The following is a free form, stream of consciousness type of article style that i’m trying out. You have been warned.
Right now, I’m sitting in the darkness of a train car with my fingers crossed that the WiFi will work. In a few minutes, I’ll begin the five-ish hour journey back to Chicago from a Model United Nations conference in St. Louis. By the look on the faces of my club buddies, I can tell that this is going to be a pretty quiet and sleepy ride home.
I’m ok with that… In fact, I’m thankful for it. Like most college students, I have a lot of sh*t to do, and a long train ride seems like the ideal place to do it. By this point I’m passing on top of a bridge overlooking the whole of the city. Compared to the Chicago variant that I’ve grown up with, the St. Louis skyline feels a lot more humble, but still looks beautiful under the crimson light of the setting sun.
I’ve never actually been to St. Louis before. I mean, I’ve driven through it several times, but have never stopped to appreciate it. Much like its skyline, the city itself feels like Chicago’s more low-key cousin. Instead of the Sears Tower there’s the Arch, which in my mind has always seemed like an odd juxtaposition to the rest of the town, which for some reason keeps reminding me of a much larger and nicer version of Elgin.
Fifteen minutes into the trip, and the sun has already disappeared. I really shouldn’t be surprised, because we’re still in that part of the year where that shiny, round b*stard thinks its ok to clock out before six. Thanks to its absence, the view from my window is dominated by silhouettes dressed with the occasional shades of orange lights.
Music duties for this trip have been delegated to YouTube, because it seems like Spotify just isn’t showing up for work today. The first song on the itinerary is a Peter Gabriel tune released a few years ag-
My friends on the train just got busted for blocking the isles… funny.
Anyway, the track was released a few years ago as part of a collection called OVO. Right now I’m listening to a live version, because I feel like the studio version is a bit disappointing. Why? Ok, so the song actually features two lead vocalists. In the live version the track features Gabriel and his Daughter Melanie singing together, but for some reason in the studio version, vocal duties are shared between Melanie and… some dude.
Now granted, he probably is somebody… but nobody I could recognize. His voice is nice yeah, but it’s nothing memorable. I remember being confused when I first heard this, because those silky smooth Peter Gabriel pipes that I have grown to love were replaced by a voice that seemed fit for the High School Musical soundtrack album.
Thankfully, the live version does the job. The song has the construction of something off of his US album, which mainly of slower paced tunes with a heavy emphasis on synths and vocals, with an experimental edge. Gabriel and his daughter share a good vocal chemistry, and hearing two different iterations of the song’s really pretty verse melody in the same song is a real treat.
I’m analyzing the living shark tank out of this song because A) I’m bored, and B) the damn thing has been stuck in my head for the past week and a half.
Also my people got another warning from the conductor so that’s fun.
We’re a few hours into the train ride, and I’m starting to realize that this article might be the only productive thing I do during the ride. This is thanks to the internet connection on the train, which is about as reliable as the Illinois state government.
Right now I’m just listening to my companions discuss what the ratio of bangers to non-bangers in a DJ’s set should be.
“You need to start with the slower songs, and then work your way up to the monstrosity bangers,” says one of them.
“Nah man, you need to have a non stop river of bangers. If you don’t, then why even bother,” retorted the other.
Both points seem pretty solid. On the one hand, a DJ needs to be conscious of the pacing of the party in order to ensure a slow but steady rate of LITification. On the other hand, they need to consider that not everyone arrives at the same time, and that momentum of the party may suffer from a lack of bangers, causing catastrophe. Personally, I think the keys lie in a happy medium between both options.
By this point in the ride, snow has joined the equation. With every stop, the conductor warns that the stairs to come off of the train could be icy. What a bummer that would be. One minute you’re stepping off of the train, only to find yourself face down in the concrete the next. Sounds like something I would do.
Dangerous as the snow may be, it sure as hell is beautiful. Now the canvas of silhouettes and the occasional light is now punctuated by flurries of the sparkling snowfall. With nothing left to do, I rest my head on the window and watch the flakes fall until I black out.
Or at least, until the conductor gives us another warning.