Building up the rock foundation (musical journey part two)
Shortly after my initial experience with rock music in the seventh grade, I was still on my country kick. Eventually, someone else in my class decided that Carney needed to know a rock song other than System’s B.Y.O.B, mostly because they were tired of hearing me play that one song.
She sat me down at that same computer station to inform me that if she heard that same chorus one more time, she was going to jump out the window. The new song she introduce me to would, years later, become a staple opener for my cross-country and track training in high school. It was Breaking Benjamin’s “Diary of Jane.”
The song opens with a soft and sorrowful pattern of notes that, when heard once, is remembered forever. After the pattern plays once, other instruments gradually wake up to cast a more ominous tone. This progression builds up to an aggressive kick from the drums and a scream from the guitar. The pre-verse cacophony subsides as Benjamin Burnley’s voice emerges to deliver the first lines of the song, amidst steadier and more controlled rumblings from the guitars and bass. Ben’s love-related ramblings periodically augment to a passionate shout, invoking a wrathful outburst from the instruments before simmering back down to a steadier pace. After a final grief-stricken scream of denial, the verse ends and the instruments pick up for the chorus. In this chorus Ben mournfully bemoans some obstacle “getting in the way” of his finding love with the girl named Jane. He solemnly pledges to, somehow, become important enough in her eyes to earn himself mention in her diary. The chorus ends with what can best be described as a caterwaul of frustration. After the second chorus, the brief guitar solo builds slowly to the bridge. The bridge continues Ben’s lamentations and climaxes in a guttural shout as he struggles with the way this unrequited love seems to be changing him. The song ends with another chorus and, once again, a repetition of the pattern which first introduced the song.
I put this song on my iPod’s running playlist so frequently, that when it is played I can practically see the snowy woods I used to train in during the winter. The impassioned singing of a rockstar wrestling with love just gets the blood pumping.