Such Great Heights

This weekend I discovered that one of my favorite songs from an “indie” band has multiple covers from many different bands. The song is (as the title alludes) “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service. The first cover I heard was from a band that is still gaining popularity called “The Wrong Trousers”. I heard of this band from a friend who actually knew the band before they even became recognized by the musical community at all. Another group, known as “Iron and Wine” produced a cover of the song for the movie garden state. It was interesting to see how the bands went about the same initial concept. The song is about the ideals of love and how love can seem so divine and fated when in fact one is indeed just upon a great height, waiting to fall to the ground and realize reality. The version made by “The Wrong Trousers” had a genuine raw feel to it that captured the emotion more purely and was a much lessed processed product. The “Iron and Wine” rendition took a less happy tone towards the topic and had a very slow tempo of the sadness that will ensue from the illusion. This aspect of art-the interpretation of a single concept in multiple ways- is something I that the idea of covers in rock and roll takes to new levels.
This particular concept of Musical translation (into other arts and other musics) is something that I have often thought of, especially in high school, when I began to experiment with performance poetry. Slam poetry, one of the more popular forms of poetry today, has often drawn in hip hop artists and vice versa. The connection between the two art forms in undeniable, and is also one that I believe is often lost. For example, before Kanye West released “All Falls Down”, he debuted it on Def Poetry. Lupe Fiasco began both Food and Liquor and The Cool with his sister, Iesha Jaco delivering slam poetry. the more one delves into the deep lyrical focus of non-mainstream hip hop, the blurrier the line grows between Slam and rap. The difficulty I ran into here was the definition of myself as an artist, did I want to be a rapper or did I want to be a poet?
One of the things that post-modern philosophy as helped to teach me is that these sorts of questions are what deny creative and artistic affirmation it’s full potential. Now looking back on the days of my youth and the quetsions I face artistically, I realized that the attempts to define and articulate my artistic existence were essentially trying to force myself into tight little spaces and to limit myself. Artistically, this is suicide. the goal of the artist is, in my opinion, transcedence. Maybe not spiritual transcedenceor enlightenment, but definately the ascending of ideas and emotions. It is an artist job to take the intangible and reincarnate it. In each incarnation, not only a new life is created, but new planes of existence and sentiment are realized. The goal of the artist should always be to surpass the limits of the ordinary experience, and that will always be a never ending frontier. As what was yesterday’s revolution becomes today’s institution, I feel that it’s important that artist’s realize that every experience they have is in one way or another a reincarnation of themselves. As a wise friend of mine once said “measuring things often destroys their inherent perfection or beauty.overanalyzing, measuring, quantifying, and defining destroys part of the very thing we’re trying to comprehend.” I feel that this theory while paralyzing to the sciences is something that all artist should never forget. My hope is that, as I begin to enter the poetry community of Mary Washington, I am able to spread this message, inspiring others to seek such affirmation and cultivation of the self.

One Response to “Such Great Heights”

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