A palate cleanser offers a neutral flavor that helps one remove the lingering essence of whatever came before it. In music, I like to think of acoustic guitar picking as the general aural equivalent. Not that it can’t stand out on its own or make for some of the most memorable melodies–it certainly has–but because the gentle sound offers an ebb and flow that can clear the mind.
Kyle Meadows’ “A Case of You” does just that. The song is a personal reflection on lost love–or rather love that was never really had. Vague enough to relate to many types of relationships, it’s an acoustic atmosphere. A mood. And when listening to it, I find myself clearing out all my old thoughts and getting wrapped up in its aura.
Your face fills this room again
Your perfume again
But you were never even here
The song isn’t overwhelming, but it isn’t underwhelming, either.
Dreamy and wispy, “A Case of You” is a lightweight but emotional acoustic track. Layering together several different subtle sounds, the song has a whispery essence. A barely-there piano comes in and out like waves, complementing the soft guitar parts. Topping it all off is Meadow’s quiet and breathy voice, one with the accompanying instruments.
“A Case of You” achieves a great deal of balance. No part ever overpowers another, even when I wanted it to. But perhaps that’s the point. The gentle guitar picking sounds like raindrops against a window. Each second drips into the next creating something fuller. The song gets lost in a feeling more than a story, but that’s its strength–almost as if listeners are inside his rainy day thoughts.
It talks about a painful reality we all come to know.
Missing someone is one of the hardest emotions to deal with because there’s not much you can do to get over it other than let time do its thing. Meadows’ track explores the longing and emptiness of such an emotion. Its spacious accompaniment sounds almost empty, just like the singer feels; just like loneliness feels.
The long breaks between stanzas of lyrics emphasize this space. It takes time to miss someone, time to feel pain, time to gather one’s thoughts. The musical intermissions give listeners a chance to reflect on what they’ve just heard, too. If you’re someone going through this right now, who could use a second to relate back to your own experiences, it’s a therapeutic break.
You are the finest wine to me
But you dissolved into the sea
Meadows’ story is one I’m sure we all have our own version of. When time spent with someone we love or admire is cut short, we long for more. What we think we once had or could have had. We romanticize things that weren’t there. We compare people to the impossible standards of our memories of them. How can we expect them to live up to it? But longing and nostalgia can blur even the clearest of minds.
Like Meadows implies when he sings the song’s final lyric “I was wrong, I turned you to gold,” in time, you come to terms with pain. And if you’re lucky, you may even learn from it. Meadows’ breathy vocals nicely parallel this emotion. He’s not powerfully belting or shouting but almost speaking his thoughts aloud. Calming his pain. Singing a lullaby for himself.
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