings don't find much of an audience, or leave those they do find scratching their heads, especially if "Don't Stop Believing" is playing in the background. When I started out this series of posts over a year ago, I set out to create a playlist that served as a soundtrack to my COVID story. This is the last post in that series, and while (I think) I have a suitable song to roll over the end credits my story doesn't have a neat ending. Our stories don't stop when the theater lights come up. As my COVID story ripples and vibrates into a future I can't predict or understand, this is the song that plays at the end:
"RESERVATIONS" - WILCO