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The Song That Changed Your Life

The Weakerthans by Greg Pratt

This story is on the shortlist for The Song That Changed Your Life challenge. 

Video source: Youtube.

There's a moment on one of The Weakerthans' albums where drummer Jason Tait hits his snare, and he hits it a bit too far off to the side: for that one hit, the sound is a bit off. Crack, crack, thwump, crack. I don't really like to talk about the specific moment it happens, but it's there. It always reminded me of two things, two quite different things.

One, it sends chills down my spine every single time I hear it because it reminds me of the frailty of humans making music. The little mistakes that can so easily happen say so much about the recording process. What was happening at that moment? Did Tait get distracted? Was he upset about that one hit sounding off? Did the band end up debating it while listening back to the take? Or did anyone even notice?

But, more importantly, that snare hit was a consistent constant on the rocky road of my 20s. Two steps forward, one step back, one step forward: crack, crack, thwump, crack. There will be duds, there will be misfires, but there'll always be that perfect snare hit around the corner.

I may have spent more time listening to The Weakerthans than any other band while I was in my 20s. I've heard that slightly off snare hit countless times. Every time, it speaks to me, reminds me that life isn't perfect, that music isn't perfect, that decisions I make are not perfect. I've never talked about that snare hit before, but it rode with me for many a confused year, and kept me company on many a long night.

So, yes, there's a moment on one of The Weakerthans' albums where the snare is a bit off. I don't really like to talk about the specific moment it happens. But it's there. Crack. Crack. Thwump. And crack. Forever.

Greg Pratt lives in Victoria, BC.

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