Life Worth Missing - Car Seat Headrest
Someone once put this song in a playlist about me, so I’m gonna figure out what it means.
Life Worth Missing is one of those songs that can elicit tears in any situation. In my opinion, this one of the most beautiful songs that this artist has ever put out. It’s emotional, and commands it’s own energy in a way that makes it swell with a sort of power. It’s one of those songs that feels like it would be at the climax scene of some movie. Anyway, I really like this song.
But it’s always just kind of been an “emotional” song in my mind, but I could never really parse out exactly what it was talking about. Life, a relationship, maybe? Everything about it felt so vague.
But I think this song is about taking a risk. This artist has been known to write about LDR’s, and I think the title sums that up well – that he thinks this person is worth the heavy chance – even if that chance ends up falling through, the chance itself is worth it enough.
The song begins with this theme. The narrator describes a chase, and implies that a desire to constantly be in “pursuit” of something is harmful.
I think my theme continues, especially with the “Every laugh is a path worth following”. If it brings happiness, the writer is willing to give it a chance – and at this point it doesn’t matter, because he’s already “falling”.
As if on cue
They lit a firework
The sky reeled back
And I ran fast to get to you
I think you knew
Before the war began
What loving to run towards something can do to a man
Fall over the edge
Learn to live while falling
Every laugh is a path worth following
When you put it into words
It’s comfortingly bland
There’s so little left to understand
When we’re strung up, hanging from the knots we’ve allowed
We call up our angels to cut us down
“If you could be proud of anything you’ve done
What would it be?”
Then they disappear and we are up in the clouds
I feel the tension shock right through my body
I am wide awake
Shake a laugh from me
This next verse is probably one of my favorite pieces of writing of all time. It’s just a beautiful description of getting caught up in something so deeply to the point where you are unable to walk it back – it’s a description of living in the moment, and realizing that when you want out, you might not be able to get out. The question serves as a wake-up call, but by the time it happens, the angels are gone, and he is still stuck.
But yet, he expresses amusement at the situation that they have found themselves in. At this point, I’m under an impression that it’s a relationship that he never expected anything from, or that is too difficult to realistically do.
Here, the song slows down. He begins to describe yet another situation where he is easily just able to escape a situation – one that required no foresight, planning, and where he was just able to easily shed everything from is “other life”.
It’s worth mentioning here that the name of the album is “Making a Door Less Open”, a motif for the idea of slowly cutting someone off or holing away. Here, the writer asks for someone to just break it down. This verse comes of as intense and emotional, alluding to sudden action, urgency and tears. It sounds like a fight, and that the narrator is shutting down, which is a tendency he has described himself doing in other songs. But in the end, he seems to finally come to a conclusion that maybe he feels like he expected more of himself in this life – or in this relationship.
I thought one day
I thought I’d find a hole
In my own backyard
I’d never seen before
Follow it down
Underneath that fence
Come back up on the other side
Live another life
Break down the door, it’s yours for the taking
I held it back until you stopped asking
My eyes are blurred but the clock is ticking
I’m coming up short in a life worth nothing
I hear women in my head
With ordinary names
That ring like magic through some malfunction in my brain
Your hands were warm, though you came in from the cold
I took one and held it
And suddenly started to shake
I feel it break
I feel the weight of anger, pain and sorrow
Breaking over me
The flags are raised
We walk with no goodbyes and no tomorrows
This is destiny
Memories of the best regrets
I play my song in every single rest
Every note of the symphony
Mend the fence with the best of grace
It’s pleasantries to the bottom of the page
The first part of thise verse can be tied back to the first verse on this album:
“Back when I had time to dream
I dreamed of ordinary faces
Frozen unexpressed emotions
Trapped inside the wax museum
And what my mind had been curating
Scandalized my sense of station
My face burned red, then I woke up feeling like shit
When I saw my ordinary face
I should start lifting weights”
I think this is some deeply obscured reference to a feeling of superiority or ability to express oneself due to him being an “artist”. I think that this is referenced in the context of this sudden, uncontrollable emotion the writer realized he had been holding us back, and that maybe he wasn’t as good at handling this as he thought.
This verb of “shaking” comes back in, and is repeated many times as the song builds to a crescendo. In a way it almost sounds like a panic attack, but is framed like it is a great realization.
And this emotion is reflected in the lyrics. The writer is suddenly flooded with emotion, and “raised flags” are most likely white ones – symbols of defeat. It comes back around to the idea of regret, and how perhaps he enjoyed his time in this “situation”.
He even speaks of mending the fence that he tried to escape through in the previous line. While the song sounds like it’s for of turmoil, he seems to want to end things with civility.