Greely Red Vest - While I Was Sleeping
Greely Red Vest is my (Mark Demcak's) music project. I record, compose, and edit on my PC. I write all the lyrics and music, and play all the instruments, with the exception of some vocals.
On a literal level, While I Was Sleeping is about a man who visits his girlfriend in the hospital. He loves her, but senses that she doesn't love him anymore. At some point, her medication kicks in and she rolls over, turning away form him, pretending to sleep, as if she doesn't want him there. He watches her for a bit, not wanting to leave because that seems to him like confirmation that their relationship is over. After a while, he feels like a creep just standing there, not talking, so he leaves. He spends the night walking around the city. At sunrise, he finds himself standing down by the river, watching the sun rise, and the sun lights up the sky like an atomic bomb.
When his girlfriend wakes up, the cold and lifeless sounds of machines and smells of disinfectant make her feel the need for the comfort and reassurance of her boyfriend, but she looks around the room for him and he is not there. She goes to the window, and in the distance she sees a man standing by the river alone. Somehow she knows it's him, and then she watches the sun light up the sky like an atomic bomb.
In the end, he uses drugs to cope with losing her and facilitate his turning away from her, which brings the story full circle because in the beginning, she turned away from him as the drugs in the hospital washed over her.
The two of them experience the sunrise together but they are alone and apart, perhaps the only two to witness it. This speaks to the meaning of the song on a more general level, as does her knowing that it is him that she sees standing in the distance. The theme underlying the story is that of a deep connection between two individuals. This kind of connections does not have to be between individuals in a romantic/physical relationship. I have experienced it while jamming with some musicians, there is a visceral sense of what the other person is going to do next, while it is non-existent between me and other musicians. There are many other applications of this type of connection.
This song also poses a problem for the idea of deep connectivity between two individuals. If they are so deeply connected, then why does he think she doesn't want him there and that it is over for her, but then when she wakes up, she needs him there? Shouldn't he know what she is thinking and what she needs or wants? Is the connection sever-able in times of stress such as illness, but does it then reconnect later? I do not propose an answer, and in so doing, I celebrate (in my own way) the beauty of the mystery of life. I am one who works unceasingly and obsessively to find answers to the questions deserving of it that come my way. However, there is something magical about leaving some things unanswered.
The album that this song is on is called Tall Grass & Tranquilizers. Tall Grass refers to those wild things in life that we cannot control, typically things that happen to us but also possibly things about us that we don't like or wish we could change. Tranquilizers refer to those things that we use to cope with the Tall Grasses (e.g. food, sex, body building, running, alcohol, drugs, etc; some of which may not be bad for us, or are even good for us, when managed properly).