I’ve thought a lot the last few weeks about how exactly to write about this new Typhoon album. I’ve come up empty, really, though it’s not because I don’t love it- it is, I think, the finest record released this year- but rather because I don’t know how to talk about it without feeling silly. See, White Lighter is an extremely personal document, one tied to a very specific story, one that has nothing to do with my life…and yet, I, like so many others, it seems, have co-opted it for myself. It feels weird, basically, to talk about how these songs and stories relate to me, because they don’t.
And yet, they do. The personal becomes universal becomes personal again when music is great, and White Lighter is indeed great. Between stories of bug bites and long stints in the hospital are stories of unrequited love, fear (of death, of never fulfilling one’s own potential, etc) and the struggle to all figure it out. These stories break our hearts and poke our minds in familiar ways even though the catalyst for them all- Morton’s struggle with Lyme Disease- is an experience that is very likely completely foreign to most all of us. In the end these songs become, in short, stories that are about us even though they aren’t at all.
I could go on and on about this record- about the genius way Morton weaves these stories in a way that is somehow scattered, focused and wholly human all at once; about the way this album sounds in general (seriously- this is some next level engineering stuff, guys and gals- even the guy who can only hear out of one ear knows that); about how incredibly smart each arrangement on this album is; about what a feat it is that the band is able to do so many things at once and yet never, not once, sound as though they are forcing the issue during a song- but that seems unnecessary right now (and besides, there are people with a whole lot more musical smarts, and a much better ability to write, who can, and will, do so). All that matters to me is this: each time through White Lighter feels fresh and reveals something new, and isn’t that all we want from the albums we love, even if they are about things we’ve never been through? I say yes.