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Jay’s Jams: Real Estate, The Bend

A
Have I not been clear
Or do I sound insincere?
I’m just trying to make some sense of this
Before I lose another year
It’s all that I can do

B
Because it’s so hard to feel
In control here
Like I’m behind the wheel
But it won’t steer

C
Stepping off the stone
Do I want to, no I don’t
It was clear and wide
The path I left behind
And now I feel alone
No matter what I do

B
Because it’s so hard to feel
In control here
Like I’m behind the wheel
But it won’t steer

A
Have I not been clear
Or do I sound insincere?
I’m just trying to make some sense of this
Before I lose another year

Reflection

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted, so it seems fitting to begin again with this song at Pesach time. Pesach serves as one of the Jewish calendar’s four new years, representing freedom and the forging of communal identity. The Real Estate, in this song, are struggling to find the freedom to steer, but also to cope with the loneliness that can come with freedom.

The Bend’s lyrics are arranged in a chiasm (sometimes called a ring structure). If you label each stanza with a letter, as I have done above, you can easily see how it progresses: A B C B A. Here is a case of form following function, as both the content and the arrangement of the lyrics evoke the cyclical nature of questioning our paths. The title, “The Bend”, adds to path metaphor; the singer’s direction has changed, and he seems unclear as to whether that was a good choice or not, or even that it was a choice. Interestingly, a bend usually refers to a turn in a road, not to a departure from the road itself. Perhaps the singer hasn’t truly left the path, but is just unable to see it in the moment. The title of the album, “Atlas”, provides further imagery for what the band is seeking – some sense of direction and furthermore, agency, in mapping out the next stage of life.

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