Summer With Monica is the solo project of Julien Staartjes, guitarist for the Amsterdam-based band The Vagary. For his song “The Art of Losing” Staartjes was inspired by Elizabeth Bishop’s 1976 poem “One Art.” The jangle-y pop song is reminiscent of a more folk The Soft Boys or Robyn Hitchcock’s solo with its easy pace and poetic phrasing. Maybe a bit of the early music of The Church can be heard echoing there too. Though melancholic in tone at times the sense of the song is one of a kind of hope born of learning to overcome the habits of ego that end up causing us misery even as we think we’re pursuing what’s best for us when at times we should not cling so tightly to notions, dreams and desires that no longer suit us. The chorus of “It’s not so hard, it’s not so hard to let go, to let go” is like a mantra and the closing passage of the song in which Staatjes describes someone who has seemingly hit bottom but who is finally at a place where the ego bound mandates held back his real potential have been washed away in the rain is the fulfillment of an evolving realization that sometimes when you’re struggling the hardest you’re actually fighting your own forward progress. Listen to “The Art of Losing” on Soundcloud and follow Summer With Monica at the links below.
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