Tuff Luck

Most days, before I get in the car to go somewhere, I’ll grab a random album from the shelf that I haven’t listened to in a while. The one yesterday was 1995’s Are You Driving me Crazy? by Seam. Although I can’t remember which year it was, either ’94 or ’95, Seam is definitely one of those bands I feel fortunate to have seen when they were still pretty active. I saw them live, though, before I owned any of their records and, best I can remember, their live show was not as subtle or brutally tender as their songs truly are. Songs which are cruel to a point but a cruelty that is, in actuality, just simple honesty. The truth does hurt. But it just as often hurts the person speaking it as it does the intended listener. It’s hard to screw up one’s courage and tell someone what’s on your mind.

But, at some point, the things that don’t kill you will cease to make you stronger anymore. After that it’s resignation, callousness and affected aloofness. What once hurt terribly will, with repeated occurrence, become a mere sad irritation and the issue of screwing up one’s courage doesn’t even matter because, courageous or not, you no longer have the strength for confrontation. You become guarded, internally defensive and no one, really, is ever the wiser.

Although not entirely relevant, ever, to my life lyrically, “Tuff Luck” has always been one of my favorite Seam songs. The slowly built tension, Sooyoung Park‘s soft, mean voice and a tell-tale Seam beautiful/sad/simple melody. The short guitar solo at the end is uplifting and appropriately incongruous with the rest of the song. It fits musically, but mood-wise it speaks in a way simple lyrics couldn’t. After an entire song punctuated with “It’s trouble to try when you ache insideI wasn’t prepared for you” that burst of guitar says ‘I’m over you but I’m not over’.

Even through thickened skin and selfish navel gazing, though, I still wonder who exactly it is I’m trying to convince.

Seam-Tuff Luck

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