Philip Lynch is staging an emotional boycott.
There's a beauty unseen or unrealized lurking everywhere around our reluctant protagonist in "Half Empty". He's declaring neutrality. But he's brandishing the kind of indifference you only earn from riding a ship to the ocean floor.
For whatever he's not interested in feeling, the voice I hear betrays chasms of experience, and from start to finish, "Half Empty" has the feeling of a hard-learned lesson. There's good humor in the song's bright, kick-along cadence. But the percussion borders on... vaudevillian. Is he, or is he not, putting on a show? Just how solo is this monologuist who knows all too well there's an audience measuring him, just beyond the footlights?
Love, when we first reach it, presents transcendent beauty. It's the kind of beauty that's hard to forget once you've seen it -- and there's no doubt that this now-placid figure has seen it. Lyrical e-Bowed guitar seems to stand in for a mournful wind, in memoriam. And it's this contrast that sticks with me the most: the voice of experience vs. the haunting.
Sometimes you embrace someone on the street, and something of their scent -- a cologne, freshly cleaned hair -- clings to your clothes as you walk away, and a day later, this scent has greater meaning. Then there are those objects that absorb our histories and take on lives of their own: the knick-knack we always find a place for, the T-shirt we never throw away. These things remind us of another time but more importantly, another version of ourselves, one with a different purpose, different convictions and a different heart. Maybe we remember beauty, and our former understandings of what it might mean to us, with the kind of nostalgia that lurks here.
This is a survival story, the last words before a hard conversation is (blessedly, finally) over. But the past is all over "Half Empty", dragging at us with a weakening but unforgettable grasp. Call me crazy. I think it's a crazy sentimental tune.
Then again, the best works of art are vessels for our own mythology. We recognize the destination. And we'll all fill in how we got here.
-- Anne DeAcetis
"Half Empty" was originally released in a different version as part of Philp's EP Four Songs (WBR 03) before this website was launched. (See also "The Well" (WBR 21).) The version posted here has been remixed, and has had additional instrumentation added. All of the new recording took place in the instrumental break in the middle of the tune. The track was then mastered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk. It has definitely never sounded better; we hope you enjoy it.--James Beaudreau