We’re All In Your Debt Now

Jean Grey School For Higher Learning
1407 Graymalkin Lane
Salem Center, NY 10560

September 27, 2015

Ms. Aimee Mann and Mr. Ted Leo
The Both
c/o 2015 High Road Touring
751 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA 94965

Dear Ms. Mann and Mr. Leo,

First, permit me to express how much I am enjoying your band’s eponymous debut. I have followed your respective solo careers for many years, and your collaborative efforts thus far are exemplary. The songs are intimate, but exude a mature intensity that I find most satisfying. Relaxation is a luxury in my line of work, and I maintain that one must celebrate leisure. A listening party with old friends, a bottle of Stolichnaya, perhaps a hand-picked selection of organic cronuts…there is a nary a greater feast of finery to be had, and listening to your album invariably kindles that sentiment in me. I am quite accustomed to multiverse travel–usually involuntarily–and it is my fervent hope that just once, I shall be flung into an alternate reality where my principal responsibility is to kibitz with David Grohl about The Colour and the Shape over eggs Benedict and mojitos. I remain optimistic.

Some years ago, I enjoyed considerable success as a commercial artist, and while my preferred medium differs from your own, I trust that we share an affection for depth and subtlety. Those attributes shine through most brightly in “The Inevitable Shove,” which is, for me, the pinnacle of your remarkable album. The first time I heard that chorus:

No, you can’t blame
the ones that you love
But you’re still gonna blame
the ones that you love
So now I’m steeling myself
for the inevitable shove

Oh, how my heart sung then, as it has every time thereafter! I do not wish to appear boastful, but steeling myself to avoid shoving is my area of expertise. It is a difficult and often unacknowledged practice, and the burdens I bear feel significantly lighter because after several decades of doubt and frustration, I know now that someone understands. I have attempted to discuss the matter with my co-workers after substantial field engagements, but they always seem distracted. One of them walked through me mid-sentence. Another simply shrugged and said “Sorry. It’s a tough world, bub.” I cannot avoid steeling–it is a job requirement–but I can alter my perspective on its application. When my skin hardens and the Earth is threatened with complete annihilation, I hum your lyrics to myself and they reassure me that the metallic barrier is only skin deep and not a reflection of my character.

And truth be told, I do frequently blame the ones I love;  coping with family members can be hellish. Especially sisters. But I remain a work in progress, as are we all, yes?

I appreciate your time and wait with anticipation for your follow-up album.

With gratitude,

Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin

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