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Title: ‘Two Drifters’
Where to find it: ‘Dreaming of Another Day’ EP (2010, Fierce Panda)
Performed by: the Crookes featuring Little Glitches
Words by: Daniel Hopewell

Last month I was contacted by a Crookes fan to help her with a project she was doing on them. Why she contacted me: she complimented me on my writing, had read all I’d written about the band, and was interested in my journalist’s opinion on them. It felt pretty special to be asked and I’ve been told the feature on me would be running this Thursday, so stay tuned, I’ll update this post with the link once I have it. Update: read the Q&A with me on One Week // One Band this way.

Her interviewing me had me revisit all the Crookes music I had and think about the unique journey I had with them, first as a fan, then as a journalist and friend of theirs. I came across this one, which seems like such a huge departure from their current album ‘Soapbox’. It seems to fit my current mindset; I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately and came up with a four-word phrase that I will use to name my memoirs.

The phrase is oddly closely aligned to the message in ‘Two Drifters’: despite how fairy tales end, relationships aren’t forever. When one has run its course, it’s best to say goodbye, move on, and keep the good times you had together tucked away in your heart.

First, the words:

Verse 1
Oh, it may be that we are neverending,
but I wouldn’t ever shine my shoes for you.
And you may think that we are done pretending,
that the rain that I wrote came from the blue.

Chorus
Drain my wine like that widow at the window,
and it plays through my mind,
but I’m on another skyline,
from you, from you, from you, from you.

Verse 2
Oh, I look back on when we were two drifters,
drifting along so aimlessly.
We lost our way, forget those days,
because I’m done pretending
that there’s still so much for us to see.

Chorus (modified)
Drain my wine like that widow at the window,
and it plays through my mind,
but I’m on another skyline from you.
Dress in my best clothes just to lean against a lamppost,
and I think of those days,
and times spent the wrong way with you.

Bridge
Ink seeps in through my skin,
forgotten as I etch it in.
Though I may feel better for a while,
even moods grow in and out of style.
I let you get ahead…

Remember me fondly when I’m gone,
I’ve already been happy for far too long.
I know it’s such a shame that we pretend,
my darling, we’re racing towards different ends.
Remember me fondly when I’m gone…

Verse 3
Oh, I look back on when we were two drifters,
drifting along so aimlessly.
We lost our way, forget those days,
I’m done pretending
that there’s still so much for us to see.

Now, the analysis:

There are three things about ‘Two Drifters’ that I think are important to note about this song:

1) The protagonist is a writer. This might not be obvious but in verse 1, it sounds to me like he’s writing a Dear John letter, with rain being a metaphor for darker days ahead and the end of their time together but perceived by the girl as coming out of nowhere:

And you may think that we are done pretending,
that the rain that I wrote came from the blue.

There is also a clue later on in the bridge that the ink (or pen) he uses to write with is all-pervading, even in his most absent-minded of moments:

Ink seeps in through my skin,
forgotten as I etch it in.

2) He’s having trouble letting go, yet he’s cognisant that he and his lover exist on two entirely different planes. He is drinking, presumably to numb and dull the pain he’s having, wrestling with the decision of ending this relationship. He’s comparing the way he’s drinking himself into oblivion to the way a widow – a woman who has lost her greatest love – downs her liquor:

Drain my wine like that widow at the window,
and it plays through my mind,
but I’m on another skyline,
from you, from you, from you, from you
.”

In the second chorus, he admits to trying to hold on to the fondest memories of them being together by going through familiar motions:

Dress in my best clothes just to lean against a lamppost,
and I think of those days, and times spent the wrong way with you.

Later on in the bridge, he explains his difficulty in making his choice:

Though I may feel better for a while,
even moods grow in and out of style.

3) He once was aimless, but now he’s grown up. He understands the fairy tale is over and is done with continuing with the façade that there is anything left to their union. The road ends here.

Oh, I look back on when we were two drifters,
drifting along so aimlessly.
We lost our way, forget those days,
because I’m done pretending
that there’s still so much for us to see.

Those are the basic building blocks. But let’s turn our attention to the most beautiful part of this song, the bridge. In its entirety, the bridge is a gorgeous piece of work on its own, with frontman George Waite emoting its full melancholy. The protagonist is trying to make a clean break but feels the need to give an excuse for why: “Remember me fondly when I’m gone, I’ve already been happy for far too long.” Is it really possible to have been happy for too long? It is as if he was uncomfortable the way the relationship was making him feel, as if it was disturbing his core sadness.

Then he says to her, “I know it’s such a shame that we pretend, my darling, we’re racing towards different ends.” Again, it’s another excuse, an interesting departure from “it’s not you, it’s me.” But in contrast to the latter, it is an actual admittance by him that he and she are different people, wanting different things, having different goals in life. A pretty mature conclusion to come to after presumably younger days and “times spent the wrong way with you.

When I built my first-ever, rinky-dink Web site on my university’s server many moons ago (complete with JPEGs and GIFs of weathered Greek architecture; don’t ask me why, I don’t think there was any particular reason except that they looked cool to me), I set up a page listing variants of that old chestnut about love. You know which one I’m talking about:

If you love somebody,
Set her free…
If she comes back, she’s yours,
If she doesn’t, she never was….

I’m not entirely sure why I devoted so much time to hand code an HTML page that looks like this one (except with awesome graphics and a coloured background, ha). In my first year at school, I’d never even had a boyfriend before. I suspect though that it had to do with being a hopeless romantic, something I’ve carried with me to today. As we get older and gain more experience with life and love, we can take those experiences and use them towards the relationship(s) that will end up working. That’s a positive thing. As Elvis once sang, “don’t be cruel / to a heart that’s true.” Letting go is hard. Knowing when to let go and the process of letting go is a compassionate act.

Lastly, the song in stream form, as it was never released as a single, so there’s no promo for it..

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