“How It Is” from 2002’s Vapor Trails
This is a very up-tempo ditty that hides an examination of desperation and resignation behind its peppy music. That’s right, I said peppy. I like this song because it’s peppy. Deal with it.
Anywho: “How It Is” described the “trap” that catches people from time to time. A trap that says that today is how life will always be, that there isn’t any way or hope of change. The frustrations of life and the world can be overwhelming, and sometimes it just isn’t possible to see the difference between “How It Is” and how we would like it to be.
Very depressing lyrically, it was written during Neil Peart’s recovery from the series of emotionally devastating family tragedies previously mentioned. This song sums up what everyone who suffers goes must think: why me? Will it ever get any better?
Here’s a little trap
That sometimes trips up everyone
When we tire of our own company
Sometimes we’re the last to see beyond the day’s frustrations
That’s how it is – how it’s going to be1
As artists, it is all too easy to succumb to the negativity of what we do, of our perceived inability to properly translate a work from our hearts and minds onto the page or canvas, to wonder why: why it isn’t the way it should be, and will we ever get any better? This thinking is, indeed, a trap.
If we can’t even envision a possible alternative, how can we ever achieve it, in art or in life?
1Rush. “Ghost Rider.” Lyr. Neil Peart. Vapor Trails, Atlantic Records. 2002. CD.