Oh, this is one full of pain, regret, and loss.
It’s also a beautiful and very tightly constructed little symphony, there’s a formal precision to it that always impresses me. Ben Folds is a piano-based songwriter, a mode of composition which tends, somehow, to produce songs that feel structurally different from those composed on guitar. I’m at a loss to explain it, yet I can hear it. I suppose somebody who really understands music theory could lay it out for me.
Brick is a straightforward and very moving account of a young guy taking his young girlfriend to have an abortion, full of raw emotion, sadness, fear, and yet no sort of blame. No finger pointing, no recriminations, just the inability to really deal with it, or each other, until they both feel more alone than they ever have before. This is personally devastating. They aren’t yet at an age and stage to handle this. They blundered into it, and now here they are, sitting amidst the wreckage of their perhaps over-exuberant, perhaps reckless love, damaged forever, overwhelmed, their relationship in tatters.
I love how, though he’s feeling like the weight of helping her through this mess is drowning him, he fully understands how this is hurting her very badly, how he knows this has done her serious psychological harm. Him too, but her especially, and if she can see this through, then surely he can too. I’m also touched by the narrative in the bridge, how her parents can see something has gone dreadfully wrong in their daughter’s life – and when confronted, the two just break down and tell the truth, they’re just so tired of lying. You can see them in your mind’s eye bursting into tears as they confess all, and it’s wrenching.
There aren’t a lot of songs out there that tell such a story with such emotional authenticity. This is something that really happened to him, you just know it, and the account transcends judgment. You simply feel sad for the both of them.