The Antlers – Kettering.
The Antlers were the 8th most popular band at South by Southwest this year. I’ve been listening to The Antlers for quite some time now in love with not only their music, but also their lyrics. They’re currently my 11th most popular band I’ve listened to since 2005. Their album, Hospice, is a concept album about, well, hospice…a person taking care of a child dying of cancer. It’s all about the struggles, the relationship, the interdependence, and the jealousy that’s developed between a healthy caretaker and a dying young person. I’d say it’s the most beautiful artistic expression of one of the most painful things to witness in the world– the apparent unfairness of a dying young person. I chose to be a pediatrician because children don’t die very often. Old people die all the time. But when children died and I was there as a part of their life, it hit me so hard I couldn’t really stand it. It’s surely one of the reasons why I no longer practice. I never wanted to feel responsible for a child’s death. And listening to this album makes me feel for all of those saints who are ushering people through the process of passing on. It’s probably one of the most noble, and most needed, professions on earth.
And for some reason some band in Brooklyn called The Antlers decides to make a rock album out of this experience. They made something stunning:
I wish that I had known in that first minute we met, the unpayable debt that I owed you. Because you’d been abused by that bone that refused you, and you hired me to make up for that. Walking in that room when you had tubes in your arms, those singing morphine alarms out of tune kept you sleeping and even, and I didn’t believe them when they called you a hurricane thunderclap. When I was checking vitals I suggested a smile. You didn’t talk for awhile, you were freezing. You said you hated my tone, it made you feel so alone, and so you told me i ought to be leaving. But something kept me standing by that hospital bed, I should have quit but instead I took care of you. You made me sleep and uneven, and I didn’t believe them when they told me there was no saving you.