Jay’s Jams: The Antlers, Surrender

The Antlers: Familiars

Well I hope, when you can’t hear what I am thinking, you know I can’t always talk
but I’m always listening in an absence, where you hate to feel uncared for,
pretending there’s nothing that you’re not prepared for.
Who are you lapping when you’re running from surrender if life is a fatal race for all contenders?
To find the peace within the combat where we’re standing, we have to make our history less commanding.

Well, our mercy is a boundary we’ll surrender when love is a safer place we both remember.
Like an old estate that stands in no location at the edge of an age of endless renovation.
And while all that noise competes for our attention, we’ll meet on a quiet field in our own dimension.

We’ll step inside a world far less demanding when we allow for something less commanding.


The Antlers require patience and multiple listens, because they do not write catchy, up-beat songs and they put a lot of attention into the details that on first listen sound like a murky ocean. This album was a slow-burn for me, but eventually grew on me to the point of becoming one of my favorite releases of 2014. The songs mostly focus on coming to terms with past failures and current insecurities.

The penultimate track, Surrender, makes the argument that in order to find some peace you have to mute the voice of your own history (or the shared history within a relationship). At first I felt some resistance to the phrase, “make our history less commanding”, because it somehow diminished the reality of past pains and prides that should be honored.

However, I’ve come to realize that, in the words of Mordecai Kaplan, “the past has a vote but not a veto”. Who we are, as individuals and as partners and as larger communities, owes for better and for worse a great deal to past choices and past experiences. But in this moment, I (and we) are not bound by our past; in this moment I am who I am in this moment, not simply the sum total of who I was in previous moments. And that means I can rediscover a sense of wholeness in being fully present, and perhaps find some peace. And just perhaps, the ability to move away from habits that lead to suffering.

Surrendering (the past) leads to freedom (in the present).

What do you think?