Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
26 Aug 2005: South Street Seaport New York
Seeing you here, beneath the moon, the wind blowing off the East River cooling my giant cup of Coors Light, I knew that I couldn’t keep it bottled up any longer. I just had to write and tell you how I feel.
No! No, of course I still love you. That won’t change. My love is as reliable as your falsetto: never failing, never faltering, and never growing weak. Don’t get me wrong, you haven’t changed a bit. You’re still the adorable, elder statesman of Lookout Records. Always have been, always will be.
It’s just that, in the years that we’ve been together, ever since The Tyranny of Distance first swept me off my feet, not much has changed in our relationship. Every time we meet you’re just as charming as the first time; you still play better than all the indie, punk, and emo guitarists out there. And I always know just when you’re going to sing an octave or two up.
And it’s still great, really really great. It’s just that, well, lobster is delicious and all, but after years of eating it every night, wouldn’t you start to crave chicken?
I still love hearing “Timorous Me”, “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?”, and all those other old songs. Almost every song on Tyranny and Hearts of Oak seemed like a hit when I first heard it and, in a sense, each one still does. And yet, this time, when you walked offstage without playing “Biomusicology”, my heart leapt!
At first, I was confused, but then I understood: it’s not that I didn’t want to hear it, it’s just that you’re so dependable, so eager to please, that you always play it. It’s always there. When you finished without playing it, I thought maybe some of the spontaneity, the magic, had come back into our relationship.
And then… you came back and played it in the encore. Sigh. It sounded as great as always, but I wish you had held back. Sure, you had me all worked up, but sometimes it’s better to leave a person wanting more.
I’d like to say “It’s not you, it’s me”, but I think we both know it’s not that simple. You said it yourself at the show: you haven’t had anything new to say in the past three years. And I understand; believe me I do. There are no vastly new political events to comment on, no new social movements or injustice. It’s just the same ol’ same ol’. And there’s no sense in treading the same ground all over again, not when you did it so perfectly the first time.
Please, please don’t be hurt. I’m not saying we should stop seeing each other forever. I just think that we should try taking a little break, maybe try seeing other people. You know, play the field, see what else is out there. Then, when we see each other again, it will be like falling in love all over.
Thank you for understanding. I know this has been hard but it’s been hard for me too. I’m just glad we won’t end this on a sour note, because you’ll always be my Ted, and I’ll always be:
Your devoted fan,
// Notes from the Road
"Rhiannon Giddens, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, brought her Freedom Highway tour to New York for a powerful show. The tour resumes next week and hits Newport Folk later this summer.READ the article