Good Weather For Airstrikes - To Have Our Hearts Emptied, To Be Left As We Came
Record Label: Independent
Release Date: October 11, 2011
What happens when a band’s lyricist puts their heart on their sleeve? Any well-seasoned music enthusiast could confirm that it varies from writer to writer. Depending on the lyricist’s vocabulary and the strength of their emotion, the listeners are more often than not boxed in by the polarization of base, stereotypical clichés (I’m looking at you, All Time Low) and stanzas so cryptic that they might as well be written in a foreign language, and are only fundamentally understood by the author (I’m looking at you, Circa Survive). This paradigm is seldom broken, but when it is, we as listeners embark on some of the most cutting musical experiences to be had. Two recentreleases have already smashed it to pieces and made this October much more haunting than normal, but there is a yet to be known third which will reduce it to dust: Good Weather For Airstrikes’ To Have Our Hearts Emptied, To Be Left As We Came.
It starts off innocently enough, with a solid three minutes of particularly dark but otherwise typical post-rock. Then, without warning, we are confronted by a bitterly nostalgic opening verse, delivered with a voice as timid as it is tortured. This single moment captures the perfect picture of what the rest of the album will be like—gloomy, aural post-rock that enhances the energy behind the emotive vocals—as variance from the general heart-tugging despair is very limited. The few aberrations from the bleak aura Good Weather For Airstrikes have crafted come in the form of pop-rock tempos with the sort of riffs that one would expect from Mae, with a lightness to them that so contrasts the vocals it is as though the happy world around the narrator is mocking his suffering.
As a whole, however, the music remains filled with builds that gently reach higher, as if to represent the expansive and complex dreams once held so dearly beginning to fade away, and the vocals rotate between the softly spoken manifestation of emotional frailty, and painfully expressive Moving Mountains-esque yelling. Why all this emotion? A quick examination of the lyrics is all that’s necessary to determine the need for it. To Have Our Hearts Emptied, To Be Left As We Came deals with with an overall theme of regret for one’s circumstances, what one has become, the poor habits and decisions that people succumb to when they leave childhood, and how those poor habits and decisions affect interactions with others. The somewhat self-defeating one-liners that are taken from this song might seem vulnerable to the stereotypical cliché mentioned previously, but when examined in full context this notion is indisputably dashed away.
To Have Our Hearts Emptied, To Be Left As We Came represents the thoughts of millions during these hard economic times we are experiencing. People everywhere are abandoning virtue in favor of vices, only to find that their inner demons are continuing to feed on their souls while simultaneously preying upon the relationships which keep them whole and sane. For the listener who has not yet reached the depths of despair presented in To Have Our Hearts Emptied, To Be Left As We Came and may be on their way to doing so, I hope that it serves as a wake-up call to get their lives in order. I know it certainly did for me.