Brook Pridemore's latest single from Gory Details is "Celestial Heaven." As a song, it's stunning in its emotional directness. I don't like playing the "sounds like" card, but "Celestial Heaven" can comfortably stand in the company of John Darnielle and the Mountain Goats. The rousing acoustic guitar, the vocal delivery, the literate lyrics, and the subject matter make the connection so evident to me. I'm saying this to be complimentary, not to reduce what Brook's done or say it's derivative.
Moving on, the real point is I was struck by this song because it voices a message that speaks to me so intensely. It's easy to search for answers when things aren't going well and it's even easier to expect external forces to take care of us. But the search or any expectations are fruitless without any regard for the self. As Brook beautifully puts it: you have to love yourself first before you can love anyone else. I have struggled with this off and on, but when you hear it come with such conviction, it makes me feel I'll get there eventually and stay there. Besides being a pleasing song musically, I think this succeeds at reaching another level of greatness for being so inspiring.
The video is well done. It follows Brook around, and he has a guitar at all times, which tends to be humorous. It's funny to see his teeth get brushed (poorly, I might add) and I especially love the pause while he waits for his coffee before he starts singing. The sweet confusion of the barista is great. I don't quite get the inclusion of the taco eating with no guitar, but otherwise, the guitar comes on carnival rides, the subway, and to a more traditional performance stage. His last single was about valuing community, which I loved, and this video echoes the sentiment by showing Brook among teeming masses of a people at what looks to be a street festival. Seeing the diversity and vitality of life around the city heightens the song's message. The ultimate goal is to share your best self with the world.
Also, Brook programs an evening at the Sidewalk Cafe on 8/10 for Anti-Folk Festival.