Uncategorized

Jay’s Jams: Eisley, Millstone

Eisley - Currents

Tell me why I’m discontented
Will I die without the details in my hands?
I feel these vines surrounding my heart,

I fear I’m moving at a slower pace again
Tell me how this all unfolds

I can’t find the secret to survive
To grow old safe and sound

Life is sifting through like the sands in the hourglass
There’s not a moment to relive my time and space
There’s not a moment to undo anything

How could I have been this careless,
I fear I’m locked inside another cage again
Shake me from these torturous dreams where I keep screaming
Can’t see how to overcome

‘Cause I can’t find the secret to survive
To grow old safe and sound

Life is sifting through like the sands in the hourglass,
There’s not a moment to relive my time and space
There’s not a moment to undo anything

Reflection

Eisley is one of my favorite all-time bands. They have such beautiful harmonies and evocative lyrics. It doesn’t hurt that their title is derived from the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars: A New Hope. I am also fascinated by the subtly religious ideas that come from their origins as church singers. This album (2013) is melodically gorgeous, and the most hauntingly beautiful song, Millstone, is perhaps the most lyrically dark in an existential way.

One of my favorite biblical books, Ecclesiastes, is also darkly existential at times.

The author was obsessed with figuring out the meaning of life, often feeling that there is no great purpose to life, that all of the “secrets to survive” are ultimately illusion. One of my favorite verses from the whole book, though, offers a suggestion that I think Eisley also offer in many of the other songs on their album, Currents.

“Enjoy happiness with the woman that you love all the fleeting days of life that have been granted to you under the sun – all your fleeting days. For that alone is what you can get out of life and out of the means you acquire under the sun. Whatever it is in your power to do, do with all your might. For there is no action, no reasoning, no learning, no wisdom in Sheol, where you are going” (Eccl. 9:9-10).

Ecclesiastes urges us to treasure our relationships, and to pursue our talents passionately. Live with no regrets, and you won’t worry about reliving your time and space or finding moments to undo what you have done.

Setting Ecclesiastes aside and taking the lyrics on their own terms, I find that there is great comfort in simply asking the existential questions through beautiful artistic expression. For me, the question becomes its own answer.

Rate this song below. And tell me what you think about the meaning of life in the comments section!


Jay’s Jams post at the beginning of every month. Every song I post will be accompanied by a reflection, often but not always connected to Judaism, which elucidates or complicates the meaning I draw from the song. Occasional contributors will supplement my own favorite jams.