Jason Molina: 1973-2013

The PaisleyBlog is mourning the loss of Jason Molina (Magnolia Electric Co. & Songs: Ohia) who passed away Saturday at the age of 39.

As I sit at my desk throughout the week, collecting bits & scraps of music I’m hopeful the PaisleyReaders will enjoy, I’m occasionally struck by a clever tune or elegant lyric which I can parry into a post or two. Sadly, this weekend I heard despairing news causing me to reflect upon my last twenty years.

I discovered Songs: Ohia (and later Magnolia Electric Company) while tending to my education in the late ’90s. Having recently relocated, I was captivated by Molina’s lyrics and found consolation within them. His music speaks with a certain kind of loneliness, a sadness that grows and lengthens along a deeply distant horizon – a wound that, while dressed, never seems to heal – it always returns, despite the days joy or excitement, within the mind’s quietude, moments before sleep.

In a way, Molina sang of the same pain, felt, at some point, by everyone to ever live, whether or not they ever hear his music, and through his song becomes the voice of countless beating and burdened hearts.

What now seems like ages ago, a friend of mine and I sat discussing women over whiskey in some nameless San Francisco bar. He had just met the woman of his dreams, or so he thought, and the only real advice I remember mustering wasn’t even my own, it was a line by Songs: Ohia:

You won’t have to think twice, if it’s love you will know. We get no second chance at this life.

It was at that same moment, with those words still wandering free, becoming trapped by the dark cobwebbed corners of the bar, that something cauterized itself deep within me: This life is short and imperfect and the greatness of it are but short flashes. We cannot let pain sow itself into the soul else it grow roots. Molina was a man burdened by demons and he abused alcohol as a salve. He ultimately sought out treatment in 2012 to “deal with a lot of things that even the music didn’t want to”.

The man himself may be gone, but Molina’s music remains. And while it’s stormy brooding nature appears ubiquitously dark and aching, its true power comes by illuminating the faces surrounding us; no longer obscured, we realize we are in the world together, and in numbers we experience the same pain. Before entering treatment, Molina reflected on his struggle, stating that “I have not given up because you, my friends, have not given up on me. Good vibes are worth more than you might think”.


RIP: Jason Molina

Resistance failed; And friendship failed;

As lovers we did not fail.

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1 thought on “Jason Molina: 1973-2013

  1. Beautifully written.

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