Listen along!: Little Bubble
A hectic symphony. Uneven breaths. Then, solemn notes. Echoing. A bird chirping? Or metal squeaking?
Reminiscing. Pleasant, but interrupted. More chirping. Less pleasant. Retreating to our little bubble. For a while.
Loneliness. More chirping. Emptiness. Tension. Retreating again. Bubbles. Safely reminiscing of our little bubble. Repeat.
“Little Bubble” by Dirty Projectors is a hectic mess of thought processes. From the first orchestral representation of a panic episode to the last tentatively calming piano note, front man David Longstreth takes us through the uncomfortable story of his breakup with former bandmate, Amber Coffman.
The song’s mood ranges from sadness to full on hysteria. At moments, Longstreth is merely reflective, while other times, he seems too frustrated to concoct a coherent song. Obtrusive elements appear to be thrown in randomly as if Longstreth’s thoughts are being constantly interrupted. The most common interruption: a chirping that seems to emanate from a caged bird whose calls have become metallic like its prison.
Through the story of two mornings, “Little Bubble” encapsulates the difference between feeling loved and feeling alone. The first verse is comforting and even a little enchanting. Lyrics like “Rays of light like champagne filter through into our room/We wake with no alarm,” create the image of a perfect, cuddly Saturday morning. Though the image is perfect, Dirty Projectors’ memory of the morning is not. Every line is interrupted with unpleasant sounds or tense chords as if Longstreth is attempting to remember the morning, but can’t quite reach a state of happiness.
By the second verse, everything good about mornings has been soured. The light is no longer champagne. Instead, it is “a black hole, growling greatness/Century of emptiness.” In addition, the poeticism present earlier is lost. In his heartbroken state, writing every line is pain, and at moments, he gives up. After a poor night’s sleep, he haphazardly states, “Dreams are dumb and meaningless.” Then he almost reaches something profound with “I want to sleep with no dreams,” before resorting to “I want to be dead.”
The only solace from the chirps, confusing noises, and tension points is the chorus. Between the two verses, Dirty Projectors allows us to enter Longstreth’s little bubble. In his bubble, metallic chirps become bubbly blips. Violins work in concert instead of against each other. Thoughts are completed without interruption. With his ex-girlfriend, he was able to live his life in a little bubble, but like the grass in the music video, his bubble was artificial.
We all want to create little bubbles. Whether they surround a partner, a family, or a belief, they artificially exist in our minds. The world is vast and scary. It becomes necessary to create our own little bubbles for a while – even if we know they’ll burst. Dirty Projectors captured that desire. For that, they are my Sunday’s Best.
Jidenna (Bully of the Earth): For masterfully summing up his latest album, “The Chief.”
Lorde (Green Light): Because I’m ecstatic she’s created something new, and I don’t know how I’m going to contain myself until Melodrama arrives.
Portugal. The Man (Feel It Still): Because listening to “Little Bubble” on repeat for a week can get pretty depressing, and “Feel It Still” is an excellent remedy.