I just got back from a trip to New Orleans. I took my seeds back to spend time with family and to put my grandmother in the ground. At 91, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that she passed, but for a family dispersed around the country by wanderlust, family feuds, and hurricanes, it was a chance to come together again. Despite the backslaps, hearty laughs, firm hugs, the expressions of love and gratitude, unfortunately what sticks are the awkward silences, the things left unsaid, the things said with fury that burn like brands, remain like bruises.
The strangest thing is feeling like an outsider in a unit that I grew up as an integral part. I’ll never be anything but one of them, but I don’t talk like they do anymore. I don’t dress like they dress. Don’t think like they think. Don’t feel like they feel. Don’t vote like they vote. Don’t eat like they eat, mostly because they actually eat. It’s a mindfudge when you really realize home just ain’t home no more. And even though they’ll always love the shits outta ya, it ain’t enough to turn back those bastard hands of time. Dead Homes, the new video from Bleubird, really encapsulates that desperate feeling perfectly.
From fingering knickknacks, to sleeping on couches surrounded by antique dolls, there is an almost dreamlike catharsis to sitting in relatives’ houses, thinking that these used to be my surroundings. These little artifacts of lives lived have been layered upon and now married to memories in a way that makes everything simultaneously familiar and completely foreign. It’s all there, but the differences between then and now are stark. But I can’t tell if the change is in the surroundings, or in me. I’m pretty convinced that the old me is gone – a sepia memory of a chubby tow-head in faded, round-edged photographs. But the old worn recliner remains, flanked by rosary beads and floral-print couches, beneath pictures of aging grandchildren like a gruesome timeline of unrealized potential. The whole time, I wanted to run away, and at the same time already miss it.
I know this wasn’t much about the actual video, but hopefully it contributes to some level of introspection in you as well. Transitioning from haunted, in-and-out of focus tchotchkes to a skeletal wanderlust, Bleubird's, Dead Homes is gripping, visually interesting, and its ghostly sentiment is a welcome respite from rap video clichés. Bleubird is riding a wave of quirky, fast-rapping, art rap emo-cees, but the crazy thing is the wave is of his own creation.