Blue Sky Blues – Ryan Adams- The Fine Line Between Darkness and Light

Blue Sky Blues - Ryan Adams

The crippling effects of depression torment not only the person suffering through endless depths of sadness but also burdens those close, family and friends who futilely throw out life lines hoping to offer motivation and inspiration. Depression is a solitary ailment, like being lost at sea in a tiny rowboat or wandering an immense wintry forest during a blizzard. Celebratory aspects of life, parties and dinners, become cause for panic and inspire apprehension and paranoiac distress. Only those who have battled this insidious enemy can understand the exhaustion and frustration it produces. Some tire of the conflict and opt for the quietude of death, while others force it to fit into their lifestyles, like wearing a shirt with a collar two sizes too small.

Ryan Adams released his eighth studio album 29 in December of 2005. It is a moody portrayal in song of life’s precarious psychological journey, a balance on the line that separates darkness from light. In no song does the emotional landscape of depression find finer expression than in “Blue Sky Blues.” Opening with an elegiac piano line that sets a somber mood and followed by Adams’ hope for the release of rain, the song presents immediate internal drama. A blue sky, normally associated with placidity and emotional stability, for Adams is a disguise concealing the storm that is bottled internally. He likens his emotional state, the weight, to “working on a mountainside” and “Trying not to slide into the ocean.” Whether “Blue Sky Blues” is Adams’ internal dialogue or an expression of his compassion for a lover suffering through debilitating sadness is not as significant as the distinct atmosphere created, his remarkably intuitive ability to choose colors that musically and lyrically communicate the deeply stormy and very personal experience of blanketing darkness, the abandonment of hope. A place Adams brilliantly and poetically views as an icy lake, coldly numbing and unstable. In the final there is no victory but there is the resolve to fight even though he may lose what’s left of his mind.

“Blue sky, when you gonna learn to rain?
And let yourself go blue for once29 Ryan Adams
And let go of that weight you’ve been carrying
In this house, no one goes to sleep for days
It’s like we’re working on a mountainside
Trying not to slide into the ocean

I can take care of you
But only if you want
I’m strong enough to carry you
Across the icy lake..Across the icy lake
But I can’t fight your blues
‘Cause I know I’ll lose
What’s left of my mind
I can’t win but for you I will try
My baby blue

My mountain is hidden in a pile of trees
And she’s the one I’ll have to climb
If I ever wanna see over the ocean
Blue sky
When you gonna learn to rain?
And let yourself go blue for once
And let go of that pain?

I can take care of you
The way you’d like to feel
Underneath the riverbed
Across the icy lake..Across the icy lake
But I can’t fight your blues
‘Cause I know I’ll lose what’s left of my mind
I can’t win but for you I will try for you
My baby blue”