The state I'm in right now is a mixture of mesmerization and depression. Listening to "Sparklers," the fifth song on Rocky Votolato's excellent new release, True Devotion (out Tuesday), I can't help but rock myself into a stupor. It is the sort of lonely you want to feel when you listen to music. The kind of sad, beautiful realization that you are alone and that everything is fleeting and that life might not always hand you roses.
Sure, it's saddening, but it's also admirable. A simple, spare guitar and a soft, gravelly voice - that's all Rocky needs to move you into a state of deep, strong emotions.
Although he might not think of it this way, I believe that Mr. Votolato uses two strategies to reel you in:
1. Stunning imagery - Is it just me, or do the following lyrics paint such a vivid picture in the brain?
Bottle rockets and smoke bombs lying dead on the sidewalk
Are black marks on the concrete now but they were beautiful last night
A picture of our life
Can we make this what it was
Everything is right, Everything is wrong
Sparklers only burn for so long
2. Dancing guitars - Is it just me, or does the guitar picking in this song float around as gently as those of an Elliott Smith song? Listen for yourself, and let me know.
I'm obsessed. Depressed. All a mess-ed.