The Downward Spiral, played in reverse
I had to listen to the Downward Spiral tonight. I haven’t listened to it in a long time. No, I listened to it a couple months ago. I haven’t listened to it when upset in a long time. It will always be one of my favorite albums. I can’t help it. It was… my fucked up salvation in a way. It was the death I couldn’t give myself. I’m thankful for it. I’m still here because of it.
I heard it in a different way this time though. I was… removed from it. It wasn’t me as I am now. I heard the story for something else. As I have with other albums lately, I really, truly, heard the story it was telling. With the change that came upon me some months back, I gained a new ability with the music. I hear it in a way I never heard before. It is no longer mimicking or dictating my emotions. I am not living through it. I am experiencing it. I am aware.
I’ve heard the album, literally, several hundred times. I know the story, I know it is about a man’s battle with insanity, drug addiction, disillusion, and suicide. I always heard the story as him dealing with a relationship that drove him to these things. Tonight though, I saw it differently. Tonight, I saw that the relationship was with himself. He was the cause of it all. He delves further into all of his pain and his suffering, pushing it all away until he has only one choice left.
In truth, I played this album out. I can see it in how I acted and felt at my darkest time. I lost my love, I lost my religion, I lost my mind, and I lost myself. I came to the same conclusions as he had. I found a different outcome though, clearly. In the end, a small part of me knew there was something worth living for. I couldn’t really see it then, but it stayed my hand. It has been growing since that day, though I took several months away from everything before I first saw it.
I’ve come a long way since then though. I had to go away to get better. After I was able to cope with myself, I started working on the world around me. Now that I am finally comfortable in that, I can work again on myself and being comfortable with me. I am no longer surviving, though there are tough days such as I had today. I will no longer let them hold me down though. Even as I write this and look back on today, there are no happy thoughts, but at least I can move forward and look forward to tomorrow instead of dwelling ceaselessly on yesterday.
Though I turned to old habits in the face of it, I no longer see them as I used to. I have changed, I no longer need them. I see them for what they are and how destructive they were. That said, I did not rely solely on those things this time. I actually talked about what was happening instead of holding it all in. It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagine and my will threatened to give at any moment and cease the talk, but I kept on and it was good. It helped and I hope that I will remember that the next time it happens, for it will happen.
As an odd ending, there is one final aspect of the listening I want to talk about. It has nothing to do with the meaning nor the revelations I had. This is truly a vanity ending and can be skipped if you so choose. I listened to the album tonight for the first time with my newest headphones. I heard things in the album I had never heard before. In Hurt, the music is far more broken than it sounds on lesser headphones. The whole album has a slightly different feel when you can hear it with clarity. There is far more atmosphere in the album than I ever thought. You can also hear the bridge on Closer in ways that are hard to hear with lesser headphones.