Love Letter To A Record: Slow Dancer On Dirty Three’s ‘Whatever You Love, You Are’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this new series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Simon Okely, Slow Dancer: Dirty Three – ‘Whatever You Love, You Are’

Dear ‘Whatever You Love, You Are’ by Dirty Three,

I was thinking about the time we first met. You were with Andrew at the time. He tried explaining how beautiful you were during the drive down to his parents’ beach shack. We were 16. We listened to his dad complain about “The Boatman’s Call” CD we insisted he play the whole drive down. I knew more about the world at that time than I do now – I’m almost certain of that.

Andrew was keen to have you all to himself. You belonged, and belong to no one. I remember the way the light came through the curtains that afternoon you revealed yourself to me. In that bedroom, on the bed, laying on the sandy sheets. I was submerged by the burn of the sun, and the still of the house during afternoon rest. And the headiness of you. I’d never experienced anything like you before. You had the figure of a wet dream vision. You were the ocean when we would swim, when it was unsafe to swim, when we would sit and watch, when we would light fires on the shore at night. You were mournful, but not depressed. You revelled in the hilarity and the beauty of how fucked up this whole thing is.

You seemed to understand a part of me I thought was embarrassing, ill-fitting, too shy, too sensitive, too melancholic. You didn’t care, you saw a wisdom in it. You were my first real teacher. You taught me how saying nothing can say everything. You taught me that my strength is my weakness. The bad notes are the good ones. There is a rhythm in everything. A story doesn’t need a beginning a middle and an end. It can be a mood. A mood can be far more compelling than any narrative.

I am older now but when I look into your eyes I still see you looking back at me exactly as you once did. You are timeless. You make me feel timeless. I am finite. I will end. You will outlive me. I’m not sure knowing you was better than not because leaving will be unfathomably hard knowing you get to stay, and I have to go.

But I feel my love for you is eternal.

Slow Dancer’s ‘In A Mood’ is out now. You can catch Slow Dancer performing live this July at shows in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. See dates and details here.

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