Waste by Oh Wonder
Waste is what I like to call a driving song.
It’s key to note that I cannot drive.
So when I say driving song, I mean that Waste is how a long drive at midnight in the backseat feels. If it’s late enough and the sun long has vacated the view of the sky, and a sterile lightbulb glow dulls my room, I can look out from my bedroom — at the suburban view — and instantly be transported into the backseat of my dad’s first car.
He’s picking me up after a day spent out at a friend's place. The hum of the engine lulls me halfway to sleep, the streetlights passing above in flashes, the night coolness sneaking into the car. This song with its electric piano drone and a deep and invisible bass captures the perfect colour of dark, the rocking between notes like the rapid lights over half-lidded eyes.
From the backseat, the noise and ringing from the party and presence of other people melt into the solitary silence of my own thoughts, like the dual vocal in singing in constant harmony, highlighting the oneness, the alone. The repetition of lyrics in soft broken honesty feels at once like realization, confession, and spiral,
“What a waste, what a waste \ What a waste to be so alone \ A waste, what a waste \ What a waste to be so alone”
I look out at the twinkling faraway lights of other streets and cars all going home, glittering like the piano notes dancing over that bass drone. Lights in kitchens and bedrooms, warm against the midnight blue. The ache of a belonging you are not part of, to be the hungry child at the window watching the feast, and most painfully, the family. Across the top of the hill on the highway, the view passes slowly as we go too fast between cities, hundreds of those lights, every light someone’s story you’ll never know, but you can feel the brightness of, as the car picks up speed. As the drums fade in.
“A waste, what a waste \ What a waste to be so alone \ A waste, what a waste \ What a waste to be so alone \ So alone, so alone”
The pounding relentlessness of the one thought, the echoing cacophonous build that grows to a point of climax. The hurtling realization, that rapid banging that suddenly disconnects like driving over the edge of a cliff.
Of course that’s not what happens. It’s only the jolt of the car to a stop when we reach home that wakes me from the fitful doze, quickly wiping away the tears as my dad calls my name.
Anway. Waste taps into the resoundingly deep well of sadness and wanting of my childhood — a depth and desperation maybe only children can feel, when they feel with their whole being, their entirety focused on and filled with the one singularly overwhelming feeling of first-time fresh pain. Unshed tears with cheek pressed against the window, moving further and further away from the people you love.