The first time I listened to Explosions in the Sky was June, 2007. I’m not sure why I remember that month specifically or why it’s important, because it really isn’t, but it sticks out to me for some reason. I have a crazy good memory, I suppose, but that’s neither here nor there. A friend of mine had posted a link to “First Breath After Coma,” which is the opening song to “The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place,” an album that has subsequently changed my life in ways that only music can do.
Within the first minute of that 9:34 song (yes, I double checked how long it is), I was hooked; I don’t think I was prepared for the rest that would follow because I’d never listened to anything quite like Explosions in the Sky before and I didn’t think music without lyrics could evoke such emotion in me more than music with lyrics. That’s an incredibly powerful gift and I think I hold Explosions in the Sky on a higher pedestal than most because of that.
After I finished listening to “First Breath After Coma,” I grabbed a hold of the rest of that album, and subsequently the rest of their discography because I knew Explosions in the Sky and I were in it for the long haul, man; a decision six and a half years later I don’t regret and still wonder how I made it until 2007 having never heard of them. Before listening to anything else of theirs, I first had to listen to the rest of “The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place,” because that’s where it started.
Obviously, I loved the rest of the album and everything else of theirs I heard, but here’s the thing — I don’t know about you, but there’s something incredibly magical about listening to your favourite song by one of your now-favourite bands for the first time (and, let’s be real, every time after that). I’ll be honest with you, though: I’ve been struggling for the last several hours to write about this because it’s so incredibly difficult putting into words what “The Only Moment We Were Alone” means to me when the song itself, and the album it’s on, don’t even have words.
The thing is, is when I started listening to this band, and this album in particular, I was going through a number of changes within myself: I was 23 years old in 2007 and there was a lot of figuring out who I was (which is ongoing, of course, but that’s besides the point) and what I wanted and this album helped me realise that whatever happens, happens, and it’ll all work out in the long-run.
I’ll admit though, that I’m often cynical when it comes to things, mostly when it’s about love and relationships and that sort of thing, but “The Only Moment We Were Alone” changes that every single time. It’s pretty incredible that a song that’s 10:15 long tells a story almost more beautifully than any song with lyrics because it forces you to listen, literally and metaphorically, because the story is yours and no one else’s. I’ve listened to the song hundreds and hundreds of times, not that that really matters, but it makes me believe in love and all that is good in the world every single time. It gives me hope that there is something magnificent out there and sometimes that’s all I need to know.
The earth is not a cold dead place. In this moment, as I listen to “The Only Moment We Were Alone” with my heart bursting full of love, I truly believe that.