Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Dear Ryan,

It's only been a short while since your last record, so first off let me say thank you for writing so often. I can't tell you how anxious I am every Tuesday, eagerly anticipating another record. So thanks for putting out another record so soon after Cold Roses. I know I am not alone in saying thank you. You've had so many lovers over the years, I can't presuppose to be alone in this relationship.

The last few letters, I mean records, of yours, well, they weren't quite up to snuff with what I was hoping for. But that's okay. I mean, Rock n Roll was fun when we were together in concert, but the songs were obviously more for you than for me. That's okay. Every relationship goes through tough times. I could tell you were trying to figure yourself out when Love is Hell came out. A cover of "Wonderwall"? That was like a sorry excuse for lipstick on your collar.

But I'll admit it — I was just another sorry fan, crying all the time about "the good times," when I first heard Heartbreaker and fell in love, when Gold came out and I foresaw us at our silver anniversary. But that's just youthful exuberance, naiveté.

I'm glad you found what you were looking for with the Cardinals. They bring out the best in you, they really do. Cold Roses was fantastic, like a new Grateful Dead record, but smelling of your whiskey breath and North Carolina roots. I fell in love all over again, I really did. Now with Jacksonville City Nights, I am ready to commit once again to this relationship.

Remember when I yelled at you, throwing the glass to the floor in a bar and screaming you needed to, "Grow the fuck up!"? Well, I guess you did. The twangy sound, the narratives of hard country life, the heartbreaking songs like "Silver Bullets" and "September," they're so beautiful, Ryan. That part in "Silver Bullets," where you sing, "I can't make you love me, and you can't make me stay" — is that for me? Or in "September," when you run your hands through the grooves of your lover's grave…is that a metaphor for what we had? Make me a Lazarus, Ryan. I want to hear the next record. (I should expect at least one more this year, right? That's the word on the street…)

You knew me better than I knew myself. I didn't want you to go back to your old self like I thought I did. You're like Hank Williams on "Peaceful Valley." You show up Norah Jones on "Dear John." Ryan, is there any song you can't write? I'm so glad we're back together.

I'm sorry I yelled and was immature. Now I know you just needed to find yourself, and I'm so glad you let me find you too.

Yours always,

Joseph Riippi