A Life in Song: Wolfsheim

I’m sitting at the coffee shop, working and minding my business when Wolfsheim’s “Once In a Lifetime” comes up on the good old iTunes shuffle. Every time I hear this song, two things come to mind.

I can see him there, underneath an oscillating blue light in a crappy bar beneath Second Avenue. He is close enough to me for his ponytail to almost hit me, and that’s fine, partly because he and I are friends and partly because he is a rather fetching creature. In a few years, a movie of Lord of the Rings will be made and I will think Legolas looks just like him. We will later lose touch. Even later, I will sit in a room crowded with his friends and we will all miss him. This friendship ends as many friendships do.

But when this song plays, he’s there next to me, nearly hitting me with a long blond ponytail, dancing like the fae. We flail without hitting each other and I suspect he will be beautiful forever.

The second thing that comes to mind is another club, another oscillating blue light, just me, my feet, hands and heart. I am focusing on the song’s lyrics:

it’s getting dark too soon
a threatening silence
surrounding me
a wind comes up from the islands
when distance fades to stormy grey
washed out from the deep of the ocean
here I will stand to face your wrath
while all the others are praying

calm down my heart, don’t beat so fast
don’t be afraid, just once in a lifetime
no rain can wash away my tears
no wind can soothe my pain
you made me doubt, you made me fear
but now I’m not the same
you took my wife, my unborn son
torn into the deep of the ocean
I don’t pretend that I love you
’cause there is nothing left to lose

and when silence comes back to me
I find myself feeling lonely
standing here on the shores of destiny
I find myself feeling lonely
I had a life to give, many dreams to live
don’t you know that you’re losing so much this time
beyond the waves I will be free
while all the others are praying

the love in you, it does not burn
there is no lesson you can learn
and there are sounds you cannot hear,
and there are feelings you can’t feel

I don’t pretend that I love you
and this time I’m not scared of you

Not all of the lyrics apply, of course, but what that means to my little hands, considerable feet and frequently identically-racing heart is this:

You can look into the void and realize that, big as it may seem, it won’t take you. Not completely. You can look in the face of whatever is making your heart beat so fast, take your fighting stance, look out over your knuckles and whisper, “bring it.”

My giant wave, friends, is panic. “I will stand and face your wrath while all the others are praying.” “You made me doubt, you made me fear but now I’m not the same.” “And this time, I’m not scared of you.” When that song would play, for 3:40, I could face anything. It was like some German man knew what I needed to hear and handed it to me with a lovely little synth. Even in the height of my crazy, I got nearly four whole minutes of bliss. Nearly four minutes of not ONE thought screaming something stupid and scary at me.

I don’t want to turn this into EBM-bashing, but lyrics like that are why EBM makes me sad. I like when my goth night music is about something. A fun dance beat with a very solid underpinning. That’s what we DO. We were emo first. We come from Keats.

EBM, to me, is like lust. It’s lovely and fun, but it wears off so quickly and then it’s over. Good goth music is like love. Even when the song has been played 100 million times, you still find a reason to dance because the song means something to you. Nobody ever read the lyrics to “Get Your Body Beat” and cried, except maybe an English teacher.