Some albums come to you right in the midst of chaos to provide a kind of sonic salvation, while others come at random points in time when you where least expecting something to capture your soul. “Down in Heaven,” the third album by the Chicago-born band Twin Peaks, is an album I came across at an interesting time. When I first listened to it, it resonated with me so deeply, perfectly articulating certain emotions that I had felt months prior to discovering the record and not necessarily things occurring in the moment. I had gone through hands down the hardest period in my life at the beginning of this year, but had gotten into a much more positive place at the point in time that I was listening to these songs that eerily voiced the exact feelings that I had experienced a mere two months before. It was the first time that I ever listened to something and thought, “Yes, that was me, I’ve been there, I felt that,” in such close proximity to the release of the content. The album itself is a breakup album, but really it speaks to the feelings of loneliness, isolation, and insecurity that we’ve all felt during a time of personal hardship. We feel alone in it, we feel trapped in our own heads, we feel broken. And I had never needed to hear words of comfort more… if only it had come out exactly when it was pertinent!
But all joking aside, I think the album came to me at the right time, because this is at its core an album about reflection. It’s about hurting, yes, but it’s also about healing. When I listen to it, it contains a strange warmth that is attributed to not only allowing yourself to feel while being in the midst of something, but also to the relief of finally being able to breath again. The intimate, garage-rock chords seem to be saying, “Hey, I’ve felt so fucking lonely recently, and I gotta sing about it, but now I think I’m better. I’m okay. And it’s okay that I wasn’t okay for a long time.” This album speaks a comforting, melancholy truth that was so appropriate at a time when I was reflecting on what had happened, and it helped me process it all in an oddly enjoyable way. It genuinely helped me feel less alone and more excited to move on. I wanted to share my favorite tracks off the album and provide some personal connections to them, so hopefully some of the songs, stories, or feelings will resonate with you guys too!
This is the second track on ‘Down in Heaven,’ and it definitely focuses on the sadness felt in the midst of a heartbreak. What’s amazing about this song is that the lyrics are clearly referencing a breakup, but it also manages to be applicable to literally any situation where you’ve felt alone.
Holding my own hand, walking all alone down a road
The song just feels lonesome, the loneliness seeping through each strum of the guitar. This particularly made me think of the lowest points of my personal situation, but the song itself also aims to remind the listener that it doesn’t last forever.
… a ghost walks up beside me, with a face like mine/ And tells me that I won’t always be lonely, it just takes a little time
Another weirdly relevant coincidence is the fact that it references hearing dead people on the radio, when in fact two incredibly famous artists had died during this phase of my life: David Bowie and Prince.
Oh, my sister, dead men are singing on the radio/ Oh, my sister, it’s all they ever seem to play anymore
Another random, bizarre coincidence is that during this time there were three cats that I had encountered at different points, and they all brought me comfort and affection in a period where I especially needed something cute and fluffy in my life, and the song, seemingly out of nowhere, mentions a cat!
A purple cat comes floating down the stairwell/ With his blue eyes shining bright, suddenly I feel alright
The last lyric that I’ll bring up repeats itself in essence throughout the song, and vocalizes the realization that this person has been affected and hurt by an experience. It’s simple, but extremely relatable and impactful.
Good Lord, Heaven knows I’ve been beat up
Now this song is much more upbeat, and comes in right after “Wanted You” to provide some much needed levity and to create more of an uplifting mood. This is a happy song, and it’s special to me on a very personal level because I have many friends that are boys, and thinking about finally being able to see them over the summer made me excited in such a pure, childlike way. It’s an affectionate song that contemplates the length of time you’ve been apart from your pals, your group, your “squad,” if you will. It’s a beachy, sunny, fun song that will make you want to call up your friends and do some proper teenage bonding, even if you’re not teens anymore.
Long way home, my boys, long way home/ 90 miles an hour down the fuckin’ street with my friends, my boys
Well it’s been so long since you said so long
The entire song speaks for itself. It’s short, but absolutely universal in its message of, ‘Keep on keeping on.’ The road can seem long and unbearable, but it’s always worth it. This song is one of the more meaningful and heart-warming songs that I’ve ever heard, and was particularly spot on in illuminating my more present state of “getting better,” or moving on from the past. It’s beautiful in its simplicity and honesty, and more than anything, is a track about being human.
Do you feel like you’re on the run?
Are you scared cause the road is long?
Well you’re my kin, my son, you’re not the only one
I know you feel life is crushing you
Well get to scratching where it itches, keep your goals in view
Reserve your judgments too, that shit will bury you
I know you feel like a lesser man
I bet the winds hitting different on an empty hand
But what’s a grain of sand to this entire land
Keep walk walk walkin’ ‘til your feet get sore
I see you hiding all your problems at the liquor store
This life’s a major award, what you gonna trade that for?
Have You Ever
This is the last song of the album, and it’s an epic one at that; it serves as the perfect ending track to end an incredibly relateable and emotionally resonant album for me, and it’s as if the boys knew exactly what I needed to hear, which I’m sure a lot of other fans feel as well. At the end of the first verse the lead singer begs the question, “Have you ever lost track of your mind?” to which I vehemently replied from a deep place within myself, “Yes.” And then, as if they could predict my mental response, the chorus starts with them literally screaming:
I’ve been lonely too, I’ve been lonely too, I’ve been lonely too/ I’ve been lonely too long to be afraid of the tomb
It’s like they’re trying to force you into believing that you’re not alone, I mean they’re shrieking it in your goddamn ear! They’re saying, “We get it, dude. We know. Life is lonely for us too sometimes.” I don’t know why, but I think that’s one of the most important things in the world to hear, that you’re not the only one. Even if we logically know that everyone feels essentially the same things, sometimes we need the reassurance that we’re not crazy, and that other people have felt just as shitty and fucked up as you have. It’s one of life’s strange comforts. And sometimes it’s enough to make you fearless, even in the face of death or pain.
Have you ever been so lonely that you started to laugh?
Have you ever ordered food to hear a knock on the door?… Have you ever felt your nights were a chore?
These are probably some of the most real lyrics from the entire album. They’re incredibly personal, vulnerable moments expressed in such a seemingly effortless way that you don’t feel guilty hearing them. They’re moments and feelings I’ve definitely had, so the album ends with a bang that shoots straight to the heart. But instead of feeling even more vulnerable, I feel better. And I guess that’s sort of the point, right?
The whole album is great, but I touched on these four songs specifically because they’re my personal favorites. I recommend this album to everyone, and even if you’re not a particular fan of garage-rock, go look up the lyrics if you feel like you need some reassurance and comfort. Now for the warning: there are a lot of tracks that talk about a breakup, and express the multitude of feelings that come with that experience. There’s feelings of regret, sadness, loneliness, and anger that sometimes come across as vitriolic and misogynistic. I can’t quite ignore some particular sentiments that use gender specific language, but I also can’t ignore how much the album helped me transition out of a hard place and put a marker of closure on a very specific, meaningful time in my life.
Here are some more random lines from other tracks that I particularly identify with and enjoy:
Oh, it’s such a butterfly feeling to have you for a friend/ Oh, but somehow I get the feeling that I’ll be lonely again ~ “Butterfly”
I wanna be bored of you, if you’re bored of me ~ “You Don’t”
No I don’t feel too bad now darling, but I sure could ~ “Heavenly Showers”
And as the wind blows through my fingers/ It feels like I’m getting older every time I turn a door ~ “Holding Roses”
Can’t help but piss all my youth down the well/ And wave my hand watching it go/ If you gotta hold onto something/ You better hold onto yourself ~ “Stain”
Thanks boys, I needed this one.
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