Tunesday: Langhorne Slim – “Checking Out”

It’s Tuesday so that means at ilisteniwatch.com, it’s Tunesday! Every Tuesday, we will share a song with you that we love and hope you will too.

Yesterday marked seven years that I’ve been married to my wife, Amanda. Naturally, I spent much of the day reflecting, thinking about our marriage, about when we met, and our wedding itself. Missing from that reflection, I realized later, was nostalgia. They are happy memories, of course (is it even possible to have a bad autumn wedding?), but they don’t turn me nostalgic. I don’t long for the early days of our courtship, I don’t wish it was still our wedding day, and I don’t get wistful for the first few years of our marriage. I loved all of those moments when they happened and I am thankful for the memories, but after I reflect on them, I end up back in the happy present. The joy of marriage is spending every day, big and small, with an amazing person who makes you smile and laugh more than anyone else could. I’m thankful for what I have right now, and am excited for what comes next.

So when I thought about writing a Tunesday this week, I did consider briefly the song Amanda and I had played for us at our wedding (it was “Of Angels and Angles” by The Decemberists), but that song no longer means much to me beyond that moment — it represents a happy day that formally united me and my wife, but that’s seven years in the past. Instead, I want to share a song that better represents I how I feel now, happy about my present days, excited about my future days: “Checking Out” by Langhorne Slim (coincidentally, released the same year as “Of Angels and Angles”).

I don’t know what this song is actually about. That’s between Langhorne and his guitar. Or, according to a few YouTube comments, between James Jackson Toth and his notebook. I don’t know for sure who wrote it or what they intended. It might be that Langhorne is singing literally about living in a small town, about forgetting the details of where he lives, about going home. It might be that Langhorne is singing metaphorically about something he doesn’t intend for us to know about. It might even be that Toth wrote it with one meaning in mind and Langhorne sings it with another in his mind.

The meaning that comes to my own mind when I hear this song is marriage. When Langhorne sings of coming home, I think of being with my wife, and of Edward Sharpe singing, “Home is wherever I’m with you.” When Langhorne sings to his momma that he’s got to hit the road and head home, I think of our pastor reciting Jesus at our wedding, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” And when the full band comes in halfway through the song, joyously playing that danceable music that only Langhorne can create, I feel the love I feel every day that I’m home, every day that I’m with Amanda, the only person who can prompt me to dance even when there is no music.

Read more from Jeremy here and on Twitter: @jereminate.