Track Life: Autre Ne Veut – “Gonna Die”
Welcome to Track Life, a new daily column in which Jacob Knight shares what he thinks to be the best in music, both new and old.
Autre Ne Veut’s Anxiety is the album of 2013 thus far. Full of soulful croons based around love, sex, life and death, it’s a weird masterwork of catharsis filtered through pure pop music. And though the album seemed front loaded on first listen, the real clincher came later in the record. While singles “Play By Play” and “Counting” provide an almost orgasmic amount of R&B release, it’s “Gonna Die”, the seventh track on Anxiety, that sticks to my ribcage long after ingesting the whole of the work.
You see, my greatest fear in life is death; not just me dying, mind you, but the things I hold closest to my heart. Whether it be my beautiful wife or even my goofy little Westie pup, I can’t imagine how I’d be able to cope and go on living without them. “Gonna Die” is an ode to accepting this inevitable fact of existence, a slow jam that consists mostly of Arthur Ashin’s beautiful falsetto repeating:
“Someday I’m gonna die,
and I feel it more acutely now
Than I have for awhile”
Backed by airy synths and a simplistic beat reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey” played at half-speed (and sans shoegaze fuzz), it isn’t a complicated song, but it doesn’t have to be either. Ashin has tapped into something universal here; a feeling that we all share about coming to terms with our own mortality. It may sound pretentious, but it’s true, and that’s what the makes the very best pop music: a lack of fear that becomes borderline transcendent. The first time I heard the song, it got stuck in my head for the entirety of a day, staying with me until I laid down in bed later that night. The words playing over and over in my head, I pulled my wife’s arm over me and felt the warmth of her body, realizing that the point of “Gonna Die” wasn’t just to remind us that death was coming, but to enjoy every second of life while you’re still on this planet.