The PLS is a live interview/live music event hosted by WW's music website, LocalCut.com. And the song (from Niblett's '03 release, I Am) features local singer-songwriter Niblett—who sounds like the lovechild of a less brash Janis Joplin and a more spritely Cat Power—repeating the words, "We're all gonna die" exactly 16 times (I counted). She also repeats the known facts that "We don't know when/ We don't know how." This is not news, of course. But I was listening to Niblett's performance on day three of quitting smoking, and her announcement of my inevitable mortality almost convinced me that I may as well light the cigarette twirling through my fingers.
As Niblett banged away at the drums—the song's only instrument besides her intrepid voice—and switched from a nonchalant deadpan delivery of "We're all gonna die" to an impassioned "We're ah-ah-all gonna die-ee-i!" I sat, in a bar for the first time since quitting, trying to decide what part I would play in my own demise. Now, I'm not someone who'd been trying to quit—even thinking of quitting. I was the lucky recipient of a horrible chest cold recently, and my lungs simply felt so burnt and dry at its height that I took two whole days off the tar and nicotine. Then I thought, Maybe I should see how long I can ride this out. As I type this, it's been almost two weeks, a time period that some folks think means I'm "over the hump."
Hump or no, it's still pretty challenging once I've had a few drinks, but I've been very Yoda-like about all of it: You don't try to quit smoking, you just quit. But Niblett's right; we are all gonna die. And I've identified as a smoker for almost a decade now (and was at about half a pack a day before quitting). As I twiddled that unlit Camel Light in my fingers, listening to Scout, I eyed the lit smoke in PLS host Michael Byrne's hand and strongly considered asking for a drag. And when he put it out on the floor, my heart sank a little. But, earlier in the night during the interview section of Niblett's set, she also said, "I can't continue on this path...the path of self destruction, it's not good." Regardless, I was pretty convinced during "Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death" that I would use the song as an excuse to smoke on the walk home. But I didn't. And I still haven't.
The PLS takes place every last Sunday at the Towne Lounge. Listen to last month's show at LocalCut.com. Here Comes Your Fan is a new weekly column featuring pontifications on all things music-related from WW's trusty music editor.