GE;TS (01.09): Harvey Milk – Goodbye Blues
By Matt Gburek Tuesday, 26 May 2009

“Good-Evil; The Soundtrack” is a weekly feature that showcases an editor’s song pick complete with a small write-up and a YouTube video or streaming version of the song. This week’s selection by Matt Gburek is “Harvey Milk – Goodbye Blues”.

Harvey Milk – Good Bye Blues
Found at

I was sitting in an airport in Arizona in early September of 2008 after visiting some family when I first heard “Goodbye Blues” by Harvey Milk, a soul crushing eulogy of sorts dedicated to the severance between you and every good thing currently involved with your life. Perhaps my bittersweet family reunion at that time had left me a little wistful and accentuated the overall effect of the song, but Goodbye Blues nonetheless ultimately stands to me as a perfect example of Harvey Milk doing what they do best: creating music that is both emotionally powerful and yet utterly tears me apart. From the opening slow, crushing, bass notes and drum kicks, the song grabs hold of you. It hits hard and heavy, lets the silence in between riffs set the stage for the next attack, changes rhythms and then hits again. It continues in this fashion before building up steam- as if releasing rage and anguish at the reality of parting- and then midway through becomes a frenzy of southern rock guitar noodling and bass feedback before resuming its plodding, crushing pace, but louder than ever and, in a sense, oddly triumphant in its final moments. But the instrumentals and composition aside, like all of

my favorite songs by Harvey Milk, what really gets to me and pulls at my heartstrings is the pained, soulful voice of frontman Crespin Spiers. His tortured, booming wail encompasses everything as he bellows nearly unintelligible lyrics from his tattered vocal chords. It is these overwhelming vocals which set the tone for the song and which ultimately resonates and causes a catharsis of sorts within the listener, such to the point where things like lyrics or poetry would end up being a hindrance to the raw, unchained emotions at the pain of loss that are being conveyed through pure sound. Ultimately, the song, for me, paints a picture of loss and describes the stages within: realizing that something or someone that matters to you is exiting your life forever, sinking into despair and sorrow because of it, choosing to get angry about it, and then, in the end, finally accepting the reality of it all and acknowledging that saying goodbye to something you love is inevitably necessary as change is the only thing you can count on in life, and thus at last obtaining the willingness to move on. In this context, its abrupt change into a rendition of “Merrily We Roll Along” at the end of the song on the album (I kid you not, I assure you) almost feels oddly well-timed. Well, almost. The past couple years have been a farewell of sorts in a lot of ways for me, and as the years go by faster and life changes in ways that I can’t keep up with anymore, I’m glad to have found a soundtrack to that feeling, something out there that makes me realize I’m not alone. All I can do is post that song here and hope it does the same for you out there, whoever you are.

One Response to “GE;TS (01.09): Harvey Milk – Goodbye Blues”

  1. Zach Patterson Says:

    I like it, reminds me of Helmet a little bit, along with a couple other bands.

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