Today I want to write about my experience of The Darkness’s ‘Hazel Eyes’ from their second album ‘One way ticket to hell and back’.
When the album came out, my college friends recommended it to me. But despite loving the band I didn’t want to listen to it. This is basically because I was terrified of what I call The Evil Train on the album cover. I didn’t want to have anything to do with The Evil Train. Call it artistic sensitivity or being an utter wuss, the end result was the same, I dodged the album like a small animal dodges hooves in a stampede. For a while.
For me trains were a symbol of fate, because they move on tracks. Forgetting that trains can switch tracks, I also saw them as a symbol of predeterminism. At the time I only believed in one possible future, in the same way that there appears to be only one past. This was an idea that gave me a smug peacefulness, and the idea that the train/fate itself could be possessed seemed to attack my philosophy. I pretended the album had not happened, and I did not listen to it.
After college I skipped off to university. Before the tidal wave of ordinary life could threaten to hit me, I ran away with a brain scientist to paddle in LSD etc. He had the impressive goal of searching for a cure for epilepsy. He weighed our recreational drugs with the same attention to detail he possessed in the lab. I felt in safe hands. Unfortunately he had an addictive personality and things slid into chaos. I stayed until he finished his Phd. It seemed that if I left before then he would have been unable to finish. My parents drove me home, and I remained quiet in the car. However once back in the house, and it was safe to do so, I screamed a lot.
One following summer I wrote to a man on a dating site. That day we bounced a few emails, and I found he was able to take some of the pressure off. We got talking about many things, but especially music. Following my bad trips, I had the idea that I could not listen to certain things. He told me about his experiences with music in general, and recommended songs to me. He wasn’t bothered by the idea that a song could give me a flashback. And virtually holding his hand through a musical landscape, I was reassured that the songs he recommended weren’t going to hurt me.
I can’t remember how we got onto ‘One way ticket to hell and back’, but I explained my thoughts about the album cover. In his gentle way he encouraged me to listen to some of the songs. He hadn’t let me down so far, so I did as he suggested. The song I got stuck on was ‘Hazel Eyes’. I was fascinated by this song and we listened to it on repeat.
I had many questions, which my new friend helped me to explore. As a writer of detective fiction, he didn’t give me the answers, but helped me to explore my curiosity where it took me.
What were hazel eyes exactly? Are my eyes close enough to hazel to also inspire the singer? Are my mum’s eyes actually properly hazel? Does that mean he would like my mum’s eyes more? Does the song suggest that he loves pretty eyes in general, and its not so important if they are exactly hazel tone? Etc, etc. My neurotic thinking had become fun again! And the more I shared it the more fun it was. He seemed interested in everything I was interested in simply because I was interested in it. He said he always wanted to be a rock star, but couldn’t so was a writer instead. Anyway we spiralled together, and my madness found a home in him.
Listening to ‘Hazel Eyes’ again reminds me of getting to know him, and rediscovering I could still enjoy my neurotic nature and share that enjoyment with others. I had been through a chaos and felt gloomy a lot of the time but the ‘Hazel Eyes’ song reached me through my gloom. I don’t remember much from that time, but I do remember listening to Hazel Eyes. So this means it feels like a porthole into a forgotten time, which adds to the songs fascination for me today. I also love the album as a whole.