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Built To Spill Are Waiting For Answers by Alyson Camus

for our answers
this cancer’s
common as sand
These are the first lines of ‘Tomorrow,’ the last song of the seventh Built to Spill’s album, ‘There is no enemy’ released last October. Aren’t we all waiting for answers? But what if there are no answers? Doug Martsch seems to think that it is the case, that waiting for answers is not the solution to happiness and will only brings angst and depression. The song begins like a lullaby and ends up like a triumphant declaration of love for life. Because at least we have tomorrow, and that should be enough to make us want to live. If ‘Tomorrow’ ends the album on an optimistic note, the rest of the songs are a reflection on human condition and deception that life brings every day.

‘Nowhere lullaby’ is such a beautiful and soothing song that makes you want to curl yourself in the melody. ‘Trying not to solve this/doesn’t mean it’s not that bad’ he sings in the song. But if the solution should be found in the comfort of not knowing, because at the end, nobody knows the mystery of life, the problem is that human nature being human nature, everybody wants to try: ‘Taking my own advice/worked out for me nice/but now I come to find/the tricks we play

with human brains,’ he harmonizes on the misleadingly upbeat and playful Hindsight. The chorus of the song brings back to us the deception of realizing that the possible answers are nothing but delusions and false promises: ‘They don’t want to think about the other side/is that grass just greener cuz it’s fake/cuz that’s all that we’ve been told/since we were five years old/is that all we’ll ever know’

The album is full of different styles without loosing its focus, whatever it is the Pink Floyd nostalgic ‘Oh yeah’ or the R.E.M. reminiscent ‘Things fall apart,’ or the punkish ‘Pat’ which tries to make sense of loss, or even the calming ‘Life’s a dream’ which poignantly renders the meaninglessness of existence and the illusion of choice: ‘Finally decided/and by decide I mean accept/I don’t need all those other chances I won’t get.’

The album is a search for one’s own identity despite the fear to know what is in one’s mind and a wonderful affirmation that life is worth living even with its unanswered questions. At least we have tomorrow and Built to Spill’s music.

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