Thoughts on TImeline by the Relative


By the end of the year 2015, I was stressed. 
I was stressed because I had spent this year of my life going a lot of different directions but none of them being the direction I wanted to go. So, I tried to sit down and write out what it was making me spin my wheels. 
As it turns out, like most things it was a pretty layered problem. The biggest culprit, however, was all these loose ends I had created for myself.  Projects, plans, challenges, books, you name it and I probably started yet never finished it.  When I wrote them all out so I could get a clear look at the face of my enemy, I had a peculiar realization. All of these things I had started and never followed through with, were not abandoned because I hated them like I had imagined, they were abandoned even more tragically because I loved them. 
At the same time in 2015, while I was battling my understanding of procrastination, the Tidman sisters were recording a cover of Book Club by Arkells. It wasn't for a record or in a studio it was for youtube on a handheld camera or maybe even a propped up phone. What it was shot on doesn't really matter, because when years later I hadn't remembered the way it was shot but the way Katie and Emily harmonized, and the chemistry they had is what sticks with you. 
In the time between then and now, a lot has happened. The Tidman Sisters went on to form a band called The Relative, there cover of Skinny Love by Bon Iver is as good as any  I've ever heard. Even with the addition of new players they've still found a way to create a harmony that borderlines on hypnotic. It reminds me of the sirens in the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou. Oh, and instead of doing covers of Arkells songs on youtube they were opening for them.
What really interested me was their debut single Timeline. To me, it explores the concept I touched on earlier. Our capacity for self-sabotage and how sometimes love or maybe better-stated desire works against us. I think love and desire are usually a tandem that can change without our knowing it even happened. We start something from a place of real yearning and somewhere along the way it gets poisoned by letting in toxic influence. 
For me, it was the extrinsic value of all my pursuits getting caught up in what success in each would do for others perception of who I was. in the song Timeline, it sounds to me like a relationship that started from a place of love, then as many do, turned sour. But for reasons I don't quite understand human beings tend to have a taste for sour fruit, even if it is to our own detriment. 
Once the lovers in our song establish the toxic nature of their relationship they, and I'm sure everyone around them knows that it would be best to steer clear of each other but that only makes for forbidden fruit the most appealing of them all. So as our protagonist orients her life in the direction she would like it to go, this magnetic force that pulls her towards the things she wants to resist continues to return. In this song by The Relative, it is represented by her ex whom she wonders if this guy keeps a timeline of her life. he keeps tabs on her life to bring her down when she is on the rise. 
all of this is a fascinating an relatable narrative but what I love the most about it is the lyric that may often be overlooked. Most of the song describes the evil exes ability to bring her down, but the most powerful and important line in the whole song to me is at the beginning of the chorus she says " I could let you in".  It tells me she knows that this man holds great power over her but only if she allows him to. 
Knocking on our door there are many influences good and bad but we choose what we open it up to. For reasons unknown often times when we look through the glass and see the big bad wolf, he doesn't need to huff and puff, we just invite him in. 

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Thanks for reading

Jacob Flynn