New music review :: Passion Pit :: Gossamer

Passion Pit :: Gossamar

Music that at first glance feels happy, circle spinning, low on substance, but high on fun has its time, place, and space in my never ending musical playlist. That said, music that at a second glance, aural glance that is, that throws a punch, tears the skin, and speaks some raw, honest truths, well that music tends to wind up in the “play me more” and “put me in a mix” part of my playlist. What can I say, I like to feel, and I can sometimes be what a good friend of mine refers to as an emotional cutter, meaning not so much that I am a supporter of self-harm (not a supporter, just a survivor, a fighter, and understander), but one that tends to scratch-scratch-scratch at things that often hurt because of their truths. Some pain demands to be felt, as an amazing book that I just read reminded me, and sometimes feeling it is not harmful to one’s self; sometimes it helps you feel less alone, and not so crazy.

Living with someone, and loving someone, with bipolar disorder changed who I am. It also took away attention from my issues, and threw me into this weird space of denial which felt worse than when I was a young girl trying to hide both the abuse I suffered at home and the mental and emotional issues I struggled with. In an unsaid battle of “who has the worse wound”, my husband won every time and he required all the attention and care. Add in his alcohol and drug addictions to the mix, well any troubles I had were forced into hiding. The only time – ONLY TIME – I ever allowed myself to feel myself, and my own baggage and neatly folded issues was when I listened to music. Certain music allowed me the space to let my pain out, albeit briefly, and helped me to feel momentarily held and understood. I needed to feel something, and I knew from my own past of self-harm (mentioned above) that letting myself bleed to a song was a much better choice than the alternative.

Though I am not in that situation anymore I still keep my issues tightly locked up. I do not necessarily mean to, but habit is hard to break, and a big part of me still feels like the things I struggle with are less important than other people’s struggle. So, it is still in music that I hide and release my feelings. I am that girl in tears behind the wheel of her car, on the freeway, not weeping over a break-up or other definable pain necessarily, some days it is just me allowing myself to feel.

With Passion Pit’s new album, Gossamer, I am doing a hell of a lot of that feeling, often while bouncing and bopping around while the tears fall. My two favorite tracks (so far), and the ones pulling at the core of me right now, are It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy and I’ll Be Alright, the latter hitting very close to my heart, and not so distant past. This album is at first glance a destined to be Summer spun dance album, but at second glance something significantly more complex, full of moods and conflictions and marks that are not quite healed enough to be scars.

It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy

I’ll Be Alright

3 thoughts on “New music review :: Passion Pit :: Gossamer

  1. This album caught me completely off guard, even though I knew from the Pitchfork interview that it was loaded with darker themes. I didn’t expect to be so thoroughly gutted.

    I’m on the other side of the coin, albeit a tamer version of Angelakos, but also grew up with my mother, a rapid cycling bipolar with untreated anxiety/PTSD, narcissistic personality disorder and just a whole lot of rage at the world. Jekyll and Hyde, every day of my life. When I act up and lose control, I see and hear my mother, the person I swore never to be, and it adds this layer of guilt and frustration on top of “thanks for the genetics” bitterness.

    I know that it’s not all genetics, that good parenting can assuage inherited tendencies. I don’t believe in banning people with mental illness from having kids. That said, my parents barely got along, did not remotely have their own issues in check, and gave birth to a child with a 100% chance of mental illness of some kind, including 70% chance of bipolarity and 50% of OCD, and more. This is one of many reasons why I chose to never have children: I can’t do this to a child. I can’t bestow a ticking time bomb, especially since I know that I do not have myself in enough order to counteract that inheritance. Some wonderful people can rise above and counteract it (hello, lovely). Not me.

    In the movie Crazy/Beautiful, I am gutted every single time that Kirsten Dunst says, “I know I’m not easy to love, but could you try?” Story of my life.

    Back to the music… Cry Like A Ghost and It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy…. Gah. Constant Conversations, too. Take A Walk is the only joyful song where it only scratches at me, with it’s “I’m just too much a coward to admit that I’m in need”.

  2. Thank you for the compliment, though I’d be lying to say it doesn’t scare me, raising kids, being a mom, knowing the genetics of it all. My oldest shares my anxiety issues, and my body image and self-esteem issues, even though I fought so hard to try and NOT let that carry over to her. My middle daughter I fear may be bipolar, though only time will tell. And, my son has aspergers/autism, which I am quite sure his father had, as well as being bipolar. Thing is, they are brilliant and beautiful and wonderful just like you and I are, just like their father was, and just like everyone else who struggles with whatever issues they have – it is part of life, and I want to try and help teach them how to live in this life. But yeah, I’m scared all the time.

    As to the music – I loved your review of the album and yes, the album is gorgeous and gut-wrenching – yes, yes, yes.


    1. It’s been posited to me that I may have mild Asperger’s and frankly, the more I read, the more it makes sense. I’m on the end of a spectrum, but there’s simply too many signs I exhibit to ignore the possibility.

      I know it’s scary, but the key thing is, you try. My family is one of denial, of pretending not to know, of pretending there’s no issue. So there was no one there to open up to, no one who could tell me that wanting to die at age 8 and planning the way to do it wasn’t normal, nor was it me just being “wrong”. I spent 8 years struggling quietly with mood and anxiety disorders and had no clue that they were an illness, something I could treat, something not inherently my fault for existing. If nothing else, you offer that. That makes you a loving mom. <3

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