The previous album, All Eternals Deck, didn't quite succeed in reaching me, though I listen to a couple of the songs regularly. I worried (like you do) that John was going to go somewhere I couldn't follow with his work, and I was going to lose one of the few people currently working who write things that resonate with my soul.
But Transcendental Youth was exactly what I needed.
The honesty and emotion in his writing and singing is a mix of healing balm and concentrated sunlight through a magnifying glass. Perhaps it's best described as something that lances old wounds and lets the poison drain. It's what I love him for: everything he tears open, he puts back together a little better than it was before, and after I've worn through an album, maybe I'm a little more sane.
One thing that particularly caught me was the moment in Night Light when he sings, "Jenny calls from Montana ... Probably never see her again in this life, I guess." We met Jenny on All Hail West Texas, when they ride into the sunset, triumphant for the moment. He hopes she's heading east; he leaves the lights on for her, counting his few scant hopes. I'm left remembering a time when I was fifteen, staring out my window like I could force the love of my life materialise in my driveway, if I believed hard enough.
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