Starflyer 59 - Old
Music You Might Want to Consider - O
For some reason, whenever I listen to Old by Starflyer 59, the opening track - “Underneath”, I imagine it playing over the closing credits of an action movie from the early 2000s. A burning building in the background, police cars parked in a chaotic pattern with lights flashing, first responders milling about, caring for victims of whatever catastrophe that was averted by our hero1, blood stained, and only slightly injured, sitting in the back of an ambulance, smoking a cigarette.
He’s confronted by some authority figure, police chief, mayor, whatever, who doesn’t want to dismiss his valient work, but is still angry about his methods. Our hero strains as he exhales smoke, offering a pithy quip about how he doesn’t care what the authority figure thinks, he did his job.
And then the love interest, maybe an ex-wife,2 approaches the back of the ambulance, slaps the chief, and gives him the ol’ what-for that he deserves. He leaves, she takes a seat next to our Hero, puts her arm into the crook of his arm, and leans against him, lacing her fingers into his.
He grimaces in pain, and asks, “Does this mean something?”, and she sighs, responding, “I hope so.”3
And then, the camera begins to slowly move away, and up, into the sky, with the opening notes of “Underneath” accompanying the end card and then the subsequent credits.
Maybe someday I’ll make that movie.
Probably not. I couldn’t even cast Bruce Willis in a movie now, so why even try? Sometimes stuff in your head is better served there than actually presented in three dimensions.
By 2003, I had waned a bit in my Starflyer 59 fandom, despite being a huge fan in the 90s. I can’t give an exact reason why, but it probably had something to do with the fact that I was much happier from 1998 to 2003 than I had been during my prime SF59 fandom years, since I wasn’t a sad sack navel4 gazing guy who just wanted a girlfriend. I guess you could say I had a “New Wife, New Life”, right5?
In that time, SF59 (who is really just Jason Martin and whoever he gets to play on his records) had grown as well. Gone were the walls of distorted guitars and indiscernible lyrics from albums like Gold, Silver, She’s the Queen (EP), and Le Vanqueur.
In fact, Old sounds like a completely different artist. There was a heavy edge to the guitars, but the lyrics were far more discernible, and there seemed to be a much more noticeable hook to each song. Don’t get me wrong, I loved 1990s Starflyer 59, but I really loved 2003 Starflyer 59.
And like a fine wine, Old has aged extremely well.6 While I felt a kindred spirit in Martin for songs like the aforementioned "New Wife, New Life", as time has gone on, I've come to appreciate songs like "Major Awards" (less recognition as time has gone on), or "First Heart Attack" (realizing our mortality - which I literally felt when I had my first myocarditis flair up in 2014).
In a sense, Old is ageless and timeless. I’m sure I’ll be listening to it when I’m literally “old” as well.
In my mind, the hero is Bruce Willis.
So yeah, this is pretty much how I envision it - it’s basically a Die Hard movie.
Full disclosure; when my relationship with my wife began, these are exact quotes. We weren’t in an ambulance though, and we hadn’t narrowly escaped death. We were walking in a meadow in a National Park.
Or shoegazing, if you will.
Is it really a joke if I have to explain it? “New Wife, New Life” is track 6 on Old.
No pun intended.