The biggest lie we tell another person is “I don’t need you.” It is also the biggest we tell ourselves. First Aid Kit has relational angst covered. Being Swedish, it only makes sense for sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg to be in this camp, but rather than invoke the Scandinavian mindset to illustrate this, they go straight to the only thing that can rival the likes of Bergman and Undset…..American country music where they look to the tortured and beautiful relationships of Johnny Carter and June Cash as well as Emmylou Harris and Graham Parsons.
The Soderberg sisters tell of a universal thing in a particular way. They use the particular names of a famous couple and famous near couple to evoke the universal need of having another in your life. As long as you have someone to sing your songs with, the poor messy world will be lovely and filled with grace. You don’t have to do too much other than rise above who you are and say, “I need you.” If the other needs you too, life is okay. Johnny and June did this and Graham and Emmylou….on a certain level they did as well. I can relate to the Swedish sisters. I have met June and Emmylou and I think I have been Johnny and Graham too.
There is that perpetual fantasy you can change a person. Psychologists tell us it is not true, but I am not so sure that is entirely the case if somewhere the desire to be changed resides in a person. It seems much to ask for, though it is not. It is only someone asking another to be those good things they see in them. Those are the things they want to be anyway.
We only want to be loved and needed as much as we want those things in return. We think boldly as we hold another gently and all our accomplishment as well as a penchant for self-destruction fly out the door as we allow our vulnerability to sink in while in another person’s arms. If anything comes to the front in “Emmylou,” it is this.
It is cold in Chicago tonight. The rain hits the windows and I think of how a couple of young women from Stockholm sing about how they should be true to their heritage and not abhor the chill. I also think of how the days grow short. I think of the upcoming change to standard time and how this will mean a setting sun before 5:00p.m. It is something I am use to, but I do not like.
The weather is not unrelated to the music of First Aid Kit. Life without the other is indeed cold and something that we can be used to, though should not welcome. Rather we should find in another a warm place and when we think we do not have that place within us, they should be there to tell us this is not true. We do not have to change as much as find the place that is true. That place is where we are loved and needed too.