By: Craig Claro
“Commuter” by In Lieu of Roses uses an awesome approach to describe life being not so awesome.
This track has an unusual opening in that after a brief fuzzy guitar intro, the band jumps right in and immediately starts. It was as if I joined the concert late, the band was already playing …and no one noticed my arrival. I checked to see if maybe I scrubbed forward in the song by accident. I was sort of befuddled initially, but I learned later this isn’t a misplaced observation at all! It was intended to, and very creatively, set a mood for the lyrical meaning of this song.
The arrangement and track have a harrowing siren that is screaming and whispering all at the same time and I found this pretty cool. As the song progresses it goes from singing to screams and head bobbing, but with a bit more thrust. I really got into this song and the lyrical delivery and then the chorus dropped, and I was brought to my aha moment.
I realized that the opening is a representation of the song's message. When you join something in “motion” (think of a city bus) it’s on a cycle - and when you enter the doors and lives of everyone on the bus it has zero impact on them. It was rolling to destinations before you joined - and will continue long after you depart. Mundane, repetitive, and uneventful (unless something even worse than boredom happens). This song wants to tell us that life feels like this endless rat wheel and the song created this sensation with an almost perpetual motion by sound, filled with excitement, all to describe the lack thereof.
The lyrics rattled in my head, “Go to work and come back home - Go to work and come back home”. It's scary because the song made me realize that my life too may be in this cycle!!! I was literally hopeful that this would end with something else and In Lieu of Roses would reveal a solution and break my curse!!!
Is there some hope and sense of purpose, beyond having all of our energy and desires squeezed out of us by our jobs like orange juice from the peel, and then we return and only feel something when it’s worse than this practical sensory deprivation experience? (For me it’s not this job- lol -but I’ve had them). In Lieu of Roses created the most thoughts in my mind about the “nothing” we cycle in and out of all day every day. And I was most impressed that I was instantly given this sensation and had to think back to the opening and go - wait, wtf just happened - and realize the song and the lyrics are one cohesive message - and that alone broke my boredom!!!
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