‘This is the first day of my life’ sings Conor Oberst… From the delicate acoustic opening, to the final hopeful words bred out of previous failure (‘I mean I really think you like me’) this track is a thing of beauty indeed. If you have ever been in love, skirting around the edge, too scared to articulate the reality in case the dream fades, then this song will sing to you. The fragility of chance juxtaposed with a pragmatic conviction – ‘But I’d rather be working for a paycheck / Than waiting to win the lottery’ – conveys the mutability of a lover’s certainty. Everything is new, different, known but unknown in a way that leaves you wondering if you’ve ever really seen before… ‘I think I was blind before I met you’.
The simplicity of Oberst’s voice – gentle, tremulous at times, emphatic as he extends those final, personal syllables – conjures images of shyness, hesitancy, the simultaneous isolation and embrace of moving beyond ‘like’…
Listen to this song. Play it again and again as you sit in the dark remembering how it feels to be overwhelmed by something so beautiful that you need more time to look, and look, and look again.
‘I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you’… the intimation of futility… the understatement of relief… the ‘I’ and ‘you’ separated only by ‘met’, a word in which the two are brought together in a glimpse of a life as yet unlived.