By Haley Huffman
Florist, a Brooklyn-based band originating from the Catskill Mountains of southern New York, released their most recent album “If Blue Could Be Happiness” on September 29th. They visited Harrisonburg around two weeks ago and played in the quiet, dimly lit Church of the Incarnation. It seemed more honest than any church service I had ever been to. In its spirit it is somewhat of a heartening and reassuring ode to the pain of being alive. This semester I would wake up early, make a cup of coffee, and listen to it (along with Alex G and BABYTEETH feat. Rivka Rose) before beginning another day as a human.
The first track, “Blue Mountain Road,” Emily Sprague begins with, “And the universe is mine, but I haven’t heard a thing ... about where I will return when it’s finally time to leave.” She later sings “The people I’ve yet to meet and the memories that I keep.” This made me think about nursing homes and how older people living in them have lived and experienced so much. I wonder what advice they would give a college student. In “What I Wanted to Hold” she reminds us “You’re alive and I’m alive.”
This album speaks on loss and growing and resilience. Failing or feeling paralyzed by fear, sadness, or anxiety but realizing that you are still okay and alive. Experiencing all of these various seasons — finding a community where the darkness is not as smothering. She also shares moments of beauty and times of light. “Thank You Light” makes you want to take your favorite people to eat breakfast at Little Grill Collective and go to Blue Hole with your dog to swim and sunbathe all day and look up at the sky. Or plant sunflowers and sit on your front porch making funny and weird zines. It’s not always about fear.
I think Sprague tends to see and notice living things more. Mourning her mother who died in March, her lyrics reveal how loss helps us realize the value and worth in the people alive near us, and in ourselves. They provide an open place that is solemn but comforting. As a senior graduating next semester I have been thinking a lot about these lyrics and how I am going to find a new home and more light. For me, this album embodies what WXJM has meant to me and others throughout our time at JMU — a place that is honest, accepting and understanding. I think that’s what light is.
(Click here if you want to hear Emily Sprague’s synthesizer compositions)
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