All songs by The Midnight.
Hope Enough To Burn
The Search For Ecco-The camera pans down the hallway of a modest home in suburban Los Angeles. Let’s say..Brentwood. At the end of the hallway we find our hero with the girl next door playing Sega Genesis. A dolphin swims around the screen as gorgeous ambient music plays. She was everything to him, even at such a young age. The camera focuses on the window and we are now hovering above their neighborhood as the streetlights begin their humming, halogen hymn of twilight.
Wave-In unison , every window in the neighborhood opens, and teenagers sneak out into the night. Our hero and his love are now older and, well, quite reckless. They have yet to so much as kiss, but there is a deep connection there, as it is with most of their friends. They are bonded by rebellion and restlessness. The kids party in parking lots, by fires. Some skateboard. Some bike. They all drink, and without fail, they always end up in our hero’s basement playing video games.
Arcade Dreams -It is here we find the group laughing in hushed tones as to not wake any parents. Two of the boys play Contra. A few groups are making out under rave fliers and newspaper advertisements for their friends’ band. Our hero and his love smile at the carnage around them with a subconscious wistfulness that this is all a fleeting moment in time they both don’t want to end.
Lost Boy -Fast forward to high school. The drinking and drug use has accelerated. Therapy is a regular activity for the kids. They are getting their own separate diagnoses for various mental health problems. As it is with every teenager, they feel like they are the only ones in the world going through this shit and feel lost. They reach out for each other but a ship can’t anchor to a shore that doesn’t exist. Our hero is starting to feel like he has no choice but to tell his love how he really feels.
Seventeen- Agent Orange was playing at The Roxy and it was rumored they were recording a live album that night, so naturally all the kids showed up in droves. Our hero, the disheveled skater boy, and his love, the prom queen bombshell, looked at each other in the mezzanine and had their first kiss. The world stood still and ended that night. He would spend the rest of his life trapped in this moment for better and for worse.
Aerostar-Our hero and his love, the prom queen..the girl next door, decide to drive to Big Sur for a camping trip. Just the two of them. She took her mom’s minivan and they brought some scant supplies. They both knew what they were going to northern california for, and it wasn’t camping. As they find themselves locked together a bright light shines in the distance. The outline of her body carved the most gorgeous view of the horizon. It was only till they smelled the smoke that they realized a forest fire was raging towards them. This is the kind of metaphor that smashes your head with a hammer. That fire coming toward them was going to destroy much more than trees. They got out of there, but the summer was coming to an end, and with it, college admissions.
Dream Away-The camera pans down the hero’s hallway once again and into his room where he watches his love pack that very same Aerostar for college. He is dreaming of a life they might share together if not for the mere fate of aging. Despite his many attempts at brain damage, he was quite gifted in academics and was headed to NYU while she was heading to Chicago to study theater. Their conversations were always telepathic where their relationship was concerned. They knew they would love each other forever, but for now they would have to exist in a dream.
Helvetica-Seasons pass in NYC and the Midwest, as do years. The same picture of each other with his arm around her in his basement sits in a frame on their respective nightstands. Dust begins to gather upon it.
America Online-Our hero has moved away to college and has a picture of him and his love on his nightstand. His computer, state of the art at the time, had a dial up connection. His philosophy classes started to infiltrate his once strictly scientific mind. He was wondering about the frailty of all human interactions..even more so now that he can talk to anyone he wants on the other side of the screen. How do we know if those people are even real? Can we feel love from ones and zeroes? He will compare every woman to her for the rest of his life.
Heroes -One night he decides that it’s time to stop living in the past and go out and meet someone. He was a good looking guy. It’s not like the opportunity never came up. Without his group of rebels he felt no need to raise hell. Well, he had hell enough to raise on his own. Sure, his hero was missing, but she was going on with her life so…fuck it. He gets some coke from the kid down the hall in his apartment building, takes half a bar of xanax, washes it down with a 9% ipa and hits the town. He can’t help but replay the nights with his rebels and his love as he walks down Lexington…
Fire In The Skies -He winds up at The Tunnel. Paul Van Dyk was playing a 6 hour set that night and he had always wanted to see what the fuss was all about. He went to get a double vodka soda after a few bumps in the men’s room. He looked to his left and saw what most men would call “his future ex wife”. She looked over and saw “Mr Right Now”. They both saw flames. Not unlike the fire at Big Sur, it came at them fast, like the sun rising at her loft in the LES. The camera pans past the sun glistening on her nipples and dissolves into oblivion – a pixelated mash off static on an old TV our hero stares at a year later.
City Dreams-As the xanax is taking hold, he pics up the picture on his nightstand. It’s been a while since he called his love. They talked pretty regularly until about a year ago. Life just gets in the way. What the fuck was he going to say? It’s not like they could both just stop their lives and force themselves together. It didn’t matter. He had to talk to her. She picks up on the second ring as always….
Heart Worth Breaking->Loved By You-She is overjoyed to hear his voice. He tells her about his one night stand. She reminds him he told her last year when it happened. They laugh. They laugh alot. About life, about terrible dates, about grad school. He is instantly wrapped in warmth once again, and realizes, if they never get together then they can never break up, and maybe that is how they remain in love forever. She thinks that sentiment is beautiful, but reminds him that they are still young, and nothing is written in stone. As long as they keep in touch nothing can stop them. Love in perpetuity, forged by the pain of youth, crossing through lifetimes and universes. The kind of love you dream about.
There is no place like yesterday, sure, but tomorrow will be yesterday too.
-Wade Ellis Wilby October 2022.
-Music by The Midnight
Thanks for reading.